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Lions, Tigers and Bears...

Old 06-01-2010, 10:43 PM
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Default Lions, Tigers and Bears...

Well, no lions & tigers...but, BEARS...yes.


So...will be spending a few weeks in Maine soon. After our time is over staying on the lake, in a nice cabin with electricity, hot & cold running water, real toilet, shower, kitchen, etc, etc, I thought it would be a wonderful & fun idea to drive about an hour or so (Something like that, I know it's within a couple or so hours from where we'll be staying)to BAXTER STATE PARK and pitch our huge family cabin tent and spend three or four days "roughing it".

There is no electricity at the park, no running water, etc,which, my 15 year old daughter is already a slight bit "concerned" about I explained that, besides there being outhouses in the camping area, we do have our own "flushable" porta-potty and the tent has divider walls for privacy.

I have all the necessary camping components, lanterns, portable propane stove, cots (and very comfortable ones at that), and, as I explained, a few days without a hot shower wouldn't kill her. I'm sure there are some sort of shower set up there, and, if not, the camping shower in a plastic bag on a tree limb works fine...for me.

anyway...FORGET all that, here is the real issue at hand. BLACK BEARS. And, I know Maine, LOTS of Black Bears. Normally, I don't worry about bears, or, any wild animals. However, sleeping in a tent, in an area well known for numerous bears, well, it does cause me to worry some.

I know black bears don't have the reputation of grizzlies, or brown bears, but still. I want to sit by the camp fire, and not have to worry about being attacked, eaten, mauled, whatever.

O.k, when you guys & gals stop laughing, let me know.

My question is, WHO here has direct experience camping amongst black bears? I would like some feedback on the REAL dangers...if any. Oh, I realize there is always that instance where you'll get that one azzhole bear that will go against the statistics & eat some people up & squat them out in the thorn bushes...or by the stream side...but, REALLY, should I be concerned?

I have read all about the "what to do if" and "what not to do if" etc, etc, etc, all through the years. Just, if somebody could toss me a little real, first hand experience, I would be very interested to read it. Also, I will be fishing, so, there is the fishy smell factor tossed into the mix as well.

Maine, no poison snakes, no poison spiders...sounds great. especially when you live in South Carolina & under every brush pile is a poison snake & in every nook & cranny is a black widow or brown recluse. Then, here comes BEARS....go figure.


Below is a cut & paste from the Baxter state park website about the bears....

Bears
Help us keep bears wild while protecting yourself and your food!
Black Bears are numerous in the Park. They do sometimes show up at campsites. The following are ways you can help keep Baxter State Parkís bears wild and alive.
Never feed bears (or any other wildlife in Baxter State Park).
Donít burn or bury food scraps or packaging; the odor attracts bears and other animals. Pack out all leftover food and garbage.
Store all food, toiletries, cooking utensils and scented items in your vehicle with windows rolled all the way up or on a bear pole, cable or tree limb, 15 feet high, 10 feet out on a limb. A bear relies on its incredible sense of smell to find food and can smell things we canít, such as canned food or a tube of toothpaste. Properly hanging food or storing it in a vehicle also protects it from the commonest trouble-makers: squirrels or mice!
Black Bear and Cubs by Jane Thomas

Donít approach bears to take photos. If a bear walks toward you, shoo it away with hand gestures and loud noises. Please help ensure the bearís survival in the wild by not feeding or coaxing it to get closer for a photo. All of these behaviors can cause bears to lose their fear of humans and become aggressive.
As cuddly and cute as bears look, they are wild, unpredictable animals! Baxter State Park is managed as a natural wild setting for animals. If we are forced to relocate a bear or bear cubs to another area, their chances of survival are greatly reduced. We need your help to keep Baxter State Parkís bears and other animals wild. Thank you!
Failure to comply with Baxter State Park Regulations or follow these instructions will result in eviction from the Park and/or being issued a summons.
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Old 06-01-2010, 10:54 PM
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Remember, Agent 87 will be monitoring your situation from inside a trash can on the east side of the campsite.

