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I know the BWCA is a wilderness, but if a fire grate and a latrine can be placed on each campsite why not put in a low profile camo colored bear proof boxes on each site. That would take care of bears haunting campsites and make finding a safe place to store food a lot simpler.

That is an excellent idea.

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]I know the BWCA is a wilderness, but if a fire grate and a latrine can be placed on each campsite why not put in a low profile camo colored bear proof boxes on each site. That would take care of bears haunting campsites and make finding a safe place to store food a lot simpler.

Ya, no problem. You guys gonna help carry these in???

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it's been awhile since i've been up there but i didn't have a problem with bears. i tossed a rope over a strong limb, far enough from the trunk and high enough to keep the bears away. years ago when we camped in Canada, my dad had this idea of putting moth balls in nylon stockings and hanging them accross the area of the peninsula we camped at. i dont know if that was the deal but we never had bear problems. all of our food was available for the taking. we did dig a hole for the coolers full of ice in the sand which worked. we also had old blankets that we would keep wet to put over coolers during the day that were exposed [beer coolers]. good luck.

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We just keep our food in camp, in Duluth packs, on the ground. And everyone's got some sort of food in their tents too I'm sure (I do).

No bears in the last 20 years, we'll see what happens in the future I guess.

Maybe we just smell bad and the bears aren't willing to bear it?

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We just keep our food in camp, in Duluth packs, on the ground. And everyone's got some sort of food in their tents too I'm sure (I do).

No bears in the last 20 years, we'll see what happens in the future I guess.

Maybe we just smell bad and the bears aren't willing to bear it?

same here...some of us are born lucky i guess!

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

This isn't Jellystone National Park. Bears in the BWCA aren't habituated to humans. As said they'll run the other way. I'm not buying it no matter what expert wrote it. If a bear didn't find a pack stashed in the woods it wouldn't have found it in your camp either.

Do whatever you have to do to get a good nights sleep I guess.

Red Squirrels and Whiskey Jacks on the other hand love an occupied campsite.

Black Bears attacks do happen but its rare and not from healthy bears. It would be an old, starving, and malnourished bear. In this case where your food pack is has little to do with it.

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Bears may not be habituated much to humans (though I've heard first-hand stories about bears that didn't show any fear of humans), but they'll become habituated to the sites where they've found food. The BWCA is the most heavily used "wilderness" area in the county....250,000 people use it each year. That's a lot of people. And that's a lot of high-energy food sitting in packs that bears learn pretty easily how to find and open.

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

I get that. What I'm saying is there aren't many instances of bears raiding camps.

Bears inside the BWCA still fear man and will avoid them. If a bear did make the connection of man and food what would be the first thing the bear would do. It wouldn't make a bee-line to camp. It would show some caution and circle camp. For that reason and IMO the food pack stashed in the woods is going to get hit. That is IF a bear comes around. As you can see by the replies that use this technique no bears hit the pack and no bears in camp. That only proves my point that it is rare to have a bear come around. I'd rather have my pack in camp in where I can run the bear off then have it take my food. If your not comfortable running off a bear then by all means leave your pack out on the perimeter but you can't hide scent from a bear.

After it finds the food pack whats to say it won't look for more after its done?

I've been all over the BWCA and spent plenty of nights there too.

Lived in a wall tent in Alaskan Bush for 3 years with Grizz as well.

If you want to attract bears that have fear of man, go stash your food away from camp.

Writers are experts at writing books. I'm giving you my take on bears.

We can agree to disagree.

Being holed up without firewood and flashlight at night with a bear in camp.

Where the food is at really doesn't matter. Back to the OP's question.

Maybe you'll sleep better with a can of pepper spray. smile

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i remember as a kid camping in the Ely area and the Gunflint the campgrounds got hit a lot with bears. didn't seem they were afraid of humans there at all. but in the boundary waters we realy didn't have that problem. i remember a young couple left to go into Ely while camping at the Fall Lake campground next to us. we heard some noise soon afterward from that site and sure enough a big bear was tearing up their tent. the food cooler was put in there. we scared it away but the damage was done.

i also got some old black and white pictures of a bear drinking out of a liter bottle of 7UP with the two paws just like a human gussling down a beer grin. anyway, i think bears in campgrounds, yes more prevlent. bears out in the bwca less prevlant to hit up on you. i think the pepper spray is a good idea, although i've had some run ins with bears on trout streams. they saw me and went on their way. however you never know. all it takes is that one time.

my greatest fear when i was in the boundary area or the trout streams was running into some cubs with mama nearby. well that never happened as far as i know. i had more fear of a moose actualy. good luck.

