What Should You Do if a Bear Comes to Your Tent: A Complete Checklist
It is important not to worry if a bear approaches your tent. Hundreds of campers, hikers, and hunters get near to bears every year, yet bear attacks on people are extremely rare among both black bears and North American grizzlies. If a bear approaches your tent, you can scare it away from your campground by making loud, startling noises and making huge body motions, since most bears become frightened when they come into touch with humans. A bear can be deterred or stopped using bear spray or a pistol if it persists in its behavior.
The chances are that if a bear comes across a campsite, it is either passing through or has been drawn in by the fragrance of food in the campground.
Continue reading to learn more about what to do if a bear decides to visit your tent.
What to Do When A Bear Approaches the Tent
The manner in which you deal with a bear that comes to your tent is very dependent on the conditions. A person laying in their tent at night who hears the unmistakable snuffling and grunting of a bear rummaging around the camp outside their tent is in a much different position to protect themselves than someone who is sitting in their camp during the day when a bear walks up to them. When a bear wanders into your campsite, there are a few options on how to react:
- First and foremost, be silent. When a bear becomes aware that humans are in the vicinity, it will frequently flee. Many wild animals are terrified of people, and their hunger for a free meal outweighs their dread of humans. If you hear a bear approaching your tent in the middle of the night, being silent can help you determine whether or not it is a bear. It’s best to remain motionless and observe a bear approaching your tent if you want it to pass through gently. This is the most advantageous choice. Try not to be scared, because animals can detect fear. Then speak loudly and clearly. If a bear approaches your tent or campsite and refuses to go, the first thing to remember is that the sound of a human voice is the most effective deterrent for bears. If a bear approaches you in camp, start swinging your arms and yelling without moving closer to the animal to scare it away. If a bear approaches your tent, start shouting or blowing an air horn to surprise it
- Get your bear spray or rifle ready in case it attacks you. Both bear spray and pepper spray should be avoided until an aggressive bear attempts to rip your tent open while you are inside. If you use bear spray inside a tent, you will be spraying yourself as well as the animal. When using a firearm, keep in mind that, unless you’re carrying a heavy weapon, a glancing wound from a lesser weapon is just as likely to enrage a bear as it is to drive it away
- Instead of confronting the bear, simply stand your ground and wait. If a bear approaches your tent, it may not be in an aggressive attitude, but if you fight it and put it on the defensive, it is unlikely that you will win the battle. On the other hand, do not flee from a bear unless absolutely necessary. As is common with many big predators, this might elicit a prey drive or the need to hunt after prey. Don’t try to escape. It doesn’t matter whether kind of bear you are up against
- Bears can run at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour. When running at maximum speed, the average human can only achieve speeds of 10-15 miles per hour. That implies that if a bear pursues you, it will eventually catch up with you. Running merely serves to arouse a bear’s predatory instincts, causing it to perceive you as food. Recognize when it is necessary to fight back. If a bear refuses to move away from your tent or continues to come towards you at your campground, use bear spray or a pistol to react against it. The majority of bears will flee fast if you spray them in the face with bear spray. In the event that you have a gun, you should attempt firing a warning shot first before engaging the animal. In most cases, this is sufficient to drive away all but the most predatory of bears.
When attempting to keep a bear away from your tent, it’s best to be as cautious as possible in your efforts to do so. Generally speaking, bears will not assault a person directly if they are raiding a campground for food that has not been properly stored, but if they attempt to rip apart a tent in search of additional food and find sleeping humans instead, they may get hostile. if a bear does physically attack you in or near your tent, or if the tent is attacked itself, it is critical that you fight back as loudly and furiously as you possibly can with anything you have at your disposal—a rifle, a rock, a flashlight, or camping utensils—to protect yourself and others.
Never forget that a bear who has gained the confidence to rip open your tent is just interested in you as a source of nutrition.
If you’re camping in bear territory, it’s critical that you understand the proper method to set up camp in order to prevent curious, hungry bears, as well as how to drive a bear away from your campsite if you happen to stumble across one in the woods.
Different Kinds of Bears and Their Behavior
The distinction between the two principal varieties of bear that people in North America are likely to encounter when camping is critical when deciding how to deal with a bear who has approached your campsite. These are the black bear and the grizzly bear. Polar bears are also found in North America, however the majority of known polar bear assaults have taken place in or near urban settings. In addition, there are fewer assaults on humans since polar bears cohabitate with fewer people than other species of bears do.
Under normal conditions, black bears are extremely cautious of humans, to the extent that you are unlikely to notice one even if you pass close by it.
However, grizzly bears are less shy than black bears, and they are less fearful of humans, and they are more likely to attack a human in self-defense than black bears (or just because they came across them in the wild).
As the most deadly and violent bears on the planet, polar bears commit more fatal attacks on humans than any other species of bear in North America. They are also the only bear species that has been known to attack humans in the heart of a city during broad daylight.
