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By all means take any precautions you'd like. Feel free to bring blue barrel, hang it 40 feet in a tree on an island away from camp with 3 armed guards. If that makes your trip more enjoyable then please do so.

The thing to keep in mind is that there are alot of risks in the BWCA and you need to keep them appropriately prioritized.

Number 1 threat is drowning. If you bring a firearm for bear protection and you don't wear your PFD at all times on the water then your risk assesment is screwed up and needs to be reevaluated.

You are also more likely to shoot yourself or someone in your party while carrying around a loaded gun for a week than you are to encounter an aggressive bear. When prevention is more risky than the initial threat then your risk evaluation is screwed up again.

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By all means take any precautions you'd like. Feel free to bring blue barrel, hang it 40 feet in a tree on an island away from camp with 3 armed guards. If that makes your trip more enjoyable then please do so.

The thing to keep in mind is that there are alot of risks in the BWCA and you need to keep them appropriately prioritized.

Number 1 threat is drowning. If you bring a firearm for bear protection and you don't wear your PFD at all times on the water then your risk assesment is screwed up and needs to be reevaluated.

You are also more likely to shoot yourself or someone in your party while carrying around a loaded gun for a week than you are to encounter an aggressive bear. When prevention is more risky than the initial threat then your risk evaluation is screwed up again.

The first three paragraphs are pretty much what I said, just with more negativity. Not sure why people feel the need to act that way.

The last paragraph is dead wrong (must get your 'facts' from the Brady campaign), and is exactly the mentality I was talking about regarding guns. Again, for the logically challenged, guns are not inherently dangerous. They don't just go off.

Might be time to move this thread to Sillytown if that's how its going to be...

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No guns don't just go off but gun accidents do happen, even to experienced gun owners. So based on that I'm going to have to disagree that my last point is dead wrong.

The risk of an accidental discharge is low for a knowledgeable and careful person but my point was that an accidental discharge is still possible because accidents do happen. And the risk of an accidental discharge is still higher than the risk of being mauled by a black bear. Considering I'm unaware of any bear attacks ever to occur in the BWCA and every single year we hear numerous reports of hunters (experienced gun owners) accidentally shooting themselves while out in the field. Either while walking trails, climbing in and out of stands, or simply loading or unloading their gun.

If you disagree and you think the risk of an accidental discharge of a firearm is ABSOLUTE ZERO and you think that a gun owner never makes a mistake then I'm not sure what to tell you. The fact of the matter is that it happens far more often than it should where as bear attacks are so rare in MN that I'm not even sure you could put a reasonable probability to it.

And since any sort of negativity related to a gun topic around here usually gets you labeled pretty quickly here as being anti gun, I feel like I should add that I am in fact not anti-gun. I'm a gun owner myself and have no problem with gun ownership and responsibly exercising your right to bare arms. So this is not an anti gun rant in any way. Its just odds/probabilities based on events that have previously occurred.

I'll start looking for this thread in silly town shortly.

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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.

Thank you.

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Bear attacks have happened in the BWCA...http://www.bearstudy.org/website/images/stories/Publications/BWCAW_Bear_Attacks_of_1987.pdf

No guns don't just go off but gun accidents do happen, even to experienced gun owners. So based on that I'm going to have to disagree that my last point is dead wrong.

The risk of an accidental discharge is low for a knowledgeable and careful person but my point was that an accidental discharge is still possible because accidents do happen. And the risk of an accidental discharge is still higher than the risk of being mauled by a black bear. Considering I'm unaware of any bear attacks ever to occur in the BWCA and every single year we hear numerous reports of hunters (experienced gun owners) accidentally shooting themselves while out in the field. Either while walking trails, climbing in and out of stands, or simply loading or unloading their gun.

If you disagree and you think the risk of an accidental discharge of a firearm is ABSOLUTE ZERO and you think that a gun owner never makes a mistake then I'm not sure what to tell you. The fact of the matter is that it happens far more often than it should where as bear attacks are so rare in MN that I'm not even sure you could put a reasonable probability to it.

And since any sort of negativity related to a gun topic around here usually gets you labeled pretty quickly here as being anti gun, I feel like I should add that I am in fact not anti-gun. I'm a gun owner myself and have no problem with gun ownership and responsibly exercising your right to bare arms. So this is not an anti gun rant in any way. Its just odds/probabilities based on events that have previously occurred.

I'll start looking for this thread in silly town shortly.

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I remember when that happened but I was sketchy on the details. Thanks for the link, it was a good read.

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No guns don't just go off but gun accidents do happen, even to experienced gun owners. So based on that I'm going to have to disagree that my last point is dead wrong.

The risk of an accidental discharge is low for a knowledgeable and careful person but my point was that an accidental discharge is still possible because accidents do happen. And the risk of an accidental discharge is still higher than the risk of being mauled by a black bear. Considering I'm unaware of any bear attacks ever to occur in the BWCA and every single year we hear numerous reports of hunters (experienced gun owners) accidentally shooting themselves while out in the field. Either while walking trails, climbing in and out of stands, or simply loading or unloading their gun.

If you disagree and you think the risk of an accidental discharge of a firearm is ABSOLUTE ZERO and you think that a gun owner never makes a mistake then I'm not sure what to tell you. The fact of the matter is that it happens far more often than it should where as bear attacks are so rare in MN that I'm not even sure you could put a reasonable probability to it.

Thank you for responding respectfully. When a gun goes off it is no accident, someone didn't follow a cardinal rule of gun handling. And to throw hundreds of thousands more people into the statistical mix that are not related is not valid. We are talking about camping in the BW not hunting across the state. Not to mention that carrying longarms through hill and dale is not the same as carrying a holstered handgun in camp. Plus, guns are good tools to have for many other reasons than just bear protection, so a one-to-one comparison is not fair.