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Interesting differences in experience. To expound a little on my "luck"... I've camped along the Gunflint, in and out of the boundary waters for nearly 40 years, always kept our food packs, coolers, etc.. in camp, and have taken embarassingly little in the way of precautions against bears. Meaning none, really. Almost without exception we've been at wilderness campsites, some in and some out of the Bdub, so no "campground" bears" around, although as someone said, perhaps even a wild campsite COULD become known to bears in the area.

Add to this I have a cirlce of friends doing the same thing, with us and seperatly, and among us we've never had a single bear incident in a camp of ours.

May as well throw in 35 years of tent camping during bow and rifle season in north central MN. Again, semi-wilderness camp, not a "campsite" (other than our own every year) and again, zero effort to keep camp "bear proof".

I'd have to say no one in our party gives a second thought to bears here in MN.

Now, I've camped in Glacier, Alaska, on the divide in Wyoming, and I operate in a very different way in places where there are grizzleys. Those suckers will eat ya:)

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And everyone's got some sort of food in their tents too I'm sure (I do).

I hope its Minute Rice. grin

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Being holed up without firewood and flashlight at night with a bear in camp.

Where the food is at really doesn't matter.

But try telling that to the bear. grin

I gotta say, I had the distinct feeling it did matter.

Summer sausage, cheese, pita bread, cashews, etc, etc, etc,

I'll tell you this much ...

I don't think he stayed all night just to tease us.

He had a purpose.

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The problem with bears in the BWCAW is that they become accustomed to finding food at some of the campsites. I recall many many years ago camping on an Island and thinking we were OK since it was an island. Ha. Bears can swim and one showed up. Fortunately it didn't get all the food, just the pack with the luxury items. We had brought a reflector oven and the bear got the cake mix etc. Never got to use the oven.

On the same trip another campsite we had a bear knock down the aluminum dishes looking for peanut butter.

Wild bears aren't too much of a problem but those who have become used to finding an easy meal at some campsites can be. In Quetico one time we heard about a bear that had figured out that food could be found on one of the portages.

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portage bears are the worst, because you have to leave your food at some point... its like the riddle of getting the fox, the rabbit, and the lettuce across the lake (or whatever variation you grew up hearing)

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Wow just read through all of this mostly ignorant garbage... To all of you who dont respect an angry/hungry 500lb black bear,or a moose twice that size, pack of wolves and think they will ALWAYS just run away 100% of the time cuz you are a human are Crazy! You can continue to sit in cirlces, bang your pans (not pot) and throws rocks. Ill be carrying (or close) to a handgun (.45 cal plus) and pepper spray at all times possible. Call me what you want but these are wild animals people. YOU CANT JUST PREDICT THEIR BEHAVIOR! Also before you freak out I would only use these defensive methods if human life was threatened or great bodily harm was imminent. Better safe than sorry. Just cuz you claim their hasnt been an attack by a black bear in the bwca yet, does not mean it will not happen. Theres been plenty of bad black bear attacks all over the U.S. Remember this, a grizzly that follows you is usually just curious, a black bear that follows you is after you. To the guy that had the 500 lb bear pressing his face against the tent screen door, I couldnt even imagine how that felt being pretty much helpless at that time. Glad youre ok. I seriously love all these wild animals and seeing one is such a rare and special moment, but if one threatens me im going down fighting. Another thing people...it isnt just wild animals..this is as deep in the wilderness as you can get in MN. So people start to think rules dont apply to them. I really wish there was more law enforement patrolling but that is hard to do out of canoes and just from the air. The shooting incident a couple years ago at innocent canoers was terrible and i would be returning fire if that was me. Ive also heard stories from my buddies up near the border lakes about running into people with stuffed backpacks/facemasks and ak 47's walking the trails into the states. They reported this days later cuz they didnt have phone service then, but it was way too late. One more thing thing to all you is to quit fighting the phone towers on bwca edges, if it saves one life it will be worth it. If you dont like seeing the faint blinking lights go somewheres else or a little deeper in, this is also a great weather alert method when people know about huge storms coming in. Down Deep had the best comment of all on this post. For all the money we pay just to enter this part of the forest they should use some of it to install low profile bear proof containers located close but out of all the campsite. This would be a big project but hey it creates jobs in this terrible economy and dont even get me started on that. Didnt mean to offend anybody but dont be so quick to just assure people they are 100% safe without any means of protection out there. Handguns laws and licenses still apply in the bwca. BE SAFE PEOPLE! Ill be using my 2nd ammendment rights in this neck of the woods. I was up there recently and the mosquito's were the most dangerous thing up there. ha absolutely insane. not very enjoyable. had to take cover in the tent at sundown each night cuz of the swarms of mosquitos.

