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Thread: Tips for camping and hunting in bear woods

  1. #1

    Default Tips for camping and hunting in bear woods

    Any advice for camping/ hunting in the Kenai regarding dealing with bears. I've been lucky enough to spend 6-8 days a month on various backpack trips in the lower 48, so I know the basics but never camped some place with as many bears as Alaska.

    Any tips from seasoned veterans of Alaska regarding camping in thick bear woods aside from all the basics such as not sleeping with a dead fish in you're tent, not eating right before sleep etc.

    As far as food goes, I'm not sure we'll be able to find a tree there that will be adequate for hanging food so we're going with mostly freeze dried food and energy bars and some trail mix stored in a dive bag (supposedly oder proof). In addition, I plan to bury the whole thing 6 inches or so. I'm not sure I have enough room for one of those bear proof food containers, but if the previously mentioned strategy won't work I could give it a try. In the lower 48 its usually not too much trouble finding an adequate tree to hang our food, but I have a feeling that will be unlikely in the Kenai.

    How bout any special tricks for while you're sleeping. I've heard of people making a trip line out of fishing line and tying it to a coffee can filled with gravel. Supposedly makes enough noise to wake you up if anything trips it. Of course in real life they'd probably step right over the line

  2. #2
    Member akshrop's Avatar
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    Plenty of trees in the Kenai. Just keep a clean camp. No food ever in or around your tent. Try the alarm thingy if you want, but I figure it will just hype you up more than it is worth. Deep sleep is the best way to get through the night. I have found many tracks around my camps in the morning without ever loosing a monment of sleep. Oh and keep the bear spray away from your tent if you carry it. From what I have read, the bears love that stuff as long as it is not in their face.

  3. #3
    Member pike_palace's Avatar
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    Default pretty basic

    Keep the camp clean, keep the food as far away from your tent as possible, stash a firearm in the tent just in case, and the big thing is RELAX. Go to sleep at night, don't toss and turn over every little thing you hear. You should have no problems on the Kenai but there are areas where you DO NOT want to camp. This isn't on the kenai, however.
    "Ya can't stop a bad guy with a middle finger and a bag of quarters!!!!"- Ted Nugent.

  4. #4

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    The question regarding the trees is if I'll find many with relatively low branches that will support the weight of 7 days of food for two people or if all the branches within throwing distance are thin and brittle.

  5. #5

    Default lots

    Quote Originally Posted by WIsam View Post
    Any advice for camping/ hunting in the Kenai regarding dealing with bears. I've been lucky enough to spend 6-8 days a month on various backpack trips in the lower 48, so I know the basics but never camped some place with as many bears as Alaska.

    Any tips from seasoned veterans of Alaska regarding camping in thick bear woods aside from all the basics such as not sleeping with a dead fish in you're tent, not eating right before sleep etc.

    As far as food goes, I'm not sure we'll be able to find a tree there that will be adequate for hanging food so we're going with mostly freeze dried food and energy bars and some trail mix stored in a dive bag (supposedly oder proof). In addition, I plan to bury the whole thing 6 inches or so. I'm not sure I have enough room for one of those bear proof food containers, but if the previously mentioned strategy won't work I could give it a try. In the lower 48 its usually not too much trouble finding an adequate tree to hang our food, but I have a feeling that will be unlikely in the Kenai.

    How bout any special tricks for while you're sleeping. I've heard of people making a trip line out of fishing line and tying it to a coffee can filled with gravel. Supposedly makes enough noise to wake you up if anything trips it. Of course in real life they'd probably step right over the line
    Check here. Lots of good stuff.

  6. #6

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    Where are you planning on camping in the Kenai?

  7. #7
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    I've never understood the rational behind "bear proof food containers", OR keeping food tied up in a tree.

    Is it to keep the bear from getting your food? I'd think it better, he got my food than me.

    Do these containers keep the food odor from circulating, so bears arenít' attracted to the smell? That would make more sense.

    I can see keeping your food away from your sleeping area. I've done that.

    Here where I live, I often spray ammonia around my garbage cans, and compost, on the theory that it will mask the smell of garbage. I dunno for sure, if that helps though. (Neighbors have spotted, a Black Bear, and a Brown Bear, this spring. There was a Brown Bear last year.)

    Smitty of the North
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  8. #8
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    Depends on where you'll be on the Kenai but most places you'll be able to find adequate trees to hang food from. Just remember, you want the food higher than 10 feet off the ground and 4-5 feet from the trees. Sometimes you have to be creative to rig up an adequate system. Take 60-100 feet of 3/16 or 1/4 inch rope and you should have plenty to rig up just about any system. Don't bother burying the food, it won't keep a bear from smelling it.
    Set up an alarm system if you want to guarantee you don't get much sleep. It could be spilled by bears or moose, you're much better off getting a good night's sleep. Also avoid well-used campsites as it increases the chances of someone with bad habits teaching the bears bad habits.
    For Smitty, the rationale is that bears that learn to associate humans with food will be attracted to humans and will expect food from encounters with humans. Bears that are food-conditioned are truly the most dangerous bears out there. Most bears will avoid human-used areas but the food-conditioned ones will seek us out.
    Since very few bears regard humans as food, it's not a competition between the bear eating you versus eating your food.
    The ammonia won't mask food odors and may actually serve as an attractant simply because it is a new odor and may be worth checking out.
    Blair

  9. #9
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    rilasp12:
    Thanks for the "rational".
    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

  10. #10

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    Our favorite "bear proof" containers are 5 gallon buckets with sealing lids. Put a piece of tape on the outside labeling contents, then use it as a camp chair or whatever until you need something out of it. We wash the outside each day with soap and water as part of the dish chores. A bear could open it in a heartbeat, but since it has no smell they'll never know there's anything in it till some fool teaches them otherwise.

    Same for ice chests. If bears haven't ever seen one and you keep the outside washed, you're in fat city. We run a bead of duct tape around the opening each night or each time we're leaving camp, too. As long as they don't smell anything and haven't been taught by some hairball spitting polecat that ice chests contain food, they have no reason to break into them.

    The problems start after the guy before you teaches bears how to find food they can't see or smell. That's why I DETEST camping where other folks have camped before. You inherit all the bear problems that come with the location, even if you're careful yourself.

    There are some real slimeball slobs camping out there in bear country teaching the bears how to cause trouble. Once the trouble starts, it's a straight line to broken camps and probably a dead bear.

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