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[pct-l] Re: bear warning/info

     Tom, I hope  nobody gets the impression from your post that I've
ever espoused "stealth" camping, or anything but the strictest methods of
food managing, yipes. Anyway, I'm gonna try to cover all your posts and
address Jim Serio's query too, which makes this long-g-g: (Sorry for the
prissy tone; when people are taling about maimings etc, it's hard to Post
Lite, sigh.)

On Tue, 27 Apr 1999 23:10:43 -0700 reynolds@ilan.com writes:
> the information I have requires all hikers to use "bear box 
>or bear canister" in certain areas. You cannot bear bag or sleep with
>your  food. 

   I th-i-nk your information is probably the "Bear Warning and Emergency
Storage Restrictions" I posted to the list last year, Tom - right? For
who missed it: [the underlining and caps are theirs]
- - - - - - - - -  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Due to local _uncharacteristic_  aggressive black bear behavior,
backpackers are now required to use either portable bear-proof food
canisters or food boxes in the following area:
    _Bubbs Creek drainage upstream of Sphinx Creek_
   (from Sphinx Cr. confluence through Junction and Vidette
   Meadows, and north throughKearsarge/Bullfrog and Charlotte
   Lakes Basins, to and including Kearsarge and Glen Passes,
    and south through Center Basin and east Lake, to and
    including Forester Pass.)

    You must store ALL food, garbage and odorous items in a bear-proof
    canister or in a bear-proof box (see locations mapped below)
    For your safety, sleep well away (100 yeards if possible) from food
    canisters and boxes. Do not try to harass females with cubs or two
    adult bears travelling together. Several campers have been scratched 
               or bitten recently when they tried to defend food not
     in bear-proof boxes or canisters.

                                      TO A RANGER.
These regulations help decrease the chance of personal injury or property
damage. However, bear damage & confrontations are still possible, even
when all guidelines are followed. 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - --  - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - -  -
- --  - - - --  - - -

    To those not familiar with Sierra Nevada hot-spots <g> the area
constitutes the entirety of the popular "Rae Lakes Loop"hike - probably
second only to the Mt Whitney Trail in first-Sierra-visit popularity. The
TH most often used is from Roads' End in Kings Canyon, but the Kearsarge
Pass Trail is also a favorite entry point for the hike, and is
heavily-trafficked because of its reputation as the easiest High Sierra
Pass. Warning signs and special restrictions have existed on the
Kearsarge Pass trail for years.

     A couple months ago, I posted an account of the black bear "close
encounter" by one of the members of the party whose report to the FS
prompted the inclusion of Center Basin in the emergency restrictions.
     BTW, several of the aversion-techniques mentioned on this list have
been used on bears in the above area....

     Anyway, this is the only place so far in the Sierra that has such a
restriction, no?

>As for bears not snatching food from campers, I'm not so sure. The
>sierrawilderness post also implies that a hiker was indeed hurt due to
>"improperly stored food" another was hurt "protecting his food hang". 
>This sure implies REALLY agressive bears.

    If bears are snatching food from campers' hands, the campers are not
reporting it, is all I will say...<g> The bears in the area are extremely
habituated; the two cases you are probably referring to (Center Basin and
Bubbs Creek?) are cases of 1) a bear taking food from a pack lying on a
log _near_ a hiker, and 2) a hiker swiped for trying to re-take his food
from a bear. Apparently some people don't realize that bears react
defensively when hikers try to steal their food - live and learn, I
guess..... These (taking food and defensive swipes) are both quite
natural bear behaviors; the fact that bears have become habituated to
such human proximity is certainly worrisome and sad.

   As I've said over/over: Proper food storage and behavior toward
wildlife is of paramount importance in Bear Country particularly.
Bear-boxes/canisters are probably now the only 100% guaranteed method
along the John Muir Highway; correctly-done counterbalance works in less
heavily visited areas of the Sierra. Bear boxes along a trail are a
definite indicator that their are serious bear-problems, so the boxes are
canisters ought to be used, regulations or no. 

>As for "24 hour guard", how does anyone "guard" his food from bears? A
>bear is strong enough to take it

     Easy, no special equipment needed. One stands in actual possession
of one's food, so that the bear must rips-you-to-shreds to get it.<being
silly here> If a bear throws himself upon you, he is predating _you_, not
your Cajun Chicken Stir-fry or gorp.Being "sorta near" food, or asserting
verbally that it belongs to you doesn't count. Body language is the basic
human-to-animal communication medium. Didn't we have this conversation in
private e-mail last year? Bears _are_ strong, but I believe you may have
confused my e-mailed remarks to you about "predation"; now I wish I'd
kept my trap shut! <g>
     It's important to remember this, so you won't be tempted (like some
hikers who have read manuals about grizzly attacks) to toss your food or
pack toward a bear when you see one - under the mistaken impression a
bear-sighting is the same as an urban stick 'em up ("for heaven's sake,
Henry, give the man your wallet!") or an all-ut grizzly charge. Bears
certainly want your food always, and they'll take it *if given the
chance*, but they will not fight you for your food. Refusing to hand over
foodstuffs ("protecting it with your body") is not-at-all the same as
trying to regain foodstuffs already lost to a bear. 

(Jim, bears are naturally diurnal but will take unattended food anytime;
people have more "problems" at night because they leave food unattended
for long stretches at nightime and the bears have picked up on that. In
all this talk about aggressive bears, we're overlooking the fact that
most bears are quite wary of humans; it's so much easier for them to slip
into a campsite under the cover of night and snatch a stuffsack when
there's little risk of confrontation.)

   Like I said, if exaggerating perils encourages proper food-storage and
respect for wildlife, then maybe it's a good idea. OTOH, encouraging
hysteria tends to bring on outcries for bear-destruction - and then there
will be those hikers who won't "feel safe" without a gun, and...... There
doesn't seem to be one overall P.R. solution, does there? Not as long as
there are so many differing types of hiker mentality and backcountry

Also, could you guys not carbon-copy all your "bear" posts and e-mails to
each other to _me_? I see the posts obviously (and the e-mails are none
of my business); my mailbox is getting crowded with cross-postings.  TIA

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