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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.



Tda
 

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Discussion Starter #3
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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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.
 

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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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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.

Phillip
 

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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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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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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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We took out on 7/2 and had a pile of scat full of berries at school section. It was on the trail just behind the beach leading up to tent sites.
It was pretty dry and based on what I've seen before, probably 10-15 days old. We were careful and clean and only saw goats, horses, golden eagles, catfish, humpback chub, pikeminnows, some sort of desert game bird, chukar/grouse size and heard turkeys.
Awesome trip over 7 days and all 6 kids aged 3-11 had a blast!
Be safe and keep a clean camp! It helps safe and protect wildlife!
 

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tanderson met you at the take-out the other day, good to meet a fellow buzzard! sorry about your shuttle situation with RR. we spent 5 nights on deso and did not see any bears nor tracks. we did see scat our last night at rattle snake, but no issues. mozzies weren't that bad from my perspective but the the "horse fly's " were fairly persistent. 10 grand was a super nice level, good current, fun rapids. BTW i've been boating deso for 20 plus years and have yet to see a bear down there.
 

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The bear we saw on deso was near the school section canyon camp just before rattlesnake rapid he was hanging out on river right, upstream from this camp.
 

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Deso Bears

That's interesting, because that is generally a pretty dry, tree-less area. But, I suspect they are coming down from more forested areas.
 
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