How to Prevent a Bear from Investigating Your Tent
Hunters and fishermen have a significantly higher chance of seeing bears than typical campers, owing to the fact that they are frequently accompanied by the scent of recent carcasses, which attracts bears. However, there are a number of ways in which humans might unintentionally attract bears to their campsites, putting them at undue danger of bear attack. Here are some suggestions on how you might modify your camping techniques to prevent encounters with bears:
- Food and other aromatic products should be kept out of reach of children. This includes not just fragrant foods such as meat and cheese, but also dry products, pet food, cooking oils, canned sodas, cosmetics, and anything else that has a strong and novel fragrance that can draw an inquisitive bear to investigate
- This includes: Keep sleeping tents as far away from the cookfire as possible. For safety reasons, you should leave at least a hundred feet between any area where you keep or cook food at the camp and the tents where you sleep, just in case a bear comes knocking. When a bear comes to the house throughout the night, many people are only alerted when they see tracks around their campfire the next morning. Never eat in your tent or store food in it
- Never sleep in the clothing you cooked in
- And never cook in your tent. A camper’s cache or airtight containers in a vehicle should always be used to store food, which should be suspended ten to fifteen feet above the ground. When you’re in bear country, food should never be brought inside the sleeping area
- This is a no-brainer. Bear indications should be avoided at all costs. This includes any new corpses or kills, patches of berries, riverfront places where salmon are running, bear scat or bear tracks, and any other evidence of a bear’s presence. If a bear has left a half corpse, it is probable that the bear will return to the area to finish it off later. Always carry a flashlight and bear spray (or a firearm) in your tent in case of emergency. It will only take a few seconds to gather these goods if you are awakened by a bear while sleeping in your tent in the middle of the night
- It will be far more difficult if you are awakened in the middle of the night by a bear. Avoid meals that have a strong fragrance and are greasy, such as bacon, seafood, and sausage. It is possible that the fragrance of these meals may go a long distance and will attract adjacent bears that are passing by, particularly younger bears who are less experienced at foraging on their own. When you pack up your camp, never leave abandoned food or rubbish at the campsite. It is illegal. Foraging bears that get habituated to campsites are more prone to attack campers and are more likely to be shot preemptively as a result of this behavior. Avoid encouraging bears to participate in conduct that might result in their being shot. Bears should never be fed. While feeding a young black bear that has wandered into your camp might seem like the perfect opportunity to take the perfect Instagram selfie, bears that become accustomed to begging and stealing from people will inevitably end up being shot in order to prevent them from becoming more aggressive and attacking humans outright. Please do the bears a favor and keep your food out of their reach. Never, ever go too close to a baby bear. Ever. It should almost go without saying, but if you’re trekking on a route and stumble upon a young bear cub, you can practically guarantee that an enraged grizzly mother is not far after. Reverse course and head in the other direction as rapidly as you can without breaking stride
In bear territory, if you exercise some common sense when planning for your camping trip and avoid approaching bears in the wild, the chances of being attacked by a bear are slim to none.
Methods and Tools for Repelling Bears
In order to avoid being attacked by a bear and the need to use fatal force against one, you should have a number of items on hand to employ in case of emergency. Before attempting to use a firearm to deter a predatory or curious bear, consider using any of the following equipment:
- Air horns: The loud blast from an air horn will surprise most bears and other violent creatures, causing them to flee the area. Also advantageous is the fact that campers may utilize an air horn in the event that they become separated from their group, making it a valuable dual-purpose item for the camp. A warning signal can also be issued when boating activities are being carried out. Hikers use bear bells to produce noise on the trail to alert bears of their presence. Bear assaults on hikers are most common when the hiker startles a bear on the route, but the use of a bear bell provides bears plenty of time to flee before a person can get near to them. If you have a bear in your campground, bear repellent spray, like mace or pepper spray, is an important last-ditch effort to drive the bear away from your campsite or tent before using fatal action. When it comes to bear deterrents, bear spray is one of the few options that has been shown to be effective against polar bears. In the event that you are camping in bear territory, a strobingpredator control light can assist you in keeping animals away from your campsite. The disadvantage is that a strobe light may make it difficult for campers to sleep through the night. A gun: No matter what sort of gun is used for bear protection, it is critical to utilize ammunition that has been tested and proven to be effective in stopping a bear. After shooting a bear, if the bear does not flee or tumble to the ground, you are in serious peril. (This is something I would advise.) When used in a revolver, 44 Magnum or bigger is recommended, 10MM in a semi-auto pistol is recommended, 12 gauge slugs or 00 buckshot is recommended in a shotgun, and a rifle should be able to fire.308 Win/.30-06/.270 Win/.300 Win Mag.
The odds are that you will never have to use any of your bear-repelling gear if you take steps when setting up your camp to prevent attracting bears through scent. However, in the event that a bear does appear, it is always a good idea to be prepared with the necessary tools.
Is It Dangerous to Camp in Bear Country?
Bear assaults are extremely deadly, and many individuals who are attacked by bears die as a result of the attack. Although bear attacks (of any species) are incredibly rare, the reality is that bear assaults are extremely infrequent. In the last several decades, just a handful of bear-related fatalities have been documented, and the North American black bear is responsible for only around one human death per year in the United States. Since 1900, just 67 humans have been murdered by black bears, according to official records.
