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Thread: Bears

  1. #1

    Default Bears

    Hey everyone, ive been studying canoeing the yukon from whitehorse to st.marys and just have some questions that need answering. I live in calgary and when i backpack i use the traditional bear hang system to keep bears from our food. As far north as the yukon river is, im wondering how to go about storing food beacause most trees are unhangable. ???
    Also if anyone knows how i could get a canoe from calgary to Whitehorse by plane because i don't have a vehicle to transport them. thanks all!

    Erick

  2. #2
    Member Yellowknife's Avatar
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    Canoejunkie,

    I can't claim to have canoed the Yukon, but from what I understand, bear barrels and camping on islands in the prefered method. Standard procedure on most of my canoe trips is to just cache it down wind a little ways. There are plenty of trees, but hanging anything in a spruce in an exercise in frustration.

    I doubt you can fly a canoe to whitehorse in a cost effective way, but I could be wrong. Check with First Air cargo desk. They will fly anything for a price.

    Kanoe People in Whitehorse rent or sell canoes to Yukon river trippers and that's what plenty of people seem to do. They will also fully or partially outfit you for the trip, which might save trying to get your gear from Calgary on the plane. You will want a good size one (18 ft+) for that trip. Considering you are going to end up in St. Mary's, have you considered a folding canoe? Getting a hard shell canoe from St. Mary's back to Calgary is going to cost more than most boats are worth.

    Yk

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    Default Advice

    Sounds like a great trip! As far as bears go, like the previous poster said, bear barrels are a good bet. The popular backpacking ones don't hold much food but a 30 gallon steel barrel with a lid will hold lots of food and will keep bears out. Pack it right and it won't make your boat much more tip-prone. Another (better, IMHO) option is to pick up some military surplus steel boxes to suit your needs. A web search should get you what you need. Here's what I have and it is awesome!
    http://store.colemans.com/cart/medic...ed-p-1280.html
    They will keep bears out, and are waterproof. They also have a lower profile than 30 gal barrels. I only paid 20 bucks for mine so if you can find one locally you'll probably save some bucks.
    Most of the river (if not all) will have decent trees to hang food from. At times it will take some creativity and a couple of ropes to do the job but it is doable.
    If it was my trip, I'd pick up one or 2 of these medical transport boxes for the trip. That way I know my food is safe. I have used mine all over the rivers of AK and have never had a problem, the waterproof gasket most likely keeps food smells inside which is awesome.
    Have a great trip.
    Blair

  4. #4

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    Thanks alot. i think im gonna pick one or 2 of those steel boxes. im sure they come in handy alot.

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    There are numerous freight trucks traveling the Alcan....much cheaper to top load in a van than to fly a canoe....

    Talk to folks at Kanoe People as thye mave a have a solution.....their headquarters would be a convenient launching pin.....

    If it were me, I would start at Atlin and travel the Southern Lakes ;atlin to Tagis to Marsh/Yukon River]......far more scenic than anything the rest of the river has to offer.

  6. #6
    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default Have to disagree

    Quote Originally Posted by rilasp12 View Post
    Sounds like a great trip! As far as bears go, like the previous poster said, bear barrels are a good bet. The popular backpacking ones don't hold much food but a 30 gallon steel barrel with a lid will hold lots of food and will keep bears out. Pack it right and it won't make your boat much more tip-prone. Another (better, IMHO) option is to pick up some military surplus steel boxes to suit your needs. A web search should get you what you need. Here's what I have and it is awesome!
    http://store.colemans.com/cart/medic...ed-p-1280.html
    They will keep bears out, and are waterproof. They also have a lower profile than 30 gal barrels. I only paid 20 bucks for mine so if you can find one locally you'll probably save some bucks.
    Most of the river (if not all) will have decent trees to hang food from. At times it will take some creativity and a couple of ropes to do the job but it is doable.
    If it was my trip, I'd pick up one or 2 of these medical transport boxes for the trip. That way I know my food is safe. I have used mine all over the rivers of AK and have never had a problem, the waterproof gasket most likely keeps food smells inside which is awesome.
    Have a great trip.
    Blair
    I have one of these and the weight of them would be a big disadvantage. Here is one example http://www.bearvault.com/ and you could find some others at http://www.sierrawildbear.gov/foodst...containers.htm but after my trip to GMU 16 where we didn't worry about it and just used a cooler and food tote, i think that it's really the way to go. Heck if you are worried that much about it just get one of the bear fences and be done with it.