Never the less, Max, you realize you'll be facing every kind of danger imaginable.......
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Old 06-01-2010, 11:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Ranger88 View Post

Never the less, Max, you realize you'll be facing every kind of danger imaginable.......

..Annnd loving it!
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Old 06-02-2010, 04:36 AM
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Originally Posted by AGENT86 View Post


Failure to comply with Baxter State Park Regulations or follow these instructions will result in eviction from the Park and/or being issued a summons.
...and/or being eaten!!

Seriously though, just don't leave food trash around and they won't bother you.
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Old 06-02-2010, 06:53 AM
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Ok for starters I've got to rake into for saying you'll be roughing it, that's not roughing it, that's what I call luxury camping in a tent. And a brown bear is a Grizzly, that or it is just a Black bear that is brown.

Baxter State Park says don't burn your scraps or packaging......well than what are they asking you to do, not cook? Believe me, I've camp in a lot of areas with a LOT of bears in my time and cooking food is just as problematic as burning your scraps or packaging in regards to attracting bears because of the smell of food! And as far as storing my food or cooking paraphernalia in my vehicle goes, NOT! That is in large part because where I/we like to camp I/ we generally have to walk in. Either way I wouldn't want no stinking bear ripping away at my vehicle trying to get at the food smells inside! It's just frigging amazing what bears can smell and smell through! I ten fold prefer to hang everything up in trees as far away as possible/ feasible from my camping area. In some of the areas I’ve camped there is no trees, so I figure on burying things or submersing them in the water....water tight containers and water tight bags are need for this.

Since you'll be camping in luxury you might as well take along a ghetto blaster with your daughters favorite rap BS music (if most humans don't like it there is no way a bear will like it ~ )....noise is your friend.

If you Really want to feel comfortable you could always setup trip lines around your camping area with tin cans as your sounding devise. Set the trip lines up high enough that small animals can walk under it but low enough that a bear, wolf or cougar can not. If you want the trip line to be more effective than buy your line well in advance to your camping trip and bury it in the ground along with a new pair of cotton gloves and a clean zip loc bag large enough to hold both items for several weeks. Burying everthing separately (in the same hole) will remove ALL traces of human scent. Then when you dig them up with another new pair of cotton gloves on place the gloves and line (string) that you just dug up inside the zip loc bag that you just dug up as well. Then put that sealed bag along with the gloves you have on inside another zip loc bag....that way when you go to us the trip line all you do is open up the first bag, put on the first pair of gloves, grab the second bag, open it and put on the second pair of gloves via the first pair of gloves and set your trip line up with the second set of gloves on.....that way no animal can smell your trip line and step/ hop over it.

You could be cooking up bacon or fish (both Very Strong aromatic orientated products) and the noise of people talking or music "should" keep the bears out. "If" the noise does not keep the bears out while cooking something up then, "Houston you've got a problem bear"!
* noise is your friend while existing in bear territory.
If you are cooking anything up and a bear wants to invade your space making your world a whole lot smaller than you have but a few options.
**** Always have your weapon of choice by your cooking and eating area. That weapon could be a gun, a machete, a stout stick a couple of large knives or whatever.

- fist off determine if the bear is walking in with it’s head up or down.
* If the bear’s head is up smelling the air as it is walking forward, then all it’s doing is following the smell and looking for a possible feed. Noise (shouting) is your friend here and large movements with your arms is your best option...most of the time this sort of action works to repel the bear.
* If the bear’s head is down walking forward then you have a much greater problem on your hands. The bear has already determined where the smell is coming from and has seen that you are the source of that smell and therefore is no longer cautious, it is advancing in an attempt to push you off the possible food source or is double focusing on you and the food or just you as the food source. You have to try the large movement thing and calling out at the bear, but I personally wouldn’t hold out on much hope for that to work. If it does then great, but if it doesn’t you have but two choices.