The vast majority of humans who are attacked or killed by bears do so in distant places where bears are not frequently exposed to human contact, such as wilderness areas.
These bears are scavengers that have learnt to take advantage of human campers by stealing their food.
In some of the following instances, defensive attacks are launched against the attacker:
- A camper comes upon a mother bear and her cubs while hiking in the woods. A hiker unintentionally comes face to face with a bear while on the same game trail
- A camper, hiker, or hunter disrupts a bear’s meal while it is in the process of eating
Young bears, bears that have been fed by humans, and wounded or old bears that are having difficulty obtaining regular foraging opportunities are the kind of bears who are more inclined to invade human campgrounds. In many cases, bear managers in wildlife preserves may use compassionate euthanasia to put these bears down since, once a bear has learned to scavenge campgrounds for cheap food, it becomes increasingly unsafe to allow it to stay in close proximity to humans.
Overall, predatory bear attacks (or assaults in which a person is targeted as a source of food) are extremely rare among all three of North America’s major bear species, with the exception of the black bear. Camping in bear territory is no more risky than camping everywhere else in the world.
As long as you stay away from bears in the wild and avoid placing them in a position where they could consider the campsite an enticing place to be, you are unlikely to come face to face with a bear unless you are looking through a pair of binoculars. When given the opportunity, most bears would go out of their way to avoid humans, which is why bear deterrents such as predator control lights and bear bells are so effective. In fact, bear country is some of the most beautiful camping in the world, and if you take the appropriate precautions to set up your tent and campground, you should never have to worry about a bear nosing about your tent.
What do I do if a black bear is right outside my tent?
I’ve had close encounters with grizzly and black bears in the past; they’ve came sniffing around my camp and I’ve done nothing but lay quietly in my sleeping bag and wait for them to walk away, which they normally do. I’m not afraid of bears. The majority of the time, I’m not even aware that they were there; I just discover their traces the next morning. Bears, believe it or not, are quite prone to spooking. I’ve never had to use bear spray or shot at a bear since they always flee as soon as we give them the hint that we’re coming near to where they are.
- The sound of a human voice is the most effective deterrent for bears, so start making loud noises right away.
- If a bear wanders into your campsite and doesn’t act like it intends to leave without first finding something to eat, get out of your tent, act big, and keep shouting.
- You will quickly regret spraying it inside your tent, and you may even end up causing yourself significant injury.
- With one decent blow, that bear should be on its way out in no time.
- A warning shot fired from a rifle is equally as effective as bear spray in this situation.
- With campers and hikers, it’s more likely that the hikers unintentionally surprise the bear, causing it to act defensively, or that the bears happen upon a campsite because it’s on the side of a trail (bears use trails too) and find food there.
- When it comes to black bears, this is especially true; if a black bear starts following you and isn’t scared away by your attempts to coax him away, the chances are good that you’ll have to fight it off or shoot it.
They are extremely unusual and will normally only occur in the most remote places where bears have little interaction with people.
Coming from bear country, if yelling at it doesn’t work and you have a gun, 10 out of ten people where I’m from would advise shooting the bear.
Don’t even think about feeling bad about it since if you don’t shoot it, a ranger will almost certainly do so as soon as you report the incident (assuming you managed to scare it off some other way).
You’ve surely heard the adage, “A fed bear is a dead bear.” This is certainly true.
You must FIGHT a bear if it is attempting to enter your tent and you do not have a firearm.
It is important to remember that bear spray will only work if there is nothing in between you and the bear, so try to get out of your tent before attempting to spray it.
As a point of reference: As a point of comparison, deaths from black bear attacks in North America are roughly as common as shark attacks, and in many of the fatal contacts with black bears, the bear had fed on the victim before to the fatal encounter.
Backpacking in Bear Country
There have been 429 reviews, with an average rating of 4.6 stars. Bears are amazing creatures, and it may be thrilling to come face to face with one when you are at a suitable distance. When hiking or backpacking in an area inhabited by black bears or grizzlies, there are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of having a bear encounter and to ensure that you are prepared to act if you do have an interaction with a bear.
Video: Backpacking in Bear Country
Before you venture into the wilderness, check with the local authorities to see if bear-related rules are in effect. Bear canisters are required in certain parks, although they are not required in others. When visiting national parks where grizzlies are found, such as Glacier or Grand Teton, park rangers advise visitors to bring bear spray. Bear spray is not authorized in some areas, such as Yosemite National Park, where only black bears exist. Also, before you leave, check to see if bear poles or metal lockers have been erected in the backcountry campsites where you’ll be camping, since this may have an impact on the equipment you bring.
How to Avoid Bears While Hiking
In certain regions, you may be fortunate enough to see a bear even before you arrive at your first camping destination. Your primary objective will be to trek without arousing the attention of any bears in close proximity, particularly a mother with cubs. Some recommendations that are particularly important to follow in grizzly bear area, but which may also be applied to black bear region, are outlined below.
