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Thread: Protecting rafts from bear damage

  1. #1
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    Default Protecting rafts from bear damage

    Last year on an eight day Bristol Bay area float I saw a lot of bears, so I deflated and rolled up my Aire kayak every night on the idea that it might prevent rips and bites.

    Is that a real threat? Do you do it with your raft on a backcountry trip in bear country?

    This year I'm renting a raft with a buddy, and we'd really like to avoid spending time on repairs. But we'd also like to avoid having to inflate that beast every morning!

  2. #2
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Default

    I could be wrong, but I bet the experienced people on here are going to recommend you look into bringing an electric fence to protect your raft. There's been a few discussions about them lately, including a thread on building your own. Take a look at those and see if that idea seems good to you.

    -Brian

  3. #3
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Bears and inflatables

    Luckee,

    Bears do indeed like to bite boats, and it doesn't matter to them whether it's inflated or not. A good friend of mine had three feet of the end of his cataraft completely consumed overnight (in the Bristol Bay area) by a brownie with an appetite for plastic. The boat was rolled up in a tarp on shore.

    Right now the electric fence does seem like one of the best options available to you. Have a look at the electric fence thread.

    Otherwise, you may need to change your screen name to "UNLuckee"

    :-)

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
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    Talking Wildlife & Raft Management

    It comes down to camp and equipment management. By this I mean direct supervision within organized conditions. By conditions meaning the consequences of your individual situation in a particular environment.

    In the case of your inquiry:

    1. Equipment to manage – inflatable boat

    2. Supervision and Organization – you must have a close presence (eyeshot/earshot) recognizing some semblances of an observable arrangement.

    3. Consequences and Environment - identifying the risks of were you parked… easier from an experienced eye.

    These three requisites will keep your mind at ease and your equipment (in this case inflatable boat) secure. Vigilance, creative thinking, and not being work-shy are the evident keys!

    So what if you have to leave your inflatable boat unsupervised in the worst of possible scenarios?

    #1 #2 #3 plus...

    This actually depends on size. Yes - SIZE maters here and not innuendo in the least. Larger inflatable boats will see fewer incidences involving less significant repair than smaller boats or deflated/packed/rolled up packages. To deflate a large raft is a principal mistake! It’s recognized, well documented, and for the most part predictable in bear to bear behavior and bear to human encounter that Size definitely carries some weight in terms of hierarchical identification. With “close encounter” (not just the occasional bruin… we are talking 50-70 per average 5 day working week) bear activity --- there is discernible behavioral distinction on float trips where a group of folks are randomly spaced about when compared with the same group floating by in the raft or lined up adjacent to the boat on shore. Yet another accepted pattern is if you place a small parcel out on the beach and an 18’ boat out on the same shoreline… most any critter four legged or two will take an inch before a mile.

    Hope this Helps –

    Brian Richardson
    http://www.nothernrim.com

  5. #5
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Bears that eat boats

    Brian,

    The situation I was referring to was what happened to Steve Wottlin's River Cat over on Kukaklek Lake a few years ago. They got dropped off on the lake late in the day and left their gear on the shore because it was too late in the day to get set up. They pulled the tents out and camped a short distance away on the tundra, but in the morning a bruin came wandering along the lake shore and encountered one of the boat tubes wrapped up in a tarp. Turned out the same bear came into another nearby camp and was shot in the face with pepper spray the day before. He ran out onto the tundra, blowing and snorting in response to the spray. The folks in the camp wisely used the interlude to shinny up any available trees. Good thing; the bear came back and tore the heck out of their camp, looking for the "Cajun-flavored guy".

    So in one sense, it was an unusual situation because of the previous human encounter. On the other hand, it's not unusual for bears to walk the lakeshore during red season. They might have been better off moving the gear closer to camp (away from the shore). But if they had set up the boat, my guess is that the bear would have bitten it anyway. Feels good on the teeth, I guess! In at least that case, it sounded like a no-win situation. A fence would have worked perhaps better than nothing. Then, you could always post a guard....

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
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    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
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    Default Great input

    I really appreciate the comments based on your many many miles of Alaska floating experience.

