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Old 04-20-2012, 06:44 AM
Never Alone's Avatar
Never Alone Never Alone is offline
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Location: Roanoke Valley, VA
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I agree with Stalking Tortise about the food in your tent. I know several people that do it, but I would not for several reasons. As he said you may find yourself nose to nose with a bear, but more likely you encourage other smaller animals to check out the food scents. However, it is your hike and do it your way and enjoy that is what is most important.

Good luck and Happy Trails !!!!!
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. - Mark Twain
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Old 04-20-2012, 09:11 AM
Snickers06 Snickers06 is offline
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Default don't panic about bears

Everyone seems to be worried about bears on the AT. Don't be.

First, there are no Grizzlies like out west. Only Black Bears here.

second, the bears are generally not aggressive at all. But you do need to use common sense.

never sneak up on a bear. let him know you are there... (no bear bells please! just normal voice).

Place your food in a locked box if available, or use the pully system if available or hang food.

maintain a clean camp.

Never ever ever bring food inside you tent. Maybe there won't be bears around but there will be mice.

You real concern should be mice not bears

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Old 04-20-2012, 09:22 AM
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montana mac montana mac is offline
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Location: Montana - God's Country !!
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Contrary to a lot of beliefs more people are attacked by black bears then grizzly bears! I work in grizzly bear country and have had numerous sightings of them, some closer then I would have liked. They are like any other animal - each situation determines the outcome. I don't "worry" about the bears, black or grizzly, but I do respect them and their territory and act accordingly. Like in just about any situation use common sense.

While on my 09 hike I saw one very small black bear run across the trail. It was more interested in putting distance between us then anything else.

The following is copied From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

However, according to Stephen Herrero in his Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance, 23 people were killed by black bears from 1900 to 1980. The number of black bear attacks on humans is higher than those of the brown bear, though this is largely because the black species outnumbers the brown rather than them being more aggressive.

Compared to brown bear attacks, violent encounters with black bears rarely lead to serious injury. However, the majority of black bear attacks tend to be motivated by hunger rather than territoriality, and thus victims have a higher probability of surviving by fighting back rather than submitting. Unlike grizzlies, female black bears do not display the same level of protectiveness to their cubs, and seldom attack humans in their vicinity.[41] The worst recorded fatality incident occurred in May 1978, in which a black bear killed three teenagers who were fishing in Algonquin Park in Canada.[76] The majority of attacks happened in national parks, usually near campgrounds, where the bears had become habituated to human contact and food.[41] 1,028 incidences of black bears acting aggressively toward people, 107 of which resulted in injury, were recorded from 1964 to 1976 in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and occurred mainly in tourist hotspots where people regularly fed the bears handouts.
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Old 04-24-2012, 07:54 PM
Del Q Del Q is offline
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I count myself as being lucky with the bears and other "critters" I have seen on the AT. Hang my food as much from the bears as from other stalkers at night..........the only thing that I keep in my tent is my "hooch" they are NOT going to get my Whisky!
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Old 04-27-2012, 10:11 AM
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slowpace slowpace is offline
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I have been blessed to have seen 6 six bears so far on the AT in Ga and NC. Never had a problem with them are my food. I always hang my food bag. Unless you hike with Mumbles and Dmax you most likely will not have any problems either. The Mumbles and Dmax thing... you just had to be there.
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Springer MT. Ga. to Clingmans Dome Nc
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Old 05-08-2012, 01:07 PM
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whisperingwind whisperingwind is offline
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I saw a bear when I was near Pen-Mar. We were both caught off guard. He turned back the way he came, and I started hiking back the way I just came. As a wild estimated guess, we were probably about 15 to 20 yards apart.

I know they have a strong sense of smell, but did my hiking stink blend in so well that he didnt smell me from a mile away?

I have also heard that their hearing isn't all that great. I don't know if it's true or not, I didn't try to start a conversation with him.

All I do know is, every hair on my body stood on end, and i was shaking....
A bad day of hiking, is better than a good day at work.
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Old 05-08-2012, 11:22 PM
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Hometown Hometown is offline
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Originally Posted by Irishkidcop View Post
What does everyone think about the bears??? Are they something I need to worry about???
Seeing a bear in the wild is always awesome and frightening to me. But it is really cool and a great rush! I have literally seen dozens of them over the years. I just about see one every time I go hiking in the Smokeys and I hike there frequently.

Usually they do exactly what you want them to, they see you and crash off in the opposite direction, unless there are cubs involved and mama wants to scare you away. Give them a wide berth in this situation (this happened to me in the Shenandoahs during my thru). I came around a corner and there was mama and two cubs climbing a tree. She even faked "charged" me like you see them do on the NatGeo shows. She was telling me that I was too close! I backed off and gave her time to get her cubs rounded up!

I had one in my camp years ago in Standing Indian who was a "problem" bear and not afraid of anything. This one raided my camp twice in one night, scaring the heck out of me. When I tried to make noise to scare it off, it actually growled at me, yikes!

Another one that bothered me was one that I ran into during my thru in Mass. of all places. I had missed the trail somehow and climbed to the top of a mountain on the wrong trail. Coming back down to find the AT I encountered a young bear in the middle of the trail and he just stared at me. He was not frightened and was not impressed by me in any way. I ended up going way around him and then I became paranoid that he was following me. Of course he wasn't.

I say respect them, follow the rules, and use your trail smarts. Look forward to these chance encounters, after all isn't that why you are out in the wild and not at home sitting on the couch?

Me, I'm hoping to see Sasquatch!
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Old 05-09-2012, 12:55 PM
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dmax dmax is offline
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We're still having one hitting my trashcan everynight. Does anybody know what I could put in the can to keep them away? I was thinking maybe ammonia? I would like to scare it off before it gets shot. ... Maybe I can hide Slowpace in the can. That would surely be enough to scare it away ..
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Old 05-12-2012, 07:26 PM
Del Q Del Q is offline
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So, you might think that this is BS bit its not..........I was at the Doyle the other night, typical drill, tired, small blisters from PA cold beer, killer burger............some shots of whiskey, a black bear walks in with a food bag and ..................
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Old 05-14-2012, 12:16 PM
rambler rambler is offline
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Guess what. You will see a black bear while you are standing on the AT. At Bear Mountain, NY, the trail goes right through the Trailside and Wildlife Center and according to the trusty Thru-Hikers Handbook, (2010 edition), the lowest point of the entire AT, 124', is in front of the black bear exhibit. (p. 63) The bear is in his outdoor pen area, but if you plan your camera frame carefully viewers will never know. You can tell them you saw the bear in your photo while you were standing right on the trail.

I might have been in that museum that I read that there are more bears in New Jersey than in any other state along the AT.

Arriving at a shelter in the Shenandoahs, I was told I had missed seeing a bear by 5 minutes. The next day another hiker told me she see had seen 14 bears. Another reported being awoken in the night at a shelter in the Smokies by a bear who was pounding away at the wire that held the food bags up in the tree cables hoping a bag would fall. So, take care to tie on your bags tightly! Sadly, I never saw a bear on the AT.

I spent a whole summer working and hiking in Glacier NP and never saw a grizzly. Finally, a few summers ago, I saw a bear in Yosemite that was trying to get away from me as quickly as possible.
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