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    Hi,

    On our trip this year from Eagle to Circle this year we used the Bear Vault ( http://www.bearvault.com/ ) basically for some insurance. We did see black bears almost everyday.

    Tim

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    Default cost of trip

    the biggest cost of your trip will be the logistics of getting the canoe to and from your start and end points..
    Now ,, remember that this is your trip,,and not anyone elses,, so I myself support your idea, and If I can be of help to make your trip a success then I would have been of some help..
    what I can say is coming from only my experience.
    I do not fuss with bear proof containers.
    I do fuss with water tight containers. Dry bags...
    I don't hang food in tree's very often.
    I almost always camp on Islands.. small Islands that have enough High ground to support a few feet of rise in water levels... so I don't get caught in a flood..
    Bears like to walk along the shoreline of rivers in search for food,,, they are full of Mischief... I want a bear to have to work at coming to my camp..
    Bears do swim,, and swim easy.. they are not affraid to swim many miles, and it does not seem that they look for the shortest route to cross a river,, they just dive in where they are and head for the other shore..
    If an Island happens along in a swim.. they will probably stop at the island to look for an oportunity..
    This being said... you are going to be in areas at times that will have such wildlife.. and keeping your food in airtight containers will help..
    but like I have kinda mentioned before,, I don't like them Bear Proof containers ,, and I don't use them..
    but,,,,,, I do rent them out to customers at my canoe rental place that want them....
    One trick I used to use was to wrap a piece of bacon around aerosol cans of raid bug spray. held on by a rubber band.. I would put a can on each end of my camp. about 100 feet from the tent....
    After several dozens of camps on islands, I only had one can get punctured by a bear... I heard only a woof and then the splash as the bear left the island...
    but I guess I have become lazy,, and i don't even bother to do that anymore... but that may not be a good decision on my part... its just what i do.. or don't do...
    yes the bear fence works great,, I have two of them.. I rent them out to people that want the security of the electric fence.. they don't take up much room and can be charged with a solar charger...
    I had a fellow from japan that was a photographer that has used the fence in bear country and it does indeed work... Hs wife though won't go with him on these campouts, as it really terrified her when the bear got that close and she only had that little wire between them.. the bear jumped back when shocked and left... but she still did not like it...
    I take along a small two man or even smaller tent. and I put all my gear in that tent.. my food, my campstove, cooler backpack etc..
    that keeps all that gear in an added secure place,that is not in my tent...
    I have never had that tent tampered with,, all the stuff in there is put in the airtight dry bags..
    I sleep with a rifle in my tent.. laying next to me with no bullet in the chamber, but with the magazine full..
    I have on accassion had a bear come near my tent,, and sniff... or even woof... I even had a bear put his nose or paw on the material of the tent.. kinda pushing on it... ,, and yes I was pointing the rifle right at that spot ready to put a hole in my tent from the inside out.. but I have yet to have had to do that.. ... I garner all my wits,, and yell,, HEY BEAR,,, GET THE *&^*&^* OUT OF HERE...
    It has worked so far..
    But wild animals are just that,, and so each situation might and but more probably will be different..
    I am not going to tell you what you should and should not do... just what has and hasn't worked for me..
    be careful of those that boast that they have all the answers..
    Bears have a hard time reading articles about " surviving in Bear country"..
    Just so you know,, I have had some incidents with bears. I was charged last fall, It was not a false charge.... the bear thought he was trapped and his instincts worked like they were supposed too...
    I learn more every time I am out in the field about being aware of how I am fitting into the space...
    when You approach an area you don't have full view,, move slowly and make your presence known...
    Animals like to sleep along edges of dense vegetation and so approach these areas making sure that if something is napping, it will know you are there,, and will have time to move.... make sure it has a place to go.. or a way out..
    our encounter with this bear was because 3 people were involved and the bear was surrounded.. we did not know the bear was there, and the bear likewise,, when he woke up and tried to move away from the person he saw, he moved towards anouther person, when he found out he was running into anouther person he headed a different way, only to be headed my way... at this point he thought it must be a trap and he would need to fight his way out.. .. he came hard and fast.. His eyes and ears told me all I Needed to know.. yelling and waving at this point just seemed to energize him..
    you just never know for sure what those individual critters will do..
    any way..
    I like to think I am going to move through the country without putting pressure on critters.. give them room and camp where they don't normally want to travel..
    Max
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  9. #9

