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Thread: Bear-safe food storage in sheep country?

  1. #1

    Default Bear-safe food storage in sheep country?

    In all the threads I've read about sheep hunting here, I haven't seen anyone mention how they deal -- if at all -- with keeping their food from causing bear issues. I also haven't seen bearproof canisters on any gear lists (even though they're required by law for backcountry hiking in some places). They certainly add a lot more weight than you'd like.

    Also, in all the tips I've seen about keeping food safe from bears, I haven't seen anything about what to do when you're way up above treeline and don't have trees around to hang things in.

    So, what do you do when hunting up in the alpine tundra? Just carry well-sealed food, burn your trash, and not worry about it? Store your food 100+ yards from the tent every night?
    Jason
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    Member duckslayer56's Avatar
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    my plan is to hang my food from a tree, and carry around a few days worth. Then resupply as needed from my stash.
    Some people call it sky busting... I call it optimism
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    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    I have never been anywhere that requires me to store my food in bear safe containers?

    I also put my food in my tent at night and set it a few feet away from my tent during the day. The key for me is hunting sheep were I can hunt bears.

    Even when I am below treeline I have just kept a clean camp and not worried about it. Its been working for 38 years so something must be right.

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    Member oakman's Avatar
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    The areas that I have hunted sheep haven't had trees that I could hang food from. I have had really good luck finding rock faces that I can lower food from so it isn't accessible from below. All you need is a dry bag and some 550 cord. To get at your food, you just go up to the top and reel it in or lower it to the bottom. Get out food for the next day and you're set.

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    Quote Originally Posted by broncoformudv View Post
    I have never been anywhere that requires me to store my food in bear safe containers?
    The National park Service requires the use of a hard-sided BRFC (Bear Resistant Food Cache) when hiking in the back country of any national park. Most notably, the NPS loans out the Bear Keg (http://www.rei.com/product/624081/ga...tant-container) and Bear Vault. (http://www.rei.com/product/768902/be...food-container) No one that i know uses them outside of the NPS system because it's like carrying a huge brick on your back. Not because it's terribly heavy, but because it's hard sided, it takes up tons of space in your pack and, once it's empty, it's still the same size as it was when it was full. However, they're the most bear resistant container out there. I'll never buy one.

    I use an UrSack and I love it! (http://ursack.com/) It's a bear proof food container made from flexible Spectra fabric with a Spectra tie cord closure. It's light weight, compact, and flexible, so you can compress it as you empty it. Mine was the same price as the Bear Keg at REI. Check out the website and look at the "field tests" and "bear tests videos." You'll see what I mean.

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    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FL2AK-Old Town View Post
    The National park Service requires the use of a hard-sided BRFC (Bear Resistant Food Cache) when hiking in the back country of any national park. Most notably, the NPS loans out the Bear Keg (http://www.rei.com/product/624081/ga...tant-container) and Bear Vault. (http://www.rei.com/product/768902/be...food-container) No one that i know uses them outside of the NPS system because it's like carrying a huge brick on your back. Not because it's terribly heavy, but because it's hard sided, it takes up tons of space in your pack and, once it's empty, it's still the same size as it was when it was full. However, they're the most bear resistant container out there. I'll never buy one.

    I use an UrSack and I love it! (http://ursack.com/) It's a bear proof food container made from flexible Spectra fabric with a Spectra tie cord closure. It's light weight, compact, and flexible, so you can compress it as you empty it. Mine was the same price as the Bear Keg at REI. Check out the website and look at the "field tests" and "bear tests videos." You'll see what I mean.
    Seen the bear keg before and had heard that about national parks, guess that is one more reason why I don't go hiking in them. Plenty of public land in Alaska that I can access and not deal with silly rules on.

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by broncoformudv View Post
    Seen the bear keg before and had heard that about national parks, guess that is one more reason why I don't go hiking in them. Plenty of public land in Alaska that I can access and not deal with silly rules on.
    Oh yeah....and don't forget to crap in a bag and carry it home with you.......
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Premium Member Wyo2AK's Avatar
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    If hunting from a base camp where I have the option of leaving some food there I'd try to get it out of reach from bears. When on the move though I generally don't worry about it and just keep it in/near my tent at night and in my pack during the day. When bow hunting the chugach a couple years ago I left my food bag outside the tent an piled a bunch of shale on it so that if a bear started digging around I would hear it and could go run it off. It took me a full day to hike into that country an i wasnt going to let a bear eat all my food. Hunting makes me hungry!

    This year my base camp is going to have some trees around so I'll be able to hang some food. But if/when I spike out I'll probably just keep it with me and keep a clean camp.

    Bear proof canisters are funny.


    Cheers,
    Rich
    Pursue happiness with diligence.

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    Premium Member Wyo2AK's Avatar
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    As for keeping your food 100 yards from camp- what are you going to do on day 2 of your 10 day hunt when you wake up and find that a bear ate all your food while you slept blissfully a football field away?


    Cheers,
    Rich
    Pursue happiness with diligence.