- Hiking in the crack of dawn or night is not recommended. That is the time of year when bears are most active. Maintain a close-knit group of four or more people when hiking
- Groups of this size are less likely to be assaulted. Make noise when hiking in order to avoid being surprised by a bear. Make frequent “Hey, bear!” exclamations, speak or sing loudly, clap your hands, and clack your trekking poles together to attract the bear’s attention. Using a whistle, blowing with a whistle, or screaming is not recommended by the National Park Service. These noises may resemble those of an injured animal, which may draw the attention of a bear. The majority of bells marketed as “bear bells” are not loud enough to be of any use. Also, have a constant awareness of your immediate surroundings. Because of the noise of the streams, the wind in the trees, the bends in the route, and the deep foliage, a bear may not be aware of your presence. Bear spray should be carried. Bear spray includes red pepper compounds, which have an adverse effect on the eyes and respiratory system, among other things. It’s meant to fend off an attacking bear (although it can also impair your own breathing and vision if the wind blows it in your face), and it can be emptied in as little as 7-9 seconds if used correctly. It has a range of 12-30 feet and is effective at that distance. Maintain direct physical control of the weapon by wearing it in a holster rather than in your pack (or even in an exterior mesh pocket, as it might be knocked out). Approximately 90 percent of the time, bear spray is an effective deterrent against bears. Make sure you understand how to utilize it because you may only have a few seconds to do so. Normally, you must remove the safety clip before you may push the nozzle depressing button. Before you go for your trip, practice taking it out of the holster at home. Due to the nature of the aerosol, it is important to research aircraft rules as well as foreign limits.
Warning: Never proactively spray your tent or pack with bear spray while you’re camping; bear spray is NOT a mosquito repellent. It’s possible that it will attract bears. Bear Spray may be purchased online.
How to Discourage Bears in Camp
Those bears who have tasted human food grow addicted to it and may become a nuisance; these bears are often killed. So, for the sake of the bears’ well-being and your own safety, keep food away from them. Always remember to adhere to the following rules:
- Never leave food out or unattended while you are working. Store food at all hours of the day and night since wildlife is always on the go. Make use of suitable food preservation techniques: Food, snacks, empty food containers and cookware (even if they have been cleaned), personal hygiene products like toothpaste, feminine products, and sunscreen, and even the clothes you wear while cooking should all be stored in a bear canister, bear bag, tree- or pole-hung bag or provided metal food locker to prevent bears from gaining access to them (clothing can absorb food odors). Some hikers even bring their stove along with them. See our page on food handling and storage for more information. for additional information on how to utilize a bear canister or bear bag, as well as how to hang your food, please visit: Maintain a safe distance between you and odors: Cooking and washing dishes (as well as your hands) should be done far away from your tent to avoid attracting bears to the area where you sleep. Only a little amount of liquid unscented soap should be used. Food particles should be strained out of your dishwater using a little piece of metal screen, which you should bring along. Stack these particles in a garbage bag and toss them in the trash
- When disposing of human waste, adhere to the principles of Leave No Trace (as well as any applicable statutory rules).
Black Bears vs. Grizzlies: What To Do if You Encounter a Bear
The majority of bears are fearful of people and will escape as soon as they smell, hear, or see a human. Bears, on the other hand, are unpredictable and deadly. When at all possible, keep a safe distance between you and a bear. The way you react to a bear encounter may change based on the sort of bear you are dealing with. Because both black bears and grizzlies can range in color from blonde to black, distinguishing between the two can be difficult (in the eastern U.S., however, black bears tend to be only black).
Black bears are distinguished by the absence of a shoulder hump, the height of their ears, and the profile of their face.
Grizzlies are found in Alaska and western Canada. To identify a grizzly, check for the following characteristics: a noticeable shoulder hump, tiny rounded ears, and a “dished-in” or concave face profile.
What To Do if You Encounter Either Type of Bear
- Never get too close to a bear
- If you observe bear cubs, stay at least 100 yards away. It has been reported that mother bears are extremely deadly, and that they will charge and attack at close range without warning. Back away from the bear, keeping your gaze fixed on the bear, if you happen to see one before it notices you
- If you’re with others, form a tight group to appear more intimidating
- If as all possible, retreat and redirect your path so that you can give the bear a wide berth. If you are unable to make progress on the route, it is preferable to postpone your trek. If you have bear spray, have it ready
- If you don’t, don’t bother. If you find yourself in any of the following scenarios, fight back: You are assaulted in your tent, at night, after being stalked, or at any other moment when your position appears to be critical.
What To Do if You Encounter a Black Bear
- If a black bear is approaching you, lift your arms to make yourself appear larger and cry loudly, smash pots together, or hurl things at it to scare it away. To defend yourself, get a long, solid stick. If you’re in camp, secure any food in a bear canister or metal locker as soon as possible, or carry the food with you (even if it’s in a cooking pot) as you back away from the campfire. Avoid allowing a bear to take your food
- This is critical. If the bear continues to approach you and appears to be more interested in your meal than you are, put the food down as a last option and walk away from the animal. No matter how innocuous a black bear appears to be when it approaches out of curiosity, keep attempting to frighten it off and back away.
