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Thread: gas cans and bears

  1. #1
    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    Default gas cans and bears

    How many of you have had bears bite your plastic fuel cans?

    I have had it happen twice now. Both times in the same spot. The bear just poke holes in the top corner each time. The first one the can sat in the same place as I left it and it had 4 tooth holes in it. The second one had two holes and it was knocked over. The first can was left all winter and had evaporated 90% of the fuel. The second one was set out last Friday afternoon and I picked it up on Monday and though it was laying on it's side it was 95% full.

    One of these days I am going to hike up into that steep valley and git me that bear!

    I have now fully learned that I won't trust my life on my extra fuel supply stash -that is for sure.

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    Oh man, that absolutely chaps me when they do that. I have had them nail them about 50% of the time I left them out......and I don't do it anymore.

    First time was for a work project, we established a fuel cache in March via snowmachine for a project that we helicoptered into on May 5 or so.....in Dillingham area so it's still basically winter and bears are just waking up.....and yet they rolled two 15's around and popped holes in them, lost 6 or so gallons of gas.

    Second time of note was moose season. We make long runs into the lake system above town so it's helpful to stash gas as you go. There are several small islands that no bear really has a reason to be on that my buddy swears in twenty years he's never had his gas messed with.....well, we bag two nice moose first day so after a day of meat prep and enjoying some nice weather we head down and leave the gas at the island because we are way overloaded due to the short trip. I volunteer to head up solo about ten days later to get the rest of our stuff and get the gas stashes. I head up, go fishing, camp out, generally have a great time, expecting that I have ten gallons waiting back at the island halfway home. I head down to the island, hunt around for my gas....find it 15 yards away with more than half of it missing and tooth marks in the middle. I pour what's left through a filter funnel and make it home on literally fumes. Swore I'd never do it again.

    So the next year .......I am all set to leave DLG for Juneau about three weeks after moose season, I am leaving my jet rig and truck there for future king and moosey adventures but have sold off most of my stuff, saving one black plastic 15-gal cubey (that costs almost $100 in that economic suck hole) so that I have some gas storage for longer trips upriver etc. Again this moose season, we fill up earlier than expected, are overloaded with gas and beer and food, and since this stash was closer to home again I volunteer to head up a little later for one last trip before moving and retrieve it and other's fuel. I get there and sure enough there are just two canine holes halfway up and again I have dumped fuel all over mother nature.

    My buddy still swears it's never happened to him, and his jug was lovingly untouched the second time I got bit, but I for one will never depend on such stashes and will attempt to put five gallon cans as high up in a tree as I can rope them. Between the dumped gas, and the loss of potentially expensive gas and containers, I find it not to be worth it.

    However, i once was highly entertained watching a two year old grab into a guy's boat, grab a bottle of 2-stroke oil (through the snaps in the guys canopy) as if he knew it was there, and then played with it until he got a mouthful.......then ran off like someone had swatted him hard on the nose.

  3. #3
    Member logman 49's Avatar
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    Often wondered what it is about bears and gas jugs. I've had that happen several times on the Stikene River. First time bears bit holes in the jug tipping it over, all of the fuel gone. Another time we tied it up in a tree 8 feet or so, came back down river and both jugs were on the ground, but there was still a few gallons in each jug, just enough to make it back to town.

  4. #4

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    We've seen it happen a lot. They seem to like the scent of it enough to take a bite, then leave. We only stash fuel in metal cans for this reason. Plastic cans are only for in camp and in the boat itself. Stashed fuel doesn't do much good if it gets chewed on and either dumped out or contaminated.

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Read that the plastic gives off a scent similar to an insect food source.
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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    Read that the plastic gives off a scent similar to an insect food source.
    I believe it! I have had gas cans, plastic sleds, and atv seats bit around the cabin.