    My buddy is looking into materials to make a fence. It is good to think that we won't have to deflate the boat daily.

    Brian's point about size makes me realize that the kayak was good in another way, though: it was easy to carry away from the shore and riverbank, which really did seem to be the bear highway. Also, I was able to land in spots that will be tight with the raft.

    Pretty hard to drift an indicator rig while paddling, though

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    Talking still comes down to my #1 #2 & #3

    Mike what you are saying still comes down to my #1 #2 & #3

    The situation you describe is not unique to someone on very familiar terms with Kukaklek Lake, its neighboring creeks, and the outflow of the Alagnak.

    1st mistake --- left their gear on the shore because it was too late in the day to get set up

    2nd mistake --- camped a short distance away on the TUNDRA, but in the morning a bruin came wandering along the LAKE SHORE

    3rd mistake --- it was an unusual situation because of the previous human encounter.

    Back to the 1st - recall me saying --- Vigilance, creative thinking, and not being work-shy are the evident keys! Plus identifying the risks of were you parked… easier from an experienced eye.

    Yet again for the 2nd --- Equipment & camp management issue... Vigilance, creative thinking, and not being work-shy are the evident keys! Plus identifying the risks of were you parked… easier from an experienced eye.

    The third is not an unusual situation throughout much of Katmai --- but especially Red Salmon season on the all too frequently assaulted Alagnak River Corridor. Commit to memory me saying ---consequences of your individual situation in a particular environment. If you know the flora/wildlife/people visitation/fish season trends of the Alagnak and different prospective put-ins along Kukaklek like say Nanuktuk Creek… you should certainly think about having a sentinel posted!!! No joke! Even landing the float plane on Kukaklek and unloading you need to be paying attention to the habitual more than a few bear surrounding you.

    I do not accept as true “the no win situation” when you recognize what you are doing, realize where you are, possess skill/proficiency that’s always welcome, and follow my straightforward guidelines. If you don’t heed this simple advice and assume risks --- one day your boat or other belongings will be dragged away, strewn, damaged, consumed and possibly found expelled in a nasty steaming pile.

    Brian Richardson
    http://www.northernrim.com

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    Cool wilderness guruism 2 street smarts

    To communicate it in everyday street smarts as an alternative of thinking this is wilderness guruism:

    If a woman leaves her purse unattended at a bar what is likely to happen?

    If you park your fancy car on an abandoned lot at night what is liable to occur?

    If you so choose to walk habitually across streets without looking both ways or blowing through ignoring red lights what are the probable conclusions?

    If you walk into a fight or flight scenario unequipped, ill-trained, and not sure how to escape or to handle it what is prone to ensue?

    Same goes for your boats and equipment in the great outdoors... yet in a undomesticated, outdoorsy line of attack.

  9. #9
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Sometimes there's more to the picture...

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Richardson
    Mike what you are saying still comes down to my #1 #2 & #3

    The situation you describe is not unique to someone on very familiar terms with Kukaklek Lake, its neighboring creeks, and the outflow of the Alagnak.

    1st mistake --- left their gear on the shore because it was too late in the day to get set up

    2nd mistake --- camped a short distance away on the TUNDRA, but in the morning a bruin came wandering along the LAKE SHORE

    3rd mistake --- it was an unusual situation because of the previous human encounter.

    Back to the 1st - recall me saying --- Vigilance, creative thinking, and not being work-shy are the evident keys! Plus identifying the risks of were you parked… easier from an experienced eye.

    Yet again for the 2nd --- Equipment & camp management issue... Vigilance, creative thinking, and not being work-shy are the evident keys! Plus identifying the risks of were you parked… easier from an experienced eye.

    The third is not an unusual situation throughout much of Katmai --- but especially Red Salmon season on the all too frequently assaulted Alagnak River Corridor. Commit to memory me saying ---consequences of your individual situation in a particular environment. If you know the flora/wildlife/people visitation/fish season trends of the Alagnak and different prospective put-ins along Kukaklek like say Nanuktuk Creek… you should certainly think about having a sentinel posted!!! No joke! Even landing the float plane on Kukaklek and unloading you need to be paying attention to the habitual more than a few bear surrounding you.