- if the bear’s head is down and walking forward but Not making vocal noises then a gentle retreat while walking backwards giving way to your food might (should) work. Do NOT turn you back on the bear and do NOT treat to quickly....it’ll promote an attack, either a full scale attack or just a I’ll run you off attack....you will not know the difference until after the fact....but make no mistake, it will be VERY VERY REAL!

- choice number two would be......stand there (frozen) and stare the bear down. If there is more than one bear this is NOT an option. But staring down a bear is doable, believe me I know! You can NOT move a muscle and you can NOT blink! All you can do is freeze and burn your eyes into it’s eyes for as long as it takes! The larger the bear and the more aggressive it is the longer it will take.....my longest time is upwards of 15-20 minutes at about 5-6' away.
* If you get into such a confrontation with a bear than you have to be more frozen than a rock in the middle of a glazier....you can NOT flinch even if the bear grunts, slobbers, stomps forward and swipes at the ground. Your stare can NOT just be at the bear’s eyes, you have to be staring deep through the black of it’s eyes, burning a hole in the back of it’s head while NOT blinking! On a lighter note, the bears I’ve seen up close and personal actually have a pretty nice brown eye.

- well I guess there is a third option, one could always curl up in a tight ball on the ground and hope for the best.

When out and about the more noise you make the less likelihood you'll surprise (stumble across) a bear taking an afternoon nap (curled up sleeping on the ground - generally in taller grasses or small scrub brush areas...especially if there is berries in the area). Always when out and about have some sort of defense weapon on hand...you never know if you’ll need it. It’s better to have something on hand than say I wish I did afterwards.

Now here’s the part I like about roughing it in bear country, I like to f#@k with the bears. I know they are a creature of habit, so I’ll play that to my advantage and against him. I know he’ll be interested in my food, so I’ll bait him not with food but with smugges of food, just outside my area. I can’t stop him from smelling my food and I certainly can’t go several weeks with out food so I’ll use the terrain and his instincts to my advantages. But in saying that, my last experience was with a polar bear and it was way more than I bargained for!
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Old 06-02-2010, 06:57 AM
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Leave all of your food and trash hanging in a tree away from your tent. Don't clean your fish at your campsite. If it were me I would have a shotgun loaded with 3" slugs. That is what we carry in Alaska when we are fishing. Also remember if you encounter a bear whatever you do don't run. Stand your ground, make yourself look as big as possible and make a lot of noise.
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Old 06-02-2010, 08:11 AM
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The Park Rangers are advising campers in Baxter State Park and to be alert for bears and take extra precautions to avoid an encounter.

They advise park visitors to wear little bells on their clothes so they make noise when hiking. The bell noise allows bears to hear them coming from a distance and not be startled by a hiker accidentally sneaking up on them. This might cause a bear to charge.

Visitors should also carry a pepper spray can just in case a bear is encountered. Spraying the pepper into the air will irritate the bear's sensitive nose and it will run away.

It is also a good idea to keep an eye out for fresh bear scat so you have an idea if bears are in the area. People should be able to recognize the difference between black bear and grizzly bear scat.

Black bear droppings are smaller and often contain berries, leaves, and possibly bits of fur. Grizzly bear droppings tend to contain small bells and smell of pepper.
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Old 06-02-2010, 08:43 AM
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Hey Hey Hey !!!!

Watch out for this guy and hide your picnic baskets

Name:  yogi.jpg
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He is smarter than your average bear!!!!

He is especially dangerous when hanging with his partner in crime Bubu

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Old 06-02-2010, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Shag View Post
Grizzly bear droppings tend to contain small bells and smell of pepper.
:r ofl:
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Old 06-02-2010, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Garett View Post
Ok for starters I've got to rake into for saying you'll be roughing it, that's not roughing it, that's what I call luxury camping in a tent.
Yes, I know. that's why I did " " that. You're kind of camping is for people in much better physical condition than I...my back will only allow for so much "roughing" it. And, even then, I'm pushing it. I'll have to check the local laws & BSP rules to see if they even allow for a person to carry a firearm.

If so, I'm set. If not, I think I'll find a little different place to set camp....preferably one with less, or better yet NO bears! Not so much for myself, but, I could never forgive myself if, God forbid, my daughter got mauled...or worse, but one of those beasts.