If a black bear attacks you, you should do the following:
- Do not pretend to be dead
- Fight back in a ferocious manner. Sticks, pebbles, and fists should be used on its eyes and nose. It sees you as prey, and it attacks you.
What To Do if You Encounter a Grizzly
- If a grizzly bear gets up and looks at you, it is evaluating your situation. Discuss it quietly, avoid eye contact, and back up slowly—you don’t want it look as if you are threatening it. Its ears will be up, and it may huff and bound toward you if it engages in a bluff charge, which differs from a full-on attack in that it is not as aggressive. Try not to panic
- Instead, maintain your composure and communicate with the bear to let it know you are kind. Prepare your bear spray in advance
- Never turn and flee! After making a bluff charge, the bear may turn and withdraw
- Continue to back up.
If a grizzly bear attacks you, you should do the following:
- If a grizzly’s ears are laid back and it is quiet while charging with its head lowered, this indicates a full-on aggressive attack. When the bear is 30 feet away, you should use your bear spray. Don’t get too excited and start spraying too soon. Aim low in order to avoid hitting the bear in the head
- If you don’t have any spray, or if it doesn’t work, pretend to be dead. Try to lay flat on your stomach with your pack between you and the bear
- Cover the back of your neck with your hands—your elbows and extended legs can help protect you from being rolled over
- And keep your head and neck covered with your hands. You should continue to roll until you are back on your stomach if the bear manages to flip you over. You might also attempt a cannonball pose to see how it feels. It’s possible that the bear will bite you and then depart
How Do You Bear Proof A Tent?
Bears are one of the most common fears that individuals have when it comes to camping in a tent or spending time outdoors. Despite the fact that bears aren’t nearly as dangerous as they are portrayed to be, bear-proofing your tent and campsite is crucial if you want to prevent having an unpleasant experience on your next outdoor expedition. If you want to bear-proof your tent, you’ll want to set up your campsite such that your cooking area and tent are at least 200 feet apart from one another.
Make use of a bear canister or bear hung instead, and keep your campsite nice and tidy at all times to keep bears away.
Following that, we’ll go over everything you need to know about bear proofing a tent, as well as some helpful hints for reducing the likelihood that a bear may decide to roam through your campground.
How Rare Are Bear Attacks?
Attacks by bears are extremely, extremely rare. In the United States and Canada between 1900 and 2009, an estimated 63 individuals were murdered by black bears, according to a 2011 research. Grizzly bear assaults on humans occurred in North America between 2000 and 2015, according to a research published in Nature this year. The great majority of attacks occurred in Alaska, British Columbia, and the Yukon, according to the findings of the study. Unquestionably, every bear attack or fatality is a terrible and tragic occurrence, but when you consider the vast amount of people who spend their time outside, the odds of being attacked or killed by a bear are incomprehensibly minimal.
In most black and brown bear assaults, the bear is hungry and wants a bite of whatever you’re eating for dinner, or the humans involved have somehow (usually unwittingly) gotten in between a female bear and her cubs, according to the National Wildlife Federation.
While there have been some predatory assaults (for example, when a bear follows humans in search of food), bear researcher John Beecham says that they are extremely rare and that they are the exception rather than the norm in bear behavior.
Will Bears Bother You In A Tent?
On the whole, bears are uncomfortable being around you, just as much as you are uncomfortable being around them. In addition, because the vast majority of black and brown bears are primarily interested in food, they will only approach humans in tents if they smell anything good inside. Consequently, bears are less likely to walk into your tent area if you do not store food and other “scented” objects, such as toiletries, in your tent. When it comes to bears, avoiding an encounter is essential.
If you adhere to bear safety practices, such as putting your food in a bear canister or a bear hang (more on that later), you can avoid bears interfering with your camping experience by sleeping in a tent at night.
Will A Tent Protect Me At All From A Bear?
It’s doubtful that your tent will keep you safe from a determined bear unless you chance to buy a tent that is reinforced with steel bars. Unless they’re constructed of heavy duty nylon or polyester, most tents are composed of flimsy nylon or polyester fabric that bears may easily cut through if they’re on the search for food. Having said that, this should not be a cause for concern or a reason for you to forego going camping. As previously said, bear attacks are quite rare, and following correct bear safety measures when camping in recognized bear habitat will do far more to protect you from a bad bear encounter than the majority of people believe.
Steps To Take For Preventing Bears From Being Interested In Your Tent
When it comes to bear-proofing a tent, the most important thing to remember is to prevent bears from becoming interested in your tent in the first place. It all boils down to correctly setting up your camp and keeping your food so that bears do not have access to it at night. Here’s all you need to know about the situation.
How To Set Up Camp In Bear Country
When hiking through bear territory, one of the most essential things you can do is make sure your camp is properly set up before you leave. If you were camping in a frontcountry campsite at a recognized campground, it’s likely that you erected your tent very near to your kitchen. You should, however, pitch your tent at least 200ft (60m) away from your kitchen and water if you are in recognized bear territory. This is around 70 adult paces away from your kitchen and water. Finding a suitable tent site that is at least 70 meters away from the nearest water source is an excellent approach to start your camping adventure (this is normally a requirement on most public lands).