    I do not accept as true “the no win situation” when you recognize what you are doing, realize where you are, possess skill/proficiency that’s always welcome, and follow my straightforward guidelines. If you don’t heed this simple advice and assume risks --- one day your boat or other belongings will be dragged away, strewn, damaged, consumed and possibly found expelled in a nasty steaming pile.

    Brian Richardson
    http://www.northernrim.com
    Brian,

    I'm gonna have to call you on this one. You probably don't know Steve, and if you met him he probably wouldn't blow his own horn anyway. He's a pretty unassuming guy. But the truth is that he GUIDED fishermen out there for a number of years and knew the situation as well as anyone I know, including yourself. He's been on many a river where he DID have to post guard all night; this was not such a situation.

    There was no laziness or cluelessness involved at all. It was an early season bear situation; hardly something that could be counted on or even anticipated. Nobody with his experience would take such a risk unless the chances were very remote.

    It's easy to armchair-quarterback such things, however reality is often different from perception; especially if such perceptions are based on my feeble attempts at reducing it to print. You'll have to trust me that Steve is an old salt at this, but not so old as to become jaded or lax about the risks. Sometimes you calculate the odds and sometimes the odds are against you. None of this stuff involves guarantees of ANYTHING. No matter what you do, there are a thousand ways things can go wrong. I'm sure you've experienced that yourself.

    It's complete speculation to imagine what WOULD have happened had they left the inflated boat along the lakeshore, but it's a pretty safe bet that the bear would have lunched it anyway.

    What did Steve do? Thankfully it was an AIRE, and he had it fixed in about thirty minutes, with urethane tape and some halibut line. Looked kinda funny but the repair held for the entire float. He did a permanent repair when he got home.

    "Guruism"? Nope. Just good woods-sense. When you really know what you're doing, you have the self-assurance to regroup even after an unexpected turn of events. Steve would never say these things about himself, but I will. He's good at what he does, and he got that way by experience. Two years ago he killed a charging grizzly at fifteen feet in the tall grass, under conditions that would reduce most of us to a quivering pile of jelly. I'd ride the river with him any day.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

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    Cool Royal Flush!!!!

    No bluff to call – can't trump my Royal Flush hand anyway!!!

    Your dispute is at a overall loss by the very details you draft. Name dropping of Alaska places and supposed on the ball acquaintances don’t facilitate your cases by even a degree.

    MS Quote - “He's been on many a river where he DID have to post guard all night; this was not such a situation.”

    I will put in the proof portrait - Contraire… sounds akin to literally situating! Things are more apt to go wrong when your guard is down!

    MS Quote - “It was an early season bear situation; hardly something that could be counted on or even anticipated.”

    So let me inquire (I do not need your answer) Does that suggest mid or late season offers rather acceptable and predictable likelihood?

    MS Quote - “Nobody with his experience would take such a risk unless...”

    I say Point Blank “he” “they” did tho’!!!

    MS Quote - “It's easy to armchair-quarterback such things”

    Hardly armchair quarterbacking on my part… At least I can articulate that I’m actually in the game 1st string quarterbacking wild rivers Statewide, season after season…
    MS Quote - “based on feeble attempts at reducing it to print”
    OK - I'll agree there!
    Nevertheless........
    Don’t even presume! (MS Quote) - “knew the situation as well as anyone I know, including yourself.” --- Aimed at meaning me.
    On scripting this you have no inkling, no substantiation, no rationalization, and not much for an excuse. A thorough, answerable “writer” who has solicited me in the past for his book information and promotion should make that distinction better!

    MS Quote - “It's complete speculation to imagine what WOULD have happened”

    No not at all! It’s in fact called assumption of risk (despite knowing according to the Steve narrative) - & then not making the fitting decisions… in this case #1, #2, & #3 mistakes indeed added up. I’m glad Steve and his party re-grouped safely and dealt w/ it. Yes - this episode can be random to some extent and could indeed happen to anyone - anytime --- but preventable in the mainstream (pun intended) majority of encounters.

