Bears can be scary. The cubs are cute and most of like to see them when they are at the zoo but that is about as close as we like them to get. As we enjoy bears from a distance, we also like to go camping and know that our campgrounds attract all kinds of animals. Bears can smell foods from a mile away. Their sense of smell is estimated to be more than seven times stronger than that of dogs! Luckily there are ways to keep them away. We can purchase cooler accessories to keep them out, for example.
Ways to keep bears away from your campground.
- Be careful about where you store your food. If your campground offers it, place your food in metal food locker. If you can keep your food in a cabin, that is a great option as well. If neither of these options are possible, make sure you have cooler accessories that make it bear proof. A container is classified as being “bear proof” if it has sustained contact with one of the animals for 60 minutes or more without being breached. Do not keep any food within 100 yards of where you plan to sleep.
- Be careful when you handle your food. Being careful about your food means you have to be careful when you cook it and eat it. Just as you keep your food 100 yards from where you sleep, do not cook less than 100 yards from where you sleep. Change your clothes after you cook and eat. Keep those clothes away from your sleeping spot. Do not bring any food into your tend and make sure there is nothing in anyone;s backpack. Bears love to forage through tents and backpacks. Anything with a strong scent, think candies or candles, can attract wildlife.
- Leave the bacon at home! Strong smelling foods like bacon can attract wildlife. If the smell of the food cooking makes you take notice, it is doing the same thing for bears and other animals.
- Mind your trash! Just as the food you are going to eat will attract animals, so will the food you throw away. Just as you can get cooler accessories to keep animals out, you can make trash containers unaccessible to local wildlife. Remember, too, to leave the campground at least as clean as you found it.
When looking at keeping animals away from your campground, consider some of your activities. If you are planning to go hunting to go hunting or fishing, the bait you use to catch fish, the fish or game that you get, will also attract animals so you need to find a way to store that. If you cannot secure it the way you secure your food, consider a bear hang. Hang a rope between two trees and hang a sealed pack with what you want to protect from it. This should be at least 12 feet above the ground.