Due to the fact that preparing food creates a lot of food-based odors, keeping everything contained to a single location that is separate from where we want to sleep for the night might reduce the likelihood that a bear would walk over to where we are sleeping.
How To Store Food To Keep Bears Away From Your Tent
Proper food storage is the second factor of bear avoidance when camping that must be considered. Because bears are mostly just interested in food, they are frequently drawn to campsites in search of a small morsel of whatever you had for supper that night. We don’t want bears to eat human food for two reasons: first, it is harmful to their health.
- Human food is not a typical component of a bear’s diet and does not supply the necessary nourishment for them to thrive
- Bears that consume human food rapidly develop accustomed to human presence and behavior. This greatly increases the likelihood that they may begin to loiter around popular campgrounds or towns, or that they will attack someone. Whenever this occurs, the bear is nearly often put down, which is not a pleasant experience for anybody concerned.
As a result, understanding how to properly store your food will not only keep bears away from your tent, but it will also assist to guarantee that the bear population in our favorite camping places remains healthy and vigorous.
Food Storage Options For Camping In Bear Country
When you’re camping in bear territory, you have a few alternatives for food storage that you might consider. It is crucial to remember, however, that certain public areas have quite severe rules for the containers in which you may and cannot keep your food. These include some of the most popular national, state, and provincial parks and forests in the United States and Canada, as well as some of the most remote areas in the world. The obligation of the camper is to be knowledgeable about the regulations for wherever he or she is going to be.
It is possible to face harsh repercussions from local authorities if you violate the restrictions, particularly if a bear gets into your food. The following are the four basic methods of storing food in bear country, which vary based on your geographic area.
A bear canister is a container with a hard outside that has been constructed to prevent a bear from gaining access to the food within. The majority of them are composed of hard-sided plastic with specific lids that bears are unable to open. Despite the fact that bears may and do attempt to open these canisters in order to obtain the food contained therein, when utilized properly, they are exceedingly unlikely to be successful. What’s the drawback of using bear cans? They’re large and cumbersome.
Bear Hang/PCT Method
Some property managers will require you to use a “bear hang” in locations where a bear canister is not necessary, but bears are still present. This is done to prevent hungry bears from taking your food. When it comes to lightweight backpacking options, bear hangs are a favorite since they are simple to set up and require nothing more than a piece of rope with two or three carabiners, and a bag to store your food. Unfortunately, if you’re camping above treeline, they won’t be very effective, and they won’t do anything to deter rats from stealing your munchies at night.
Bear-proof coolers are a relatively new concept in the camping industry, but they’re quickly gaining popularity at established campgrounds. Most firms that offer “bear-proof coolers,” such asGrizzly Coolers, have their goods approved by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC), which puts the coolers through their paces on real bears. Having said that, these coolers are not permitted at all campgrounds, so double-check the rules and restrictions at your destination before purchasing one for your next camping trip.
Some campgrounds in national parks and national forests will have specially constructed steel “bear lockers” for storing food, which will be available for use by bears. A general guideline is that if there is a bear locker available at your campground, you must use it if there is one. Because these bear lockers are extremely effective at preventing bears from gaining access to human food, several property managers demand their usage on their properties. It is normally not permitted to store food in a car at campgrounds where a bear locker is provided; thus, make sure that all of your food will fit inside the bear locker when you leave for the night.
Can Bears Smell Through Ziploc Bags?
Ziploc bags do not have a strong fragrance, and a bear can readily detect anything you’re storing inside of them. LOKSAKIs a good option if you want to keep your food in an odor-proof bag within a bear-proof hanger or canister, locker or cooler. While camping in bear territory, these odor-proof and reusable storage bags can help keep food odors at bay, providing you with more peace of mind.
What To Do If You Hear A Bear Outside Your Tent
If, despite your best attempts, a bear manages to stroll into your campground, the first thing you should do is shout in a loud, strong voice to scare it away from your campsite. Because bears are normally terrified of humans, they will be surprised and flee if they see you. Although it is extremely unlikely, if a bear begins to attack you while you are sleeping in your tent, the National Park Service suggests that you defend yourself.
Because these bears frequently perceive humans as prey, more protective techniques, such as pretending to be dead, are unlikely to be effective.
Should You Keep Bear Spray In Your Tent?
If you know how to use bear spray and have it readily available when you need it, it may be a very effective tool in repelling an angry bear. Because bear spray may be quite effective in a bear assault, you’ll want to have it close at all times during the night. To be on the safe side, it’s advisable to keep your bear spray in the vestibule of your tent rather than directly next to your sleeping bag. This is because it is conceivable, though not likely, that you will accidently remove the safety tab from the bear spray while you are tossing and turning in your bed at night.
- This will ensure that you are well prepared should things go wrong.
- The National Park Service suggests that you rinse out your eyes and skin with cold water for 15-20 minutes after the bear has left to decrease the stinging effects of pepper spray in these cases.