    MS Quote - “Two years ago he killed a charging grizzly at fifteen feet in the tall grass…”
    Of course I (or might I add we the forum) do not have the Steve party chronicle on this chapter’s fortunate or unfortunate set of circumstances. Like you related - he may not say much anyway.
    On the other hand… I’d have to reply that revealing these liable elements from the Steve storybook may just illustrate a variety of indicators for Steve doing a few things off beam in wild bear territory.

    In the other groups linked case (MS Quote) “The folks in the camp wisely used the interlude to shinny up any available trees. Good thing; the bear came back and tore the heck out of their camp, looking for the "Cajun-flavored guy".
    I really question the word “wisely” and also have difficulty with “interlude.”
    The wiser would have gotten organized and prepared alertly, efficiently, maybe gymnastically, cooperatively, creatively, and sensibly during whatsoever pause in the action. So they pepper perfumed a bear and hung out like monkeys in the minuscule tree tops of Kukaklek Lake. Does this explanation sound clever to anybody? Sorry - does not hold air or water just like the holes in the bitten boats. This is not beneficial advice at all! Rings more like establishing problem bears and reinforcing them to boot!!!

    --- So this whole thread is not disagreeable risking total confrontations (sorry original post) please take all of this for sure (even what is entertaining, witty, or challenging at times). Mostly the #1, #2 and #3 guruisms, along with the street smarts, plus enhance these practices with the inventive trip alarms recommended or newer equipment suggested like portable electric fences. In addition garner the loot from the oversights and blunders made in Mike’s narratives. Each and every ingredient will significantly improve odds on keeping you and your stuff outta bear trouble. ---

    Brian Richardson
    http://www.northernrim.com

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    Default

    I don't have an answer either but just wanted to mention an incident that happend a few years ago out at Endicott Island east of Prudhoe Bay. B.P. had for years been financing a fish study to determine how the causway for Endicott might affect the migration pattern of Arctic Char which move from river to river along the coast. The "fish squeezers" as they were called had a number of inflatables lined up for the night and a polar bear came along and bit the tips off of each and every pontoon in the fleet.

  12. #12
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Contender
    ... a polar bear came along and bit the tips off of each and every pontoon in the fleet.
    Contender,

    This is what I was saying. It makes little difference whether the boat is inflated or not. Bears will bite either one as the mood strikes them. Therefore, the idea is to protect the boat. Presently, the single best way to do that is an electric fence. It's cheap, light-weight, and easy to do. Others will disagree, but this would be my recommendation.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  13. #13
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Cool Extraversion Surgency

    "Superiority Striving" is the lay term of someone that use extraverted methods to validate him or herself. " Extraversion Surgency"
    This type of behavior or Neuroticism is most often due to the person feeling the need to put someone else down, in an attempt to build himself up.
    Or in reality. " Try to bring anouther down to their level".
    I could not imagine traveling in remote Alaska or any other venue with a person that display's this form of Neurotic behavior.
    The most learned man is a humble man, not a know it all.
    I think someone has exposed himself .
    A few weeks back my nephew that is a Psychology Major At Delaware State has his school work group( at my suggestion) following the forums on this site.
    The Professor instructed the student groups to follow different forums. They are not to become involved in the discussions.
    I recieve some comments on evaluations done by following the writings of posters that are quite active, or active enough to see how they respond and interact.
    of course they are just 4th and 5th year Psycology students so diagnosis in any form is suspect...
    I failed my 101 class in Psycology so I have no Dog in this fight....
    just passing on what was relayed to me...