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We have had 3 black bear attacks in the last 3 weeks here in AZ. All happened to campers sleeping in their tents. They first thought it was the same bear, did DNA from the victims (no deaths) to match the bears when they caught them. They trapped 2 bears last week but they did not match the samples taken. The bears were destroyed for other reasons. I think if you leave your trash laying around, you can expect friends to visit during the night.

Had a buddy in a truck camper. Made dinner, the sink drained under the truck. Rinsed out pans and went to sleep. He had a small trailer connected to the truck. Was awakend by something rocking the truck. Grabbed his.45 slung open the door, with flashlight in hand, only to find a horse standing in his trailer, loaded up and ready to go. Best darn laugh i have had yet.

Moral to the story, he thought it was a bear as we were in bear country and had spotted several signs of a bear close by.

Clean up and be aware.

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Lol, pikepatroller. I guess if you're so afraid of a moose, a pack of wolves, and/or a bear that you need to carry both a .45 and some bear spray, I can't imagine how terrified you are of all the other things that are much more dangerous than these critters. Might a bear attack? Of course. I don't see anyone saying otherwise.....Although if you do get a bear in camp, just start ranting like that and it'll probably just head for the hills. smile

About bears in camp: As far as I know, bears will "get lucky" in one camp--either because they'll get a food pack, or someone will leave fish guts nearby, or someone will dump the leftover food in the fire grate--and then they'll come back to that camp because they found food there before. You're right, Surface Tension, about the very low odds of running into a bear...there are LOTS of campsites, and most are clean. But in the last few years Disappointment, Malberg, and Lower Basswood Falls have all had serious bear problems. I guess "the odds" really depend on what happened before you got to the campsite.

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Geez, PikePatroller step out of the ring. Any number of reasons bears come into a campsite - any number of solutions to the problem. No need to get all worked up - we're here to talk about things, not call each other names.

Play nice or stay away. Most are here to help. Are you?

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Wow just read through all of this mostly ignorant garbage... To all of you who dont respect an angry/hungry 500lb black bear,or a moose twice that size, pack of wolves and think they will ALWAYS just run away 100% of the time cuz you are a human are Crazy! You hippies can continue to sit in cirlces, bang your pans (not pot) and throws rocks. Ill be carrying (or close) to a handgun (.45 cal plus) and pepper spray at all times possible. Call me what you want but these are wild animals people. YOU CANT JUST PREDICT THEIR BEHAVIOR! Also before you freak out I would only use these defensive methods if human life was threatened or great bodily harm was imminent. Better safe than sorry. Just cuz you claim their hasnt been an attack by a black bear in the bwca yet, does not mean it will not happen. Theres been plenty of bad black bear attacks all over the U.S. Remember this, a grizzly that follows you is usually just curious, a black bear that follows you is after you. To the guy that had the 500 lb bear pressing his face against the tent screen door, I couldnt even imagine how that felt being pretty much helpless at that time. Glad youre ok. I seriously love all these wild animals and seeing one is such a rare and special moment, but if one threatens me im going down fighting. Another thing people...it isnt just wild animals..this is as deep in the wilderness as you can get in MN. So people start to think rules dont apply to them. I really wish there was more law enforement patrolling but that is hard to do out of canoes and just from the air. The shooting incident a couple years ago at innocent canoers was terrible and i would be returning fire if that was me. Ive also heard stories from my buddies up near the border lakes about running into people with stuffed backpacks/facemasks and ak 47's walking the trails into the states. They reported this days later cuz they didnt have phone service then, but it was way too late. One more thing thing to all you hippies is to quit fighting the phone towers on bwca edges, if it saves one life it will be worth it. If you dont like seeing the faint blinking lights go somewheres else or a little deeper in, this is also a great weather alert method when people know about huge storms coming in. Down Deep had the best comment of all on this post. For all the money we pay just to enter this part of the forest they should use some of it to install low profile bear proof containers located close but out of all the campsite. This would be a big project but hey it creates jobs in this terrible economy and dont even get me started on that. Didnt mean to offend anybody but dont be so quick to just assure people they are 100% safe without any means of protection out there. Handguns laws and licenses still apply in the bwca. BE SAFE PEOPLE! Ill be using my 2nd ammendment rights in this neck of the woods. I was up there recently and the mosquito's were the most dangerous thing up there. ha absolutely insane. not very enjoyable. had to take cover in the tent at sundown each night cuz of the swarms of mosquitos.