I never said anything we are talking about has zero risk. Everything we do has some risk, we all know that. Bottom line is neither of the things we are talking about, carrying guns or camping with bears, is more likely to kill you than the other, and far lees likely than driving to your hunting spot or camping trip. Its all about personal comfort level.

The OP asked us what he should bring, if anything, while camping in the BW. We all have opinions based on some facts and some feelings. There is no right or wrong answer, and only he can make the ultimate choice. My advice is this: keep a clean camp, do use the blue barrels (two fit perfectly in a Duluth pack, and they are nice to have even without bears in mind), and keep all food inside them. Sure, many people probably get away with having food in their tents, or leaving garbage out at night, but they are probably the ones who don't unload their guns when they climb a tree or cross a fence. smile

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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.

Exactly. In my opinion, if you haven't had a bear get your food pack stashed in the woods, you probably haven't had a bear near your camp. Doesn't mean your method works. No disrespect to Cliff but I think he's wrong on this. Try stashing your pack in a known bear problem area like Ensign. My blue barrel isn't bear proof, but it is rodent proof. Like someone else stated, having your food in camp makes it easy to grab snacks when you want them. Keep a clean camp and keep all food out of your tent.

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Put food in a thick blue barrel that makes it bear resistant (not proof) with fewer smells. Worry about important things like falling on rocks, drowning, hypothermia and heart attack signs (bringing asprin). Bears are not that big of a deal so let's concentrate on large real problems not minor nuicances.

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Put food in a thick blue barrel that makes it bear resistant (not proof) with fewer smells. Worry about important things like falling on rocks, drowning, hypothermia and heart attack signs (bringing asprin). Bears are not that big of a deal so let's concentrate on large real problems not minor nuicances.

Well put.

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I camped on Ensign about 100 times in the 60's to 80's and it was prone to having bear problems. They even warned you about the problems when getting your permit. I would say we had bears in our camp about 25% of the trips, and I never lost any food. We always took our food pack with us when we went fishing, and hung it up in a tree at night. One time we left the food pack on the ground under the canoe due to arriving at camp in the dark. We were awaken a few hours later to a bear going after the food. My friend fired his .22 pistol in the air and the bear never flinched. Then to my surprise, my other friend jumped out of the tent and ran at the bear yelling. Luckily for him, the bear ran away. We then hung the pack in the tree and didn't have any further problems that evening. The next day we saw a bear in our camp while we were out fishing. When we returned to camp, we discovered that he helped himself to our pitcher of kool-aid.

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I camped on Ensign about 100 times in the 60's to 80's and it was prone to having bear problems. They even warned you about the problems when getting your permit. I would say we had bears in our camp about 25% of the trips, and I never lost any food. We always took our food pack with us when we went fishing, and hung it up in a tree at night. One time we left the food pack on the ground under the canoe due to arriving at camp in the dark. We were awaken a few hours later to a bear going after the food. My friend fired his .22 pistol in the air and the bear never flinched. Then to my surprise, my other friend jumped out of the tent and ran at the bear yelling. Luckily for him, the bear ran away. We then hung the pack in the tree and didn't have any further problems that evening. The next day we saw a bear in our camp while we were out fishing. When we returned to camp, we discovered that he helped himself to our pitcher of kool-aid.

So, what are the odds that those bears would have found your food if you had stashed the pack in the woods as Cliff swears by? You did the right thing in taking your food fishing with you. I don't think I would even leave my blue barrel at camp on that lake. I wouldn't suggest putting your food under your canoe though. That's your ride home.

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Good point, liebs.

I'm curious if anyone has ever had a pack stolen while it's been stashed....I haven't, but then I've never had any real bear problems. I can't say I've ever heard of a bear getting a stashed pack, but that doesn't necessarily mean much, as I assume the majority of people hang their packs, so the odds of me hearing about a bear getting a stashed pack would be pretty low.

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"Stashing" a pack? Understand this. The Eagle will see a leaf fall, a deer will hear a leaf fall but only the bear smells the leaf fall. You are hiding nothing from a bears nose. Nothing.

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As stated earlier, I (we) dont stash or hang packs. We'll just take our chances.

But, I do agree that a bear is going to smell your pack if its close enough, and it doesn't matter if its stashed or not.

The only benefit of stashing that I can see is....when the bear eats all your food, at least it wont be close to you.

That being said, we've brought guns a few times, not in a while though. My brother in law brought one in this year. On their way out, they came across the LEOs at a portage (forest service I'm guessing). They told them they had a gun with (just to put it out there, so there weren't any surprises). They asked to see the gun, which he then presented to them. So he pulls out his giant 44 mag. The LEOs were flabbergasted and asked the typical question of "what are you afraid of?" To which he of course answered "nothing now". Then he went on to tell them how he normally works in Alaska out in the sticks and that's what they normally carry (+ at least one in each work group will have a 12ga). They got the idea and off they went.

I just got a chuckle out of the story when I heard it, thought I'd pass it along.

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Yeah, I understand that bears have an amazing sense of smell. I can just honestly say that I've never heard of any of them finding a "stashed" pack. I know it seems obvious that they'd find one, but I just haven't heard of it happening. I'm sure it's happened, but...

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I don't mean to revive a dead thread, but as someone who's split on the stash vs hang controversy, I'm actually curious if anyone has had or has heard of someone having a stashed pack "stolen" by a bear. I haven't heard of it happening (and it's never happened to me), but that doesn't mean squat since most people don't stash packs, and lots of people have been BWCAing for years without having a bear get a pack that's up in a tree.

Again, not trying to be controversial, but I'm curious about the "failure rate" of stashed packs.

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