  10. #10

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    Speaking of food. Do most of you experience sheep hunters take one or two Mountain House complete with pouch to be re-used and then place the rest of your MH in Ziploc bags to save bulk? Or is it better to place them all in Ziploc bags and use your titanium pot? Simple question I know, but I hate those crinkly pouches that don't pack well and don't burn well either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wyo2AK View Post
    As for keeping your food 100 yards from camp- what are you going to do on day 2 of your 10 day hunt when you wake up and find that a bear ate all your food while you slept blissfully a football field away?


    Cheers,
    Rich
    +1.....dont feed the Bears. I never leave my food anywhere I cant see it at night. Its usually right outside my tent also regardless of where I am hunting... Wouldnt want to have to rely on berrys for a ten day hunt..

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boud'arc View Post
    Speaking of food. Do most of you experience sheep hunters take one or two Mountain House complete with pouch to be re-used and then place the rest of your MH in Ziploc bags to save bulk? Or is it better to place them all in Ziploc bags and use your titanium pot? Simple question I know, but I hate those crinkly pouches that don't pack well and don't burn well either.
    some guys take them out of the pack but I dont bother. I have a couple of full size ziplocks in my pack and when Im done eating a mountain house it flattens out and fits nicely in a ziplock,I can usually fit quite a few in a zip lock...

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    Agreed, I try to hunt where the sheep seasons overlap with bear. It sucked when 20 was sept 1 for bear and sheep august 10. Now I keep food 50 yards away a straight shot from the tent door so I can make the shot in the dark with my headlamp. One sheep hunt along a glacier with no trees in sight in the Wrangells we saw 8 grizzlies (2 were cubs). For some reason it was a bear highway. I have had food in my tent years ago but not anymore. Also a guy just told me his tent was ruined by groundsquirrels so another reason to not leave the food there. I had a groundsquirrel eat into my stash at the pickup strip. He then started on the sheep cape which proved fatal for him.... Good point about what to do if a bear stole your food.
    I come home with an honestly earned feeling that something good has taken place. It makes no difference whether I got anything, it has to do with how the day was spent. Fred Bear

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    Member Yellowknife's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wyo2AK View Post
    As for keeping your food 100 yards from camp- what are you going to do on day 2 of your 10 day hunt when you wake up and find that a bear ate all your food while you slept blissfully a football field away?


    Cheers,
    Rich
    Same here. Food stays either in the vestibule or somewhere I can defend it from the tent door with a rifle.

    As far as re-packing MH meals, I've given it some thought, but thus far haven't attempted it. Would be interested if somebody had a good system, but there are also advantages to being able to throw the unused ones back in the gear closet at the end of the trip and know they are going to still be good next season.

    Yk

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sollybug View Post
    Agreed, I try to hunt where the sheep seasons overlap with bear. It sucked when 20 was sept 1 for bear and sheep august 10. Now I keep food 50 yards away a straight shot from the tent door so I can make the shot in the dark with my headlamp. One sheep hunt along a glacier with no trees in sight in the Wrangells we saw 8 grizzlies (2 were cubs). For some reason it was a bear highway. I have had food in my tent years ago but not anymore. Also a guy just told me his tent was ruined by groundsquirrels so another reason to not leave the food there. I had a groundsquirrel eat into my stash at the pickup strip. He then started on the sheep cape which proved fatal for him.... Good point about what to do if a bear stole your food.

    yeah those Parka squirrels are wayyyy worse then the bears... had more then one hunter leave a candy bar in the tent and forget to zip up the tent and those little buggers create havoc....nothin like sleeping in rodent crap..

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    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bear View Post
    some guys take them out of the pack but I dont bother. I have a couple of full size ziplocks in my pack and when Im done eating a mountain house it flattens out and fits nicely in a ziplock,I can usually fit quite a few in a zip lock...
    You must have looked in my pack after one of my trips! Forget making that stuff in my pot and having to clean it afterwards, trying to get the chili mac cheese off my spoon is bad enough.

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    clean what....I have not washed my cup spoon or pot in at least 5 years..lol at some poing the stuff just crusts up sooo bad it just flakes off...

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    I use an electo bear guard fence for base camp and so far have been able to haul in a rough tote to leave at the strip for food. On spike outs it all stays in the pack or tent in original packaging till ready to eat.

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    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bear View Post
    clean what....I have not washed my cup spoon or pot in at least 5 years..lol at some poing the stuff just crusts up sooo bad it just flakes off...
    Staring at the cheese smear while I stir my drinks drives me nuts for some reason. Guess I have a little OCD in me somewhere.

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    Premium Member Wyo2AK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yellowknife View Post
    As far as re-packing MH meals, I've given it some thought, but thus far haven't attempted it. Would be interested if somebody had a good system, but there are also advantages to being able to throw the unused ones back in the gear closet at the end of the trip and know they are going to still be good next season.

    Yk
    yep- that sums up my thoughts on the matter.

    I don't leave food in the tent If I'm not there to defend it. Bears or squirrels. Last year in the talkeetnas I stashed a food bag in some rocks during a day hunt from camp. Ground squirrels chewed into it and went straight for my bag of Snickers. Man I was pissed. Shows they have good taste though. Haha.


    Cheers,
    Rich
    Pursue happiness with diligence.

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