ALERT!! Bears on the Deso/gray - Mountain Buzz

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Old 07-07-2017   #1
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 462
ALERT!! Bears on the Deso/gray

Just got off Deso/gray. Pulled into a camp day 3 and found a homemade sign warning us not to camp there due to a bear biting a sleeping boater. We skipped the camp and went downriver. Soon after, state rangers motored up and killed the bear. There were three bear sightings. I don't know the whole story about the bear bite, however I wanted to put out a warning that the bears are really active right now.


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Old 07-08-2017   #2
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Fort Fun, Colorado
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Headed there in a week so many thanks for the notice.
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Old 07-08-2017   #3
Salt Lake City, Utah
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I forgot to mention that we saw scat (bear poop) as early as our first camp only 7 river miles down. It was all around the tent sites.
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Old 07-08-2017   #4
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Westminster, Colorado
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Join Date: May 2012
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Been running Deso for decades and unfortunately, bear encounters have increased. If you see scat, prints or claw scratches, move to another camp. Keep a very clean camp (put food away, pick up micro trash, rinse and put away beverage cans, wash all dishes, wipe down food prep surfaces and stoves with bleach solution, rinse camp chairs of spilled food/drink, secure latches on groover at night)...whatever it takes to discourage human/bear encounters. We had a yearling at Poverty a few years back that keep swimming across the river towards our camp. After a while, it dawned on us dumb humans that the bear was simply trying to go up the canyon, and that he did, as fast as he could, when his paws hit the sand. Set tents close together if possible, and
away from kitchen and social area, bring pot lid and spoon and/or whistle to make
noise at night and early morning. Be aware and keep everyone safe.
"If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are."
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Old 07-08-2017   #5
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Tabernash, Colorado
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Thanks for the heads up tanderson, and the reminder to keep a clean camp 2tomcat2!!

All too often people think of these things as animal problems, when they are a result of messy camping, and nature just being nature. So called pest animals like bears, racoons, and skunks, are all opportunistic feeders. We don't usually have animal problems, it's more we have a human problem.
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Old 07-08-2017   #6
cedar city, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2008
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Exactly! Glad to see most people recognize this reality. I personally have had one close encounter with a bear on Deso at Wirefence. But I know several other groups who have multiple encounters and one trip that had to pack up and move in the middle of the night.

Also be aware that bears in Deso may be foraging for items not in your camp or human related. When we were at Wirefence it was plenty evident from scat that the bear was hitting the abundance of Three Leaf Sumac berries real hard. Sadly, we as rafters tend to overuse existing camps regularly and many of them share ideal habitat with wildlife (like shade and the brush mentioned above). I don't see that changing anytime soon.

We started carrying bear spray and a small marine fog horn about five years ago whenever we float Deso.

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Old 07-08-2017   #7
Battlement Mesa, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: May 2015
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Just got off Deso on the 4th and we also saw bears, but not until the last day of the trip. We shared a camp at the bottom of Rattlesnake and a bear left scat by the other camp's toilet and knocked ours over. Did not come into our camp, though, or try to get in our trash. Saw the same bear (we think) that evening before we went to bed...came between our camps down to the water. Good idea to be on heightened awareness.
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Old 07-08-2017   #8
Grand Junction, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 247
You're all spooking my! My Deso launch is Sept. 13th, just when bears start to load up for their long winter nap! We'll just have to be extra diligent in keeping a good camp. Thanks for everyone's input.
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Old 07-08-2017   #9
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jackson, Wyoming
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bears on deso are often relocated "problem" bears, already habituated. pack heat .
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Old 07-08-2017   #10
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Billings, Montana
Paddling Since: 1971
Join Date: Jun 2017
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Originally Posted by stuntsheriff View Post
bears on deso are often relocated "problem" bears, already habituated. pack heat .
If by "heat" you mean bear spray, I'll go along with that. I'm guessing you're talking firearms, and believe me, I have no blanket objection to that: I have several and love 'em. But for Joe Blow, bear spray is much more likely to be effective than panicked shots in the dark from a .357.
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