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Food security

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Saw many woodland bison, with a large bull taking his place with his female harem on the road (his road) on the way to Whitehorse. A couple of friendly goats at a rest area greeted us during a brief stop. Lost count at 40+ Dall sheep single file traversing a distant hillside.

While attempting to find relatives in a remote part of Poland a couple of years ago, I hiked a muddy dirt road on a false lead to find a relative's home. Took a photo of a recent k9 track of some kind in the mud next to my size 12 boot. Later, after having found a family member, practically the only English I ever heard him say when I showed him the photo, was "Big Wolf".
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I s‘pose I’m in the minority, but I enjoy the good stuff that comes with thread drift. It can be hard to find again later though.
 
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One of the reasons I like this site is that the threads drift & (usually) drift back. More of a "campfire, no real hurry" feel IMO...

To the original question: I hang bear bags. Yep, I'm well aware that bears climb but I'm a creature of habit and will hang wherever suitable trees are found (and no apologies for my stubbornness). All food, trash, toothpaste, etc is in the pinata so the critter(s) will be amply rewarded if he/they can figure out how to get it.

I have started using odor-proof zip-lock bags (inside the hanging grub sack) and I've tested them in the backyard (cats & bacon... really scientific!) as well as while in a burn area of the BWCA about a year ago. All remained unmolested but I can't really see the harm in tossing a shot bag over a limb & making the critters work a little...
 
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Serious question- cause I really don’t know… has anyone moored their food in the lake or river?
 

Glenn MacGrady

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I've thought about sinking the food with weights in some sort of waterproof container near shore, but have never actually done it.
 
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That question has been asked before, some time ago. I don't remember if it was on this or some other forum. After considerable discussion, when you do the calculation of how much weight would be needed to submerge a container of food and air, it seemed impractical.
As Alsg mentioned, bears are good swimmers. A few years ago at Lows Lake in the Adirondacks, there was a bear who was known to make nightly rounds by swimming half a mile from island to island to mainland, visiting numerous commonly used campsites along the way. He would then return to his starting point by land (there is a dirt road inland not quite long the shore). I know campers who lost some of their food when they forgot to pack up all of it after dinner and neglected to protect it all.
 
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What is your preferred method for protecting food from the elements, insects and animals while remote camping?
Ok, so back to the original question. In all honesty, my preferred method is a non-lethal aggressive stance to anything that is trying to take my food or is unwelcome in camp. My lesson in this started early in life. I was about 6 and my dad and I were camping in northern Manitoba at a well used fishing site. A bear came by in the evening, and my dad and his chums threw everything they could find at it, even D sized batteries. This was accompanied by a tirade of insults designed to really do some emotional damage to the bear. The bear left, he couldn't put a tail between his legs, but he was certainly shame faced.

Since then, my fear of bears has been fairly minimal, and I have had many, many encounters. My son and I have chased them out of our yard with axes, I have broken a bicycle pump across the snout of one, busted cans of diet coke on their heads, and yes, even thrown a cat at them. In all cases so far, I have been the victor.

Now let us take this attitude to parks, and areas that are frequented by dirty humanoids and opportunistic ursines. If in the beginning, the aforementioned garbage strewing people had kept a clean camp and used strong persuasion against the marauding bears, the bears, being fairly astute in the ways of plunder, would have passed the word down the grunt chain that the area was undesirable.

However, when people see a bear and shriek in terror and abandon all hope, retreating in their gotchies to their canoes and paddling like all heck to "safety", the bears become thug-ish in their attitudes, and realize that the bald bipeds are easy pickins. So the old grunt chain of bear info gets passed down through generations, saying "this spot good, if no food on ground, climb tree".

It's pretty hard to recapture these bear buffets once they take over. However, if you are "remote" camping, the bears should still be impressionable, so treat them rough and make them know that despite our puniness, humans are not walking lunch buckets, but bad to the bone predators. Future canoeists will thank you for being bad-assed.
 
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What is the other site?
It’s myccr. Very difficult, to the point of not worth it, to post images there. Our site, canoetripping.net, in my opinion, is vastly, overwhelmingly and unquestionably much superior. At one time, myccr was the standard bearer, at least for Canadian trippers.,
 
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I remember this 1967 event in Glacier well. Very frightening.

Back in the 70's, my brother was camping in, or right outside of Glacier. He woke up during the night, because, as he described it, he "heard his scull cracking". His head was in the jaws of a bear (brown or grizzly, neither he nor his buddy could tell by night). It had grabbed him and was dragging him while he was in his sleeping bag; he was screaming, and the bear dropped him and ambled off. He got out of it with 17 stitches on his head, lucky considering other possible outcomes. There was an article in the Whitefish paper.
 
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Like Glenn, I use Ursacks and Opsacs, I am meticulous about keeping the outside of the bags clean. I do not hang my food bags … have seen too many critters looking up at trees for bags. I Hide them in the woods, tying to making sure they are not on or near a game trail. So far ( knock on wood ) I have never had a problem with bears or camp vermin destroying my packs. To this end however, I usually am camping in remote areas where habituated bears are not a problem.

Bob.
 
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My approach has always been guided by on question: Are the bears here afraid of humans?

When I go to Algonquin, I hang my food - with a rope between two trees where necessary - and do my level best to follow Cliff's method. When I go to Wabakimi, not so much. Bears in Algonquin, or in many places in the boundary waters, very quickly associate humans with food. Bears in Northern Ontario turn and tuck tail at the first sight of humans - especially in areas where they're hunted.

It's almost blasphemy to admit it, but in some places, I sleep with my food in my tent. An unhabituated bear's fear of humans is more powerful than its love of food, at least in my experience.

I'll use a bear alarm composed of pots and pans and percolators piled on top of a food pack in many situations, especially in the boreal where there are no suitable trees. Other times, I'll use a rope strung between two trees with a rudimentary block&tackle made out of caribiners.

My great bear story is on the Missinaibi, at Peterbell. My general routine on this trip was to wake up, eat breakfast, throw everything into the tent after scouring my site for anything I left out, and then to pack up whatever I threw into the tent. Well, on this fine morning, I had thrown everything into the tent, and felt the need for a #2 bathroom trip. So being dutifully polite, I paddled to the other side of the river to do my business. As I was taking a glorious poo on a log there, pants around my ankles and enjoying the morning dew and sunlight, business half done, a bear wandered into my campsite. It ripped through my tent, picked up a 50lb drybag of food, and began to wander off.

I interrupted my morning constitutional, coming after this bear like a parent chasing a runaway petulant child. Paddled across the river in soiled pants with this bear still rummaging through the tent. I beached, picked up a paddle, and started charging this bear with neither sense nor intelligence, swinging my paddle like a madman. In my mind, I was going to beat this bear into submission. In the end, it ran away, after tearing through my tent and taking off with my food. In two minutes, I was left with neither food nor shelter. (The story of my extraction is also entertaining, but it's a long story.)

So back to my original point - my food security is governed by "How afraid of humans are the bears here?". When I go alone, I make sure to have the ability to make a lot of noise, very quickly. When I travel with companions, I try to remind them that while a bear might not be afraid of one of us, it will be very afraid of four of us advancing upon it with military precision. Sometimes I carry lethal countermeasures, but not usually.

And if you haven't read it, I highly recommend Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance, by Stephen Guerrero. It's both transformatively informative and hilariously entertaining.
 
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