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    Read that the plastic gives off a scent similar to an insect food source.
    Had a bear take new cans of Black Flag Wasp and Hornet Spray off the porch and thoroughly chew them up. Hard to tell what's gonna smell good to a bear.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullelkklr View Post
    How many of you have had bears bite your plastic fuel cans?
    I have a hunting partner that has had it happen a couple of times and I had a bear maul an empty, water-tight (at least it was before the bear got to it) bucket I had in camp this past fall. Can't say why they do it, but it happens often enough for me to not cache gas in our area.
    Foolishness is a moral category, not an intellectual one.

  9. #9

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    The bears also like the small metal sterno cans.
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  10. #10

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    When I stash fuel I cover it in spruce branches, I've been lucky so far.

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    Member Longbow6360's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailblazersteve View Post
    I believe it! I have had gas cans, plastic sleds, and atv seats bit around the cabin.
    We have no seats on any of our 4-wheelers in Kitoi Bay....none! The last one was shredded when the guy forgot to take it in his mudroom one night. We also lock all our gas cans up at night. Pesky bears!

  12. #12
    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    I was kinda saved by a 5-gallon jug of gas once....

    Was shortly after breakup and was boating out to town, stopped at vacant cabin on the way to stash that 5-gallons of gas in the loft. Normally I would do a walk around cabin before going in cuz bears like to hit it in spring, but that time the windows (plastic) were all still in on the side I could see so I figured all was well. Had the can of gas in right hand, rifle across my back, opened door with left hand to step in and guess I surprised a bear who thought it was his place. Thought it was a grizz at first, turned out to be a large cinnamon black bear boar. He immediately charged me at the door, I slammed door, dropped the jug of gas and backpedaled taking the rifle off my shoulder and jacking a round in. Door burst open knocking the gas jug ass over teakettle and the bear immediately focused on that, began mauling it, and when gas would squirt in his mouth and eyes he'd roar and maul it ever harder. Was really something to see! He kept at it til he completely demolished and chewed the thing to bits.

    But yeah, they will claw and chew on stashed gas jugs, poly drums, plastic buckets etc.

  13. #13
    Member shphtr's Avatar
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    Bears chewing on plastic containers is extremely common. That the plastic gives off a scent of something to possibly eat is a good idea and maybe a partial explanation. I have always wondered if perhaps this is also a way for the bear to examine a foreign object. It is almost as if they will give a plastic gas can or bucket a few "test bites" in trying to assess the plastic container. Frequently all one will find is several tooth holes and otherwise that is about it. This is just something I have always wondered about. A human would pick up a foreign object with his hands and roll it over to examine it - perhaps the bear just bites the container to see what it is like (and of course to see if it is something to eat). I think bears often bite things to evaluate them. Just my take - I have never read anything to confirm or deny this.
    "Actions speak louder than words - 'nough said"

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    Member AK-HUNT's Avatar
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    Shphtr hit nail on head I think. We recently had one bite into a can of fluorescent orange paint. You could kinda piece together the scene from the mess left. Would have LOVED to witness that happen.
    He got into a couple things b4 that but the snout full of paint seemed to kill his interest.

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Karma..................

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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    Karma..................
    I remember when this happened. They said that they think the bear thought the electrical box was a big cooler so he wanted to get into it. Pretty big bear too that I remember from the pics....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AK-HUNT View Post
    Shphtr hit nail on head I think.
    I would also have to agree. Think about a human baby.......everything goes into the mouth to investigate.
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    so what does one do to stash fuel??? hang iT? place 5 gal jerry jugs in a 55 gal drum with a lid on it??
    is there a good bear detterent? maybe pepper everything?
    please advise.
    thanks

  19. #19
    Member ChugiakTinkerer's Avatar
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    Definitely don't use pepper spray! Once the volatiles are gone you're left with aromatic cajun spice. I recall hearing some of the work Tom Smith did with the USGS in Alaska, and bears would come roll in the lingering spray after a test fire. He did a little write-up on electric fences, but the third paragraph repeats what's been said earlier.

    http://www.udap.com/tomsmith.pdf

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    Bad idea using pepper.........it will guarantee a bear will eat what ever you put it on.

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