Rafting in bear country - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 05-21-2010   #1
 
Calgary, Alberta
Join Date: May 2009
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Rafting in bear country

I did a search and didn't find much pertaining to this.

I'm curious how people store their food for the night while rafting in bear country. I know all the standard protocol for hanging food in a tree, but that's not going to happen with my 70qt cooler full of food, ice, and beer.

Ideally, I'd like to leave the cooler in the boat overnight, which means at least a bear won't be near my tent... but I'm pretty sure the boat would not survive an inquisative bear, and then I could have some trouble.

Comments and or suggestions?

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Old 05-21-2010   #2
 
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North Denver, Colorado
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Bring a .45 or .357, sleep well. Just got off Deso the ranger said a bear had torn a raft apart for food in the cooler on a raft. Better than in camp.
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Old 05-21-2010   #3
 
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The Bitterroot, Montana
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duck tape the cooler closed and string in tree. I would rather have a bear poke around camp than pop my way out..... also bring a gun. I recommend a 410 "Judge". It takes 410 shot gun rounds or 45 colt LR rounds. If you bring pepper spray into Gizz country be sure to bring salt spray too, then you will be fully seasend.
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Old 05-22-2010   #4
 
Calgary, Alberta
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Can't have a handgun in Canada.

Anyone use one those portable electric fences before?
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Old 05-22-2010   #5
 
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Glenwood Springs, Colorado
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I've rafted in Canada and AK several times with no problems. Keep a clean camp. Some folks strap all the coolers and food dryboxes together in a large "cube", others like myself, leave the coolers/dryboxes strapped down in the boats. Wipe these and your kitchen surfaces down with a spray solution of diluted clorax to help neutralize odors. All trash that can't be burned, should go into rocket boxes, secured in the boats.

Bringing guns into Canada is a major pain in the ass--and you're correct, hand guns are a felony if caught--not worth it--and will probably give a false sense of security at best. At worst, in the confusion of a late night bear in camp encounter, you could end up shooting your fellow boaters, or even more tragically, shoot a hole into your prized inflatable... Bring clearly labeled bear pepper spray instead, much less chance of a bad encounter statistically.
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Old 05-22-2010   #6
 
Helena, Montana
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i have thought about this as well. have a tactical shotgun that would easily fit in a drybag, but i have never brought it. as a former ranger i can tell you that its not that easy to kill a bear, and that a handgun is mostly useless. I have done "battle" with several bears over the years (but never on a river trip).

in academy they taught us that if we need to try to stop one to pick a shoulder and unload into it. you won't kill it w/a handgun but you can disable it if you are lucky. wild bears are not used to loud sounds & i have chased them off w/the sound of the discharge (this is after i was bluff charged, scared the piss out of me!). if that is your plan, pick a spot that is safe to shoot into during daylight so that you don't have to figure it out in the moment.

the thing that worked the best for us in parks was pretty simple. a handful of mothballs inside a sock, soaked in pine sol. its just way too strong for the bears and they want no part of it. you would need a dedicated drybag for it as the smell is insanely strong and would taint the bag for life i would think. but it works like a charm everytime and in fact allowed us to avoid shutting down a campground and rounding up the problem bears. if you prepare this thing, do it outside in a well ventilated area.
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Old 05-22-2010   #7
 
Calgary, Alberta
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wildh2onriver View Post
I've rafted in Canada and AK several times with no problems. Keep a clean camp. Some folks strap all the coolers and food dryboxes together in a large "cube", others like myself, leave the coolers/dryboxes strapped down in the boats. Wipe these and your kitchen surfaces down with a spray solution of diluted clorax to help neutralize odors. All trash that can't be burned, should go into rocket boxes, secured in the boats.

Bringing guns into Canada is a major pain in the ass--and you're correct, hand guns are a felony if caught--not worth it--and will probably give a false sense of security at best. At worst, in the confusion of a late night bear in camp encounter, you could end up shooting your fellow boaters, or even more tragically, shoot a hole into your prized inflatable... Bring clearly labeled bear pepper spray instead, much less chance of a bad encounter statistically.
At least if you shoot your boat, it's a small patch to fix it, where a bear would probably shred the boat beyond recognition... lol. Just kidding... I have no intension of bringing a gun.

On a trip to AK or Northern Canada I might consider it, but the area I'm going (where the chance of a bear encounter is much lower) and the amount of alcohol that will be consumed, it's not worth the risk to me.

Have you used this bleach solution before and not attracted a bear? The only reason I ask is because I've heard that, while pepper spray is a deterant in high acute doses, it can actually be an attractant to far off bears if it's discharged accidentally or as a test.
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Old 05-22-2010   #8
 
Calgary, Alberta
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MountainMedic View Post
i have thought about this as well. have a tactical shotgun that would easily fit in a drybag, but i have never brought it. as a former ranger i can tell you that its not that easy to kill a bear, and that a handgun is mostly useless. I have done "battle" with several bears over the years (but never on a river trip).

in academy they taught us that if we need to try to stop one to pick a shoulder and unload into it. you won't kill it w/a handgun but you can disable it if you are lucky. wild bears are not used to loud sounds & i have chased them off w/the sound of the discharge (this is after i was bluff charged, scared the piss out of me!). if that is your plan, pick a spot that is safe to shoot into during daylight so that you don't have to figure it out in the moment.

the thing that worked the best for us in parks was pretty simple. a handful of mothballs inside a sock, soaked in pine sol. its just way too strong for the bears and they want no part of it. you would need a dedicated drybag for it as the smell is insanely strong and would taint the bag for life i would think. but it works like a charm everytime and in fact allowed us to avoid shutting down a campground and rounding up the problem bears. if you prepare this thing, do it outside in a well ventilated area.
The mothballs idea is interesting. I'm going to read up on that a bit... thanks.
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Old 05-22-2010   #9
 
Land of Lovin, Colorado
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I've heard the pine-sol remedy before as well but without the mothballs.
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Old 05-22-2010   #10
 
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
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pistols and bears

Been around hunting guns all my life. I am a reasonably skilled marksman. I do not have much faith in my ability to instantly stop a charging bear in it's tracks with any firearm.

Never been charged by a bear, so my opinions are based on research via the internet and a lifetime of reading outdoor hunting magazines.

All the Grizz video charges I have seen are so fast the bear is on top of the person in the blink of an eye.

Two things on pistols. I am a decent shooter. I do not think I could get a pistol out and aimed in time to stop a charging bear. If I did hit the bear, my bet is it would just piss the bear off more. Pistols just do not have the stopping power to put the brakes on a charging big bear.

On my trips in bear country, I started carrying one of the largest cans of bear spray I could find. I honestly believe I have the best chance of stopping a bear with a decent sized spray from a major brand bear spray.

For what it is worth, if a person wanted to shoot and kill a large bear they would be better off with one of the magnum hunting rifles and loads than any pistol. A powerful hunting rifle is way too much weight for most of us to carry and even harder to get out and on target in seconds.

Pepper spray can be carried on your belt or some other easy to access spot. Much easier to carry than a firearm. Price is such that you could buy extras and have them available. And, it does not take much training on pepper spray to be a reasonable competent shooter whereas keeping your pistol / rifle shooting skills takes constant practice.
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