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Bears, Canister vs. Food Pillow

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Bears, Canister vs. Food Pillow

Postby stillroaming » Fri Feb 05, 2016 8:39 am

I've been thinking about this and maybe someone can shed some light on this in a rational, non-emotional way.

Your typical PCT black bear that has the demeanor to attack a human for food or whatever reason, is very, very rare. Yes, it has happened, but it's extremely rare when you consider the number of human encounters.

If this very rare, violent type of bear wanders into your camp site at night, do you have a better chance of survival if the bear gets your food pillow or not? If your food is outside a canister this leaves you the option of allowing access or not in a split second decision.

Look, defend your food. Period. If you need a canister to make this happen, use it. The purpose of a canister it to keep food away from bears. That is in their best interest. But is it in your best interest?

-stillroaming
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Re: Bears, Canister vs. Food Pillow

Postby Kaptain Kangaroo » Sat Feb 06, 2016 1:04 pm

Perhaps think of it this way... If every hiker kept their food in their tent, bears would soon learn that if they harassed a hiker they would get a bag of snacks thrown at them.
Good chance then that attacks on hikers for food would not be so rare anymore.

You said it yourself, using a canister is in the bears best interest...... the trail is their home, we are visitors, why not do what is best for them.
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Re: Bears, Canister vs. Food Pillow

Postby Gary Schenk » Tue Feb 09, 2016 10:13 am

You bet it is in your best interest. And my best interest. After a bear gets your food, he's going to want mine. That makes him a danger to me, and every other hiker he runs into.

A fed bear is a dead bear. Rangers hate shooting bears. They should make the person who thought he was too cool to carry a can in the parks shoot the bear.
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Re: Bears, Canister vs. Food Pillow

Postby stillroaming » Tue Feb 09, 2016 11:08 am

Gary Schenk wrote:You bet it is in your best interest. And my best interest. After a bear gets your food, he's going to want mine. That makes him a danger to me, and every other hiker he runs into.

A fed bear is a dead bear. Rangers hate shooting bears. They should make the person who thought he was too cool to carry a can in the parks shoot the bear.


What you are saying is a canister needs to be carried for the entire trail, as you will encounter bears all along the trail, NOT just the 140 trail miles where it's required.

Once I cross that magical boundary outside of a required area, apparently, bears can't climb trees, hanging food bags automatically becomes perfectly effective.

On the longer legs, most hikers carry lots of food outside of their canisters. How many occasions have hikers had their food snatched because they left their canister open and unattended?

The idea that canisters are this perfect solution is absurd. Guarding your food is just as effective.
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Re: Bears, Canister vs. Food Pillow

Postby Gary Schenk » Wed Feb 10, 2016 7:43 am

stillroaming wrote:What you are saying is a canister needs to be carried for the entire trail, as you will encounter bears all along the trail, NOT just the 140 trail miles where it's required.


I'm not saying that at all. Bears are shy of humans in any area in which they are hunted. In the national parks this is, of course, not the case. In the parks, the only way to guarantee that the bear is protected from your food is to use a can. Bear cans work.

Outside of the parks, I sleep with my food.

An example: a few years back we were headed into Sixty Lakes Basin with a friend, an experienced Sierra mountaineer who was making his first overnight trip since the late '80s. This was when those bears at Rae and Charlotte Lakes were causing so much trouble. He refused to carry a can. Said it was not needed. He had a drybag that he was going to toss into lakes.

Rather than sleep at the parking lot in Onion Valley we went up the trail to that first lake and set up camp. We put out our can. Our friend set up a counter balance right out of the text book. It was perfect.

The next morning I look out my tent and his bag was gone. The bear got it and the five days food in it. Nothing left but a ripped sack and a few Life Savers. You could see the bear's footprints going right by our can. He didn't even bother to knock it over to see if anything might fall out.

Had a bear at Vidette Meadows ignore the can, too.

A couple of years ago when we hiked Stehekin to Manning, I carried my Bearikade, though. It's light and hassle free. Makes for a nice seat, too. Saves worry as well. Hey, if half a pound is enough to stop me from getting where I want to go, I need to find something else to do.

Cheers,
Gary
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Re: Bears, Canister vs. Food Pillow

Postby stillroaming » Wed Feb 10, 2016 8:16 am

Over the years I've had 4 night time bear encounters. I've always slept with my food and never have I had my food taken. I'm not much for testimonials demonstrating fact, but one occurrence was in Lyell Canyon, due to poor timing on my part, where it's insane to camp.

Do canisters work? Absolutely! Is it the only effective method? Absolutely not! I only sleep with my food, I never hang food it's asking for trouble, all bears can climb trees.

I've been stopped by rangers on three occasions asking to see my canister, Woods Creek, near Benson Lake and on Benson Pass. When asked why I don't carry one, their response has ranged from acceptance to emphatic agreement. People let bears get their food, plain and simple.

Canisters are certainly effective, when used properly and all your food is in them.

They are not the only way.
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