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    I'm a bit of a weight weenie, and I use a Bearikade. They're basically custom made bear canisters, and last I asked they had 6 & 7 day cans on hand to sell. Their expidition model supposedly holds 9 days' worth of food. They're all very expensive, but weigh a lot less than other brands I've looked at.
    Tsimshian tribe, wolf clan, the house of Walsk.

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    For what it's worth, the last time I passed through Yellowknife there was a couple of brits getting ready to paddle the Yukon. "Brit's to the Bering" they called themselves. They had discovered that all their gear didn't fit in the 18 ft canoe they had originally planned on and were using a 20 ft model from Kanoe People. Looked like a much better canoe for the purpose. That's a pretty long trip with minimal resupply.

    Otherwise, I pretty much do as AlaskaCanoe does. I don't use a bear barrel. I just walk softly and carry a big gun. So far, it's worked. Camping out of their main travelway is the best advice, but that's not alway possible on rivers. In the NWT, the plastic barrels in harnesses were commonly used. They seemed to work good and I should probably get a couple. They aren't cheap, so I haven't yet.

    Enjoy the trip.

    Yk

  11. #11
    Member Vince's Avatar
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    sorry yellow
    those bears walk up to the river and step in... every one of them.. i have seen Hundreds of swimming bears on the Yukon.. an island will not stop them from visiting.. and they have a better nose then any deer you will meet. that there is a myth with out bearings.... and on the Yukon can leave you in a sever wind storm stuck on an island.......

    Quote Originally Posted by Yellowknife View Post
    Canoejunkie,

    I can't claim to have canoed the Yukon, but from what I understand, bear barrels and camping on islands in the prefered method. Standard procedure on most of my canoe trips is to just cache it down wind a little ways. There are plenty of trees, but hanging anything in a spruce in an exercise in frustration.

    I doubt you can fly a canoe to whitehorse in a cost effective way, but I could be wrong. Check with First Air cargo desk. They will fly anything for a price.

    Kanoe People in Whitehorse rent or sell canoes to Yukon river trippers and that's what plenty of people seem to do. They will also fully or partially outfit you for the trip, which might save trying to get your gear from Calgary on the plane. You will want a good size one (18 ft+) for that trip. Considering you are going to end up in St. Mary's, have you considered a folding canoe? Getting a hard shell canoe from St. Mary's back to Calgary is going to cost more than most boats are worth.

    Yk
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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  12. #12
    Member Yukoner's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoejunkie View Post
    Hey everyone, ive been studying canoeing the yukon from whitehorse to st.marys and just have some questions that need answering. I live in calgary and when i backpack i use the traditional bear hang system to keep bears from our food. As far north as the yukon river is, im wondering how to go about storing food beacause most trees are unhangable. ???
    Also if anyone knows how i could get a canoe from calgary to Whitehorse by plane because i don't have a vehicle to transport them. thanks all!

    Erick
    AirNorth has daily Whitehorse-Calgary-Edmonton-Whitehorse flights in 737, can't imagine it would be cheap for a canoe though.
    Scott at Canoe People can hook you up, another option is Shadow Lake Expeditions, Charlie rents folding boats as well as rafts/canoes.
    You can usually buy one fairly cheaply up here, like some sort of glass flatwater boat, and sell it once at your destination.
    If i was going to do that trip, i would not take a canoe, but a sea kayak. There are some pretty slow sections, and wind, and a 'yak would be much faster IMHO.

