A dog’s sense of smell is 20 times better than yours. A bear’s sense of smell is 100 times better than a dog’s. They can smell, and are attracted to, your food, dog food, toothpaste, sunscreen, bug spray, the clothes you wore while cooking, your greywater tanks after washing dishes, and many other things. If you camp in bear country, bears WILL find you, and they WILL eat you.
Let me first clarify that when I say bears, I mean brown bears. Black bears are far less aggressive, and will generally run away, unless you run away. Running from a black bear may instigate an attack, and it is generally recommended that if you meet a black bear, you should back away slowly.
So-called experts tell us that bear (grizzly) attacks are not real common. They don’t tell us that this is because grizzlies only live in about 3 of the 50 states. Now, remember, we’re talking about IF you camp in bear country.
The experts tell us that moose are more dangerous than bears. That there are more moose attacks than bear attacks. They don’t tell us that there are more moose than grizzlies. They don’t tell us that moose inhabit at least 5 times as many states as grizzlies.
So, like I keep saying, if you camp in bear country, you will die. Here are some tips that experts give us to help us avoid getting killed by a bear, at least long enough for the moose to get us.
- Carry bear spray.
- Do not sleep in the same clothes you cleaned game or fish in.
- Do not sleep in the same clothes you cooked in, or even ate in.
- Don’t use toothpaste, deodorant, or shampoo, as the scents will attract bears.
- Wash clothes, tents, etc. in unscented detergent.
- Don’t hike alone, or at night.
- Camp in an open area, away from thick brush.
- Stay away from dead carcasses.
- There is safety in numbers. Especially if some of that number run slower than you.
- Do not sleep near a bear’s food source, such as- a berry patch, a stream, a garbage dump, or the fat guy.
- Avoid cooking foods, as the scent will draw bears.
- Cook and eat a few hundred yards from your camp.
- Dump dishwater at least a hundred yards from your camp.
- Carry bear spray at all times.
I added a couple more tips, that the experts apparently forgot.
(1) To avoid food smells in your camp, invite yourself to your neighbor’s camp for dinner.
(2) To avoid food smells on your clothes, go naked. Sure, they will call the rangers, but those guys carry guns, so it’s a win/win.
But, let’s be honest, will a bear kill you, for sure, if you camp in bear territory? I don’t know. Bears are impatient, and they would have to wait in line behind the moose.