- So, before you embark on your next journey, make sure you are familiar with the local legislation.
- Even when I’m camping in bear territory, I always set up my campground so that my cooking and tent areas can be kept apart from one another.
- The same caution should be exercised by anybody planning to camp in recognized bear habitat.
- Following that, in terms of wildlife safety, is: Is it safe to sleep in a roof top tent when there are bears around?
- Best Bear Spray: Proven and Effective Top 5 Options What Should You Do If You Come Across a Cougar While Hiking?
What Should You Do If a Bear Attacks Your Tent?
Although bear attacks are rare in the news, they do happen on a regular basis. In June 2018, a camper was injured after a bear “trampled over his tent,” which had been set up in the Red Feather Lakes region of Colorado. “The bear was leaping up and down on the tent,” a representative for Colorado Parks and Wildlife stated. Fortunately, the man’s injuries were not life-threatening, and the other three persons in the tent escaped without injury. So, what do you do if a bear comes charging into your tent?
Attempting to calmly flee to a safe spot should be your first priority if the bear decides to assault your tent.
If at all possible, make yourself appear enormous and talk in a monotone voice while you slowly back away from a bear before it attacks you.
If a grizzly bear is approaching you, curl into a ball with your fingers interlocked behind your neck, or if it is a black bear, fight back with all your might and will. In this article, we will go over the following scenarios that might occur during a bear tent attack:
- What to do during an assault
- What to do after an attack
- What to do before an attack What you can do to avoid an assault
There is a paucity of information about bear assaults. In 2005, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discovered that two bear-related deaths occurred in the United States over the course of one year. Although this may not appear to be a significant amount, it is critical to understand how to respond to and prevent a bear attack if you find yourself in a potentially dangerous position.
What to Do During the Attack
Bear assaults are frequently made into dramatic news stories by the media. Outdoor businesses will have a wide variety of items to keep bears away and keep yourself safe. Bears, on the other hand, tend to keep away from people in the majority of circumstances. To your surprise, your mind turns out to be the most valuable instrument of all. If you come face to face with an angry, hungry, or protective mom bear, you must be prepared to defend your territory and yourself. These stages, which you should learn and commit to memory, will assist you in reacting properly.
- Even if you are inside the tent, this may be tough to do, especially if it is dark.
- The two sorts of bears you will most likely see are black bears and grizzly bears/brown bears, which are the most common.
- It is also unlikely that you would be tent camping in an area where there is a substantial polar bear population, so take precautions.
- Brown bears, sometimes known as Grizzly bears, are brown in color, whereas black bears are, well, black.
- Grizzly bears may reach between 350 and 800 pounds, making them far bigger than the 110-400 pound black bear.
- As opposed to protecting her cubs from danger, a Grizzly bear will go on the offensive when faced with a threat.
- Contrary to common opinion, Grizzly bears are capable of climbing trees, but at a snail’s pace.
When a bear is standing on its hind legs, it is generally just sniffing the air and taking in the surrounding environment.
It is common for them to be fearful and flee if they feel attacked.
Although they have a timid nature, this does not take away from the fact that they are extremely powerful creatures.
This may direct them directly to the front door of your tent.
Make a Plan of Action in Case of Emergency When a juvenile black bear approached a young kid who was seated in his tree stand in May 2018, the bear scaled the tree and approached him from behind.
In a confined tent, just like in a tree stand, you don’t have a lot of options when it comes to escaping.
If you are able to discover an escape, or if one becomes available as a result of a tear, you should seek refuge in a secure area.
A bear assault will not be safe if you are in your tent since it is not robust or safe.
The objective here is to find a nearby and safe spot as fast as possible while remaining calm.
Not only would it entice the bear to pursue you, but you will also be overtaken in a short period of time.
Hopefully, your vehicle is close and ready to go.
It is not advisable to turn your back on a bear at any time.
Ensure that you have as much space between you and the bear as possible, ideally in a reinforced cage.
Find anything non-food related in your tent, such as a shoe or a glove.
Fish and Wildlife Service advises in its recommendations. It is important to remember that attacking a bear is always the last choice! If at all feasible, try to escape out from a situation without getting into a fight!
Defend Yourself or Fight A Bear?
If you are stranded in the bush without access to a car and alone (except from the bear), your next best choice is to protect yourself. An unfortunate incident occurred in Anchorage, Alaska, in 2017, when a teen was descending a mountain and was murdered by a bear that had been pursuing him. It is impossible to outrun a bear, yet it is possible to dissuade it or fight back. You should stay in a standing position in the event that the bear charges you while you are awake and visible in your tent.
- Black bears and occasionally Grizzlies are especially susceptible to this type of behavior when you appear to be large and act in an unexpected manner.
- If you have pots or pans at your disposal, bang them together while shouting to shock the animal and maybe scare it away.
- Playing dead is the best strategy when dealing with a Grizzly Bear.
- In the event that you have access to a rucksack or other strong object, keep it on your person as a protective layer.
- Spread your legs to make it more difficult for the bear to turn you over,” says the guide.