BTW, my daughter HATES that RAP music & the likes.
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Old 06-02-2010, 09:05 AM
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bear spray might be a good idea along with a large caliber handgun as well as the neccessary food precautions.
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Old 06-02-2010, 12:26 PM
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I'd recommend any caliber that starts with a 4.
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Old 06-02-2010, 01:32 PM
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Look at this. What a beautiful picture. Look at the vibrant colors. What great memories this brings back to me....oh, how the years have gone by...bye, bye.
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Old 06-02-2010, 05:20 PM
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Garett " Ok for starters I've got to rake into for saying you'll be roughing it, that's not roughing it, that's what I call luxury camping in a tent. And a brown bear is a Grizzly, that or it is just a Black bear that is brown."
A brown bear and a grizzly are the same critter, when they live on the islands ( like where I'm at) we call them browns and they often get larger than a mainland grizzly. I'm on an island that's a little over 100 miles long and nearly 20 miles wide and although much of the island is not habitat for bear our bear population is estimated at one per square mile and I only have to step outside my door to be in bear country.

AGENT86, enjoy yourself, and be responsible, you'll be fine.
I just recently posted a little story of a seven day, six night trip my lady and I did living amongst the bears ...

http://www.thehulltruth.com/dockside...-out-week.html
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Old 06-02-2010, 06:03 PM
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Living and playing around here means interacting with bears is a given...
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Old 06-02-2010, 07:27 PM
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I've camped at Katahdin Stream campground and Trout Brook Farm in Baxter State Park and climbed Mount Katahdin several times and I have never seen a bear there. You will definitely see moose, however.

Nonetheless, standard practice is to rig a bear bag from a tree limb, hoisting all of your food and "smellables" (deodorant, toothpaste, etc.) off the ground and out of reach.

P.S. There are no showers at any of the Baxter campgrounds.
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Old 06-02-2010, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by commuter boats View Post
Garett
A brown bear and a grizzly are the same critter,
I know, that's what I said. I also said that "some" black bears are known to have brown fur.......the first bear I've ever bagged (with a bow) was a big ass black bear with brown fur. Just like some black bears are known to have white fur (Ghost bears of the Queen Charlottes)......which I "think" I saw one on a 3 wk coastal deep woods camping trip to the island back in the 80's.
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Old 06-02-2010, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Garett View Post
I know, that's what I said. I also said that "some" black bears are known to have brown fur.......the first bear I've ever bagged (with a bow) was a big ass black bear with brown fur. Just like some black bears are known to have white fur (Ghost bears of the Queen Charlottes)......which I "think" I saw one on a 3 wk coastal deep woods camping trip to the island back in the 80's.
" that or it is just a Black bear that is brown." My apologies, I misunderstood.
As to the color variations of a black bear, I agree they even come in blue ( known as the blue bear or glacier bear) and although there are rare, they've been seen from the Fairweather Range down to the Tracy Arm- Fords Territory Wilderness.
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Old 06-02-2010, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by commuter boats View Post
As to the color variations of a black bear, I agree they even come in blue ( known as the blue bear or glacier bear) and although there are rare, they've been seen from the Fairweather Range down to the Tracy Arm- Fords Territory Wilderness.
Cool.......I didn't know about the blues.

When I was out that way I wish I had traveled further up the coast line into Alaska than some small port just above Port Rupert BC. called Catchachicken (something to that effect - heck it's be a long time). I'm probably not telling you anything you don't already know, but man is that GORGEOUS country along that shore line! .....that's my slice of heaven!
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Old 06-02-2010, 09:34 PM
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Greetings Agent Orange. Nice to see you come out of hiding. I'm not an avid outdoor person but I did scale the Alaskian ranges and I was on top of MT. Saint Helen many years ago. I also did the camping thing every now and then but I'm no expert. I can tell you though, bears and tigers are the least of your worries. It's those conservatives lurking in the bushes you should be afraid of. LOL

happy camping dude!
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