How are you guys handling yourselves in strange circumstances off the grid?

ThundahBeagle

Well-known member
That's pretty much what I'm talking about. Since it's difficult to determine what was a bluff charge and what was an attack, many or most of the bluff charges may never have resulted in an injury or fatality anyway, so the fact that bear spray was employed and the bear turned away may be correlation without causation.

Black bears - they'll almost always turn away when confronted directly unless Mama feels her cubs are in direct danger or they're cornered somehow. Have seen terriers tree them, and I've treed several myself, many times without knowing they were there. However, have seen the aftermath of people who did stupid ******** like eat or store food in their tents - or even just carry a sheet of fabric softener to keep their skivvies smelling sweet in their pack.

Browns - different story altogether. If you're in Grizz territory - "pack" appropriately.

As far as not missing - practice, practice, practice.
Bears like the smell of fabric softener? Serious question, as I actually DO keep a sheet in my pack. I'm rarely in bear country
 

ThundahBeagle

Well-known member
Who knows if bears really like the aroma. But bears are definitely curious about unusual aroma, thus drawn to investigate.
Well, I was curious enough to google it and found a 10 year old "Ask A Bear" column from Backpacker Magazine. They say it's not a worry...

If you use dryer sheets in your clothes, the bear will smell that anyway, and probably associate that with "human", which they want to avoid. It's a chemical smell and not a food smell
 

AbleGuy

Officious Intermeddler
Here’s one guy’s solution…building a big ugly Fuso camper, covered with camo….sez it scares people away from his campsites 😳. He’s selling it and here’s part of his ad:

“This rig isn't luxury, it is big, loud, ugly and ready for your life of dispersed camping. One of the best thing about it, when people see it parked in the middle of the desert or forest they tend to not come camp right next to you. Its abrasive, its sketchy, it screams "give me space"

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craig333

Expedition Leader
Studies of this are seriously flawed. Pepper spray is probably effective at deterring bears that are not intent on killing you... but I'd bet that it's near 0% effective if the bear is in a serious charge/attack. Same for dogs or people.

A high caliber round in the head will stop them though, 100%. Just don't miss...
Flawed or not you can easily find a study that supports spray or gun.
 

stevo_pct

Active member
It's probably a good idea to carry both, unless you are not familiar with firearms - in which case just carry bear spray. It would work if you ever had a problem with a person as well.
 

DieselRanger

Well-known member
Well, I was curious enough to google it and found a 10 year old "Ask A Bear" column from Backpacker Magazine. They say it's not a worry...

If you use dryer sheets in your clothes, the bear will smell that anyway, and probably associate that with "human", which they want to avoid. It's a chemical smell and not a food smell
Dryer sheets in your dryer making your clothes smell faintly nice to you, and a dryer sheet in your pack to keep your dirties from being overwhelming in the tent are two very different things to a bear. It's like a single berry somewhere in your tent vs. a whole berry forest stuffed into it. A bear absolutely tore through the tent and pack of a girlfriend of a girlfriend on JMT - the ONLY thing she ever had in that tent was a single dryer sheet. No food, no sunscreen, no toothpaste - just one dryer sheet.

Not enough to put her in danger - she was day hiking away from camp, and came back to find her tent shredded and flattened with a bear on top of it, rolling on it.

If you've ever backpacked in the Sierras, and specifically in Yosemite Valley, most bears there will almost automatically go after anything associated with "human" because they have been conditioned to expect to find food. They will break into a car if they can just *see* a cooler in it - even if they can't smell anything.

Regardless, you don't need to shoot a bear because it shredded your tent - black bear aren't dangerous unless cornered, protecting cubs, or occasionally when encountering single sleeping or perhaps injured humans when hyperphagic.
 

DieselRanger

Well-known member
It's probably a good idea to carry both, unless you are not familiar with firearms - in which case just carry bear spray. It would work if you ever had a problem with a person as well.
If you aren't familiar with firearms, DO NOT CARRY A FIREARM.

*Become* familiar and practiced in carrying them and effectively employing them, or travel with someone who is.
 

AbleGuy

Officious Intermeddler
I wonder if something pine-smelling would be less enticing or novel to a bear.
Not something I want to function-check myself, though
So, on a more serious note (from the inter web):

(I don’t know that I’d agree with the ammonia idea, as that smells like skunks and sometimes a really hungry bear will kill and eat a skunk)
  • Neem oil seems to contain something that bears don’t like.
  • Bears don’t like the smell of anything that has a pine scent. Use pine sol or pine oil to repel bears. If you’re using pine sol then mix 1 cup pine sol with 1 cup of water inside a spray bottle. If you’re using pure pine oil as a bear repellent then mix 6 to 8 drops of pine oil to every cup of botter you have inside a spray bottle.
  • Spray the prepared pine oil solution inside your garbage, spray it on a cloth attached to your backpack and place a sprayed cloth near your food, and also spread some solution outside your tent.
  • Soak a cloth in cider vinegar or ammonia and hung it on the windows and doors of your tent, RV, car, etc.
  • The smell of Lysol also repels bears.
 

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