- Grizzly bears will regard your attempts to defend yourself as hostility.
- In contrast, black bears do not respond well to humans who are in the cannonball pose while pretending to be dead.
- Deterring the bear by concentrating your strikes on his nose and face is an effective strategy.
- The bear is said to be famished and believes that you are hiding food within the tent when these incidents occur.
- Brown bears or Grizzly bears are the most common.
Use Weapons or Tools
In Winnipeg, a guy came face to face with a polar bear. The interaction itself was bizarre enough, but then the man continued to “ward off” the bear with his iPhone, which was as bizarre. After being swatted and bitten, he alleges that he “stuck his smartphone into the enraged bear’s face, distracting it long enough for him to flee.” Despite the absurdity of the situation, it shows an essential lesson. You should have equipment available to you in your tent that may be used for defense or as weapons in case you need to use them in an emergency.
- If you’re going to be in bear territory, you should have bear spray with you.
- Bear spray is very unpleasant to bears and should be avoided at all costs.
- Bear spray is used by professional wildlife scientists who operate in the field, according to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, who believes that it is a useful technique for preventing damage to both people and bears.
- It has been observed that attempting to engage the bear with a weapon often results in the bear being even more aggressive.
- Furthermore, even bears who were mortally wounded had enough time to inflict significant damage on the person who shot the pistol.
- Things such as a hefty lantern or lamp, a cast-iron skillet, or even a baseball bat will cause more damage than a kick or punch because of their weight and durability.
- If this isn’t feasible, you should try to scare the bear away by generating a huge profile and making loud noises around you.
Weapons such as bear spray, rather than weapons, can be useful in an emergency situation. This is an excellent video that goes into great detail. You should definitely take the time to watch it.
What to Do After A Bear Attack
Your tent has been assaulted by a bear. So, what do you do now? Check to see if the bear has truly left the area before proceeding. If the bear has truly left the area, seek shelter in a car, an RV, or a structure, whatever is most convenient. Once you have reached safety, take stock of your situation as well as the other members of your group or pets. In the event of a major or life-threatening injury, contact 911 immediately. Continue to stay inside since the bear may come back out to greet you.
It is recommended by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service that if you see a bear, you should report it as quickly as possible to local authorities or the nearest forest, park, or game and fish department office.
Preventative Measures — Protect your Tent
When confronted with a bear assault, your intellect is the most resourceful weapon you have at your disposal. It is really useful to learn about bear safety and prevention measures. If you intend to camp in a bear-infested region, bear-proof your tent and campsite to the best of your ability before setting out. Set up your tent in a well-ventilated area. It is possible to remain hidden from a bear by using dense foliage and plants. As a result, the bear may accidently come across you as it makes its way through the forest.
- A bear can detect your scent from a mile away.
- They are drawn to scents because they may suggest the presence of a food source for them.
- To prevent attracting bears, avoid wearing perfume and only using fragrance-free soaps and sprays on yourself and your tent when camping.
- Take a look at our excellent essay on an issue we are frequently asked, and you will be more educated going forward.
- Food Preservation and Food Safety It is advisable to keep all food products, even those that have been prepared and wrapped in bear-proof containers, in a secure location.
- It is advised that you maintain a distance of at least one hundred yards.
- Wrap up all of your food in a waterproof, odorless bag and tie it to a tree for safekeeping.
When erecting your tent, employ the “Bear-Muda” method of construction.
Positioning your tent away from the other two places will improve your sleeping safety.
Waste should be burned, buried, or otherwise concealed since it emits an odor.
Some campgrounds feature bear-proof trash cans that are located a long distance away from the campsites, where you can dispose of your garbage.
What to do with your food while you’re in bear country.
Garbage, food, clothing that smell like supper, and even toothpaste should not be kept in a tent overnight.
Sleeping and cooking clothing should be kept separate, as should any other personal items you use.
Remove any food crumbs and residue from the table as soon as you are through eating a meal.
Locked Up and Secured The thought of successfully escaping your tent when you are under assault only to discover a bear in your automobile would be terrible to consider.
Black bears are naturally interested and will attempt to enter a vehicle if they believe there is food inside.
A bear is not likely to be nice with your dog, even if he happens to be your closest companion.
If you are in bear territory, you should leave your dog at home.
Campers have been targeted by companies that have sold these tiny and portable electric fences.
Installing one around your tent will provide an additional layer of protection.
At particular periods of the year, notably in the spring, bears are more likely to produce cubs than at other times of the year. Agressive and territorial behavior in mother bears with cubs will be more common among them.
You Can Survive in Bear Country
Bears have attacked people on rare occasions, although they are not common. Even if you are in your tent, you can survive a bear assault and escape. It is possible to discourage a bear from damaging you or people in your vicinity if you maintain your composure, come prepared, and go on the defensive.
More articles on camping around wildlife that you should read.
Food Preservation in Bear Country (How To and What in) Is it possible for bears to smell through cans? Wolf Country is a great place to camp (Your most common Questions Answered) Maintaining Your Dog’s Coolness While Camping (7 tips that can save your dog)