That's some A+ trolling, 10/10 would read again

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We have had 3 black bear attacks in the last 3 weeks here in AZ. All happened to campers sleeping in their tents.

I'll wager all 3 previoiusly ate in and/or had food in the tent.

Maybe a couple Hersheys Kisses wrappers stashed in a side pouch.

Thats all it takes.

At that point, the tent is just another wrapper to the bear.

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the last one the chick was sleeping on a cot when the bear tore the side out of it and grabbed her. Beat her up but she did survive. Bet she won't go camping again.

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We have had 3 black bear attacks in the last 3 weeks here in AZ. All happened to campers sleeping in their tents. They first thought it was the same bear, did DNA from the victims (no deaths) to match the bears when they caught them. They trapped 2 bears last week but they did not match the samples taken. The bears were destroyed for other reasons. I think if you leave your trash laying around, you can expect friends to visit during the night.

Had a buddy in a truck camper. Made dinner, the sink drained under the truck. Rinsed out pans and went to sleep. He had a small trailer connected to the truck. Was awakend by something rocking the truck. Grabbed his.45 slung open the door, with flashlight in hand, only to find a horse standing in his trailer, loaded up and ready to go. Best darn laugh i have had yet.

Moral to the story, he thought it was a bear as we were in bear country and had spotted several signs of a bear close by.

Clean up and be aware.

Since when is AZ in the BWCA? Blacks do cause trouble...you can read plenty of accounts about it. But by and large, wilderness bears aren't out to eat ya.

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If it gives you peace of mind then by all means pack a gun as you will sleep better each night. For years my method was stashing my food pack on a rock island away from camp. I have spent almost 2 years of my life in the BWCA and it worked all but once, fortunately it was toward the end of the trip and not the beginning as the bear pretty much ate everything left in the food pack. I have occasionally hung the pack as well but have experienced problems with pesky red squirels that will chew a hole in your pack to get at the food. They can get at your pack quite easily and I have found the plastic barrel is the answer to this problem. My method now is if there is a tree which allows me to safely and easily hang the pack a good 15' to 20' in the air I use it otherwise we stash the pack on a rock island out in the lake some distance from camp. I look for a extremely small rock island of which there are many in the BWCA as larger islands usually have campsites and bears are habituated to food and campsites being linked. I think the plastic container helps contain some of the food odors and a small rock island is probably not where bears would typically look for food.

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My method now is if there is a tree which allows me to safely and easily hang the pack a good 15' to 20' in the air I use it otherwise we stash the pack on a rock island out in the lake some distance from camp. I look for a extremely small rock island of which there are many in the BWCA as larger islands usually have campsites and bears are habituated to food and campsites being linked.

Man that sounds like a lot of work. No casual snacks for you guys I guess. I'm pretty sure that wouldn't work for us. Someone is always munchin on something. Maybe it would help us lose some weight though. blush

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Traveler clearly it is not close but as a generality, black bears tend to be similar when looking for food etc. There are many stories from the north and the south about these issues and it really comes down to how the person takes care of their camp. Bears are not just going to come into camp to tear someone out of their tent. And a wilderness bear is not any different from a bear who live in the forest, are they? I guess since encounters only happen in the BWCA, i will refrain from posting because you are the boss.

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Another example of both 'sides' being mostly 'right'. Should we worry ourselves silly over being attacked? No, but anyone who thinks just because it hasn't happened to them yet so they are golden is probably just wishful thinking that it won't ever happen. Keeping a clean (not leaving scraps and garbage or other food in your tent or laying around) camp is probably what keeps 99% of folks safe. Putting your stuff on a rock island may be a bit much for some, but its no different than the gun thing, whatever works for you and makes you feel safer.

And anyone who calls someone a scaredy-cat for wanting to keep whatever protection they feel is necessary for themselves and their family just needs to be quiet. I have no patience for folks who look down on others for using guns as protection. What harm is there in carrying a pistol with you? It has nothing to do with being scared, its called being prepared and taking active control of your safety rather than relying on passive equipment or good luck to get you by. Anti-gun folks seem to think they just go off by themselves, but when used correctly (like any tool), they aren't any more dangerous than a hammer.

Bottom line, you are not the top of the food chain out in the woods. You are never 100% safe regardless, but better to get as close to it as possible...

Another thought, since most deaths in the BW are drownings, would you make fun of someone for wearing their PFD?

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