  14. #14
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    Lightbulb Temperment Sorting

    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskacanoe
    "Superiority Striving" is the lay term of someone that use extraverted methods to validate him or herself. " Extraversion Surgency"
    This type of behavior or Neuroticism is most often due to the person feeling the need to put someone else down, in an attempt to build himself up.
    Or in reality. " Try to bring anouther down to their level".
    I could not imagine traveling in remote Alaska or any other venue with a person that display's this form of Neurotic behavior.
    The most learned man is a humble man, not a know it all.
    I think someone has exposed himself .
    A few weeks back my nephew that is a Psychology Major At Delaware State has his school work group( at my suggestion) following the forums on this site.
    The Professor instructed the student groups to follow different forums. They are not to become involved in the discussions.
    I recieve some comments on evaluations done by following the writings of posters that are quite active, or active enough to see how they respond and interact.
    of course they are just 4th and 5th year Psycology students so diagnosis in any form is suspect...
    I failed my 101 class in Psycology so I have no Dog in this fight....
    just passing on what was relayed to me...
    ---------------------------------------
    Well… Ok I’ll come up to bat I guess.

    Just to speculate on diminishing claptrap… Mike and I know each other and fuel good dialogue on the forum (not only between us - frankly it’s easier to pick up the phone) in the spirit of open opinion and true Alaska understanding. This knowledge broadens over more than a few mouthfuls and plates here at home and out to other States.

    Mike and I have talked on the phone since these posts, neither pissed, both in good character, and I can promise you we are not total extroverts in every crowd, don’t share psychoticism nor neuroticism, and to burst 101 with some good ol’ fashion 411 I’ll speak that Mike and I might fit the “lower form of this hierarchy” as generally agreeable, quite contented, contentious only to a degree, but friends, overall very much so conscientious, with good grasps on personal as well as social awareness.

    I must say if one purely follows TEMPERMENT SORTING on what was based/expressed in the early ‘90s studies as three factor modeling --- you should be acquainted with the fact that this is merely the NEGATIVE notion! What I do find amusing is that college professors of psychology and sociology have decided to integrate Alaska outdoor forums into the curriculum.

  15. #15

    Default Transporting your cataraft

    I have purchased the fishcat 13 for this years trip to Alaska.(Alaska Raft and Kayak) I have a old S10 Blazer with a roof rack on it. Was wondering if it will be possible to haul the cat on the top or should I start looking for a small utility trailer. The specs on this cat say it wieghs 170 #. Don't know if it will be possible to put it on top of the Blazer by myself. What do you do?

  16. #16
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default 24 hour campfire & Alaska directory

    these are the two forums the group has selected due to the fact that more people on these forums are older than 25 years old, and less likely to contend in youthful meaningless crap.
    The world of outdoorsman is full of very personel feelings on many subjects, and so this gives the group a view of lively bantor and disagreements. This provides the venue they are looking for.
    Lots of fun to read all the view points.
    I wonder if some of the posts are from people that in Grade school got picked last for the Dodge-ball team...lol

  17. #17
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Trailer

    Quote Originally Posted by floridafisherman
    I have purchased the fishcat 13 for this years trip to Alaska.(Alaska Raft and Kayak) I have a old S10 Blazer with a roof rack on it. Was wondering if it will be possible to haul the cat on the top or should I start looking for a small utility trailer. The specs on this cat say it wieghs 170 #. Don't know if it will be possible to put it on top of the Blazer by myself. What do you do?
    Florida,

    At 170#, that's gonna be hard on your roof rack and on your body. I'd trailer it.

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  18. #18
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    Default humble

    Coming from a quite humble person.... (Old and wise enuff to be so) this is the singular funniest thread on the forums I've read. But enough info I'm going out and buying a electric fence to protect my cat.

  19. #19
    New member Longbow's Avatar
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    Default Light weight electric fence

    If you are looking for a light weight electric fence, check with Marc Taylor at Wiggy's-Alaska ... he has a pretty cool set-up that he will either rent ($15 per day) or sell ($295) to you.

    Specs:

    9,000 volts
    20 foot x 20 foot area
    2 strands
    Carbon-fiber poles
    Operates on 2 AA batteries for 72 hours
    Low-battery or non-functioning alarm
    Weight - 14oz. excluding batteries
    ON/OFF switch

    Contact Info:

    (907)336-1330 or
    http://www.HuntingHardInAlaska.com

  20. #20

    Default

    I believe the one Taylor sells is for backpacking and will not work on gravel bars. Check here for one that does work. They are not cheap!
    http://www.electrobearguard.com/index.html

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