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    Default Bears

    there is a lot of good air inflatable canoes out there why don't you look at those type an bring 2

    # 1 it will give you more room

    # 2 you can roll them up an put them in a Plane

    # 3 if you have trouble you can get picked up at any place a plane can land

    # 4 you can bring them back with you an sell them an not take a beating
    on them [loose a lot of money]

    if you get good ones they will last many years if you dont sell

    # 5 some of the inflatable canoes you can put small kickers on then
    {in them, hole in floor}

    there is a fellow that sell's that type of canoe in Anchorage
    don't get me wrong I am not a person that has any thing to gain from
    this
    I just know that those HE sell's are a good quality unit an will hold up
    not to Bears but almost that good I think

    If you can't find out any thing about them an want more info PM me
    an I will reply

    SID

  14. #14

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    thanks everyone, im dead set on a 1 man canoe. there will be 2 of us so its a major issue to get the canoes there on my little acura. if i cant get a truck or a van im looking into the air so ill check this place out yukon tells me. Any more advice u guys can give would help. thx

  15. #15
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default little car 2 canoes

    Ok.. I see your problem.. you want to drive up to Whitehorse but take along two canoes..
    For just a few dollars you can make a couple of different car top carries that will support 2 canoes for small cars..
    Its our business to load canoes on vehicles.. we load hundreds of canoes every summer on every car size and shape you can imagine..
    Now I realize you are going to be driving a long ways.. and canoes do offer a bit of wind resistance, so your gas mileage will go down.. but you can do it and do it safely and with little fan fare..
    Now this picture is of a little car with two canoes on top.. and they travel many miles down rough gravel roads, and down the highway at normal highway speeds..



    But I know of a better way to carry two canoe on a small car,,
    you double decker them..
    I do not have a picture, but I have done this and actually have a rack I built just for this purpose..
    Go to your Electrical hardware store..
    buy 40 feet of 1 inch aluminum conduit. (this will be 4 - 10 foot sticks..)
    you are going to have some left over,,
    From Hollander speed rail, order
    buy 4 each T- unions #9 in the 1 inch
    buy 4 each T unions #11 in the 1 inch
    go to a sporting goods store that sells the foam block canoe top carriers that snap on the gunwhales of your canoe. you are going to need just the 4 foam blocks, so one set is enough..
    Cut the conduit with a hacksaw.
    From a 10 foot stick of conduit cut 1 @ 30 inch's, and one @38 inch's , this will leave you with a 52 inch piece left over,,,
    this 52 inch piece will be the length long piece for the frame
    do this 4 times so you have 4 each 30 inch and 4 each 38 inch and 4 each 52 inchs.
    Now put the frame together using the Set screw Hollander fittings.
    it should be a box about 40 inches wide, 54 inches long and 32 inches tall
    snap the foam blocks on the the frame and place it on top your car and position the blocks to rest the frame equally on the car top.
    Now epen the doors on your car, if its a 4 door all 4 doors open, if its a 2 door, roll the back windows down and open the front doors
    using two rachet straps, run the straps over the bottom bar of the canoe carrier frame and thru the doors.. and rachet the rack to the car this way.. do not try to attach those worthless little clips they give you with the foam block kit..Just Grab a wrist rocket and shoot them as far away as possible..
    I am serious.. I have loaded thousands of canoes and know that you want to ratchet this this way using the entire roof of the car to gain purchase ..
    ,, NO WAY can this get loose this way..
    after you ratchet until the foam pads have enough pressure on the top of the car to restrict movement,, then push a canoe from the back of the car thru the bottom and put 2 ratchet straps over that canoe and run thru the doors just like the ones for the frame.
    then the top canoe do the same,, just move the ratchet straps an inch or so from each other so they don't overlap..The ratchet straps will be about 3 or 4 feet between each other between the front and back doors of the car,,, and believe me that is enough.
    no just shut the doors,, the rubber molding around the doors will be just fine and you won't even get air seeping in...
    ( I have had a few people think that instead of opening the doors they should just roll down the windows and do it that way....
    that is fine,, if you are ok with having to climb out of the windows everytime you stop and need to get out of the car,,lol)
    You will NOT NEED TO SECURE THE FRONT OR THE BACK of the canoes with those stupid little lines that people put over the hood and hook to the bumber.. I have had people demand to tie the ropes to the bumbers,, and that is fine,, but its just one more thing to distract out your front windshield when your driving down the road, as it is not needed..
    you will find that the two ratchet straps over the canoe body will more than hold it in position..
    you can drive at 100 miles an hour and will not have any movement of the canoes.. they will stay right where they are the entire trip as long as the ratchet straps are just fairly tight..
    Now One thing I forgot to tell you earlier about having 6 ratchet straps holding this whole thing on, is that unless you put a couple of twists in the flat nylon straps you are going to be making music as you go down the road.. the air going over the tight straps flat surface makes vibration and you will think you are living inside a bee hive... BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ...
    you can unload the canoes in just a couple of minutes this way.. and the rack will last a life time.. and will fit any car with a fairly flat roof..
    If you want to put the canoes on side by side like in the picture above you will need 2 each aluminum pipes schedule 40,, 78 inches long. you can use the foam canoe top carriers on the pipes and then secure the pipes with ratchet straps thru the car doors, then secure the canoes the same way,, the only problem with this method is that it is not nearly as tidy and strong as the frame idea with the canoes on top of each other..
    If you have any questions.. I will be happy to help..
    this is a Hollander # 11 fitting for the top
    This is a Hollander #9 fitting for the bottom
    Last edited by Alaskacanoe; 12-24-2008 at 22:32.
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  16. #16

