Bears and the Problems They can Cause in Your Camp or Bol

hanging food from bears

The ideal situation for a campsite, while this is not always possible, do the best you can.

I know people who have a bug out location (BOL) that they plan to camp in case of a major disaster or economic collapse. Now most of these are in relatively remote areas with wildlife including bears.  If you are camping out a lot in remote areas, bear encounters are not a matter of “if”, but rather when.

Camping out and avoiding issues with bear’s takes a bit of planning.  Now I know that many of you are saying why not just shoot the bear and eat it.  There can be several reasons why this may not be a good idea.  If it is hot, you may not want to waste the meat.  If the trip is for training, you want to avoid problems with the law, if they are out of season.  Rifle fire may attract attention from people you don’t want to meet.

Set your camp up so that you sleep a minimum of 200 feet from where you hang, cook, and eat your food.  Keep your sleeping gear clean and free of food odor.  Don’t take snacks in your tent.  Don’t sleep in the same clothes worn while cooking and eating;

Food bags should be hung a minimum of 10 feet from the ground and a minimum of 4 feet horizontally from any post or tree.  Food bags should be hung in a separate location from cooking and garbage disposal.  Garbage and human waste should be disposed of at least 200 feet from camp.

Keep a clean campsite to help discourage bears; this also works for ground squirrels, mice and birds.  Like bears, these animals quickly learn where and how campers store their food.

Hanging food from a bearYour food should be hung in a tree at least 5 feet away from the trunk or heavy branches and at least 10 feet from the ground.  Remember bears can climb, so hang your food where it is difficult for them to reach.  This may require stretching a rope between two trees at least 15 feet apart.  To get the horizontal hang rope high enough off the ground, tie one end of the rope to a rock, throw it up onto a branch of one tree, then do the same with the other end of the rope on the other tree.  If you are setting up an area to use for a BOL, you may want to think about setting up a cable between two trees ahead of time.

Another solution might be bear tubes or boxes.  Several manufacturers are making lightweight food storage canisters, often called bear tubes.  They are made of tough, bear-resistant plastic, and can be carried in a backpack.  The companies include Garcia Machine’s Backpackers’ Cache, BearVault, and Counter Assault’s Bear Keg.  They are designed to hold enough food for one person for 6 days and weight about 3 pounds when empty.  Make sure the tube you buy is certified by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee.  They also make larger tubes and boxes you can stash at your BOL.

What is food to bears?

Sounds like a simple question, to a bear, food includes anything with a scent, regardless of packaging. This includes things like canned goods, bottles, drinks, soaps, cosmetics, toiletries, trash, ice chests, and unwashed dishes and pans.  All these items must be stored properly.  Bears also like toothpaste and even used feminine hygiene products.  Be careful where you dump those fish entails or other animal waste.

Did you ever notice that when you are camping you can smell foods like bacon cooking from a long way off?  Well bear’s noses are much better than ours are, so try to avoid foods with really strong odors.

If you are planning to camp out for any period after TEOTWAWKI in bear county be careful.


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