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    Awesome! i had no idea it was even possible but i guess it is. i think that may be one of my only options and it looks like it would work great for my car. Very very helpful, ill probably be asking u questions along the process of the build. Not yet tho, ill let u know when. Thx for putting in the time to help!

  17. #17
    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default Missed it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoejunkie View Post
    thanks everyone, im dead set on a 1 man canoe. there will be 2 of us so its a major issue to get the canoes there on my little acura. if i cant get a truck or a van im looking into the air so ill check this place out yukon tells me. Any more advice u guys can give would help. thx

    Maybe I just missed it but why not look at the folding canoes or as someone else mentioned the inflatable? I saw a couple of different one at http://www.folding-canoe.com/ or http://www.boundarywaterscatalog.com...m?PG=PakCanoes and I think that dantherock used these for a great trip with his wife http://www.allycanoes.com/index.htm and I'm sure that he could give you some input on them. Then there is the whole inflatable option that could be explored.

  18. #18
    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Default

    I don't know much about folding canoes... but i am not sure this is a product i would take on and extended Yukon river float.

    i spent a few years running that river on the barges. and unfortunately there were a few canoes flipped each season because of the wake off the tug and barge..

    even though they may only be doing 4-5 knots up river. they have a wake that can exceed 15-20 foot high in places. (depends on channel and river conditions)

    over the years i have been out all three mouths of the Yukon up& to eagle.

    I have also seen winds that kick that river up 4-6 foot white caps.

    what ever you take.. make sure it is going to be something that stays afloat if turned over. other wise your trip will end at the next village. if your fortunate enough to have some one see you to pick you up..

    Nor would i take advice from any one whom has not run that river. as it is wilder then ANY river in the states.. you can very well go days with out seeing another vessel on it. and you can miss a village exit if you don't know where they are at.. even on foot....no drive ways, no signs, might be skiff tied up might not be..
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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  19. #19

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    hi,

    sounds like you may not have much experience camping in bear country. the best book that i have ever found about this is:

    Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance (revised edition) by Stephen Herrero

    its by a biologist who was spent his entire life studying bears. he's even from your hometown. pick-up a copy and use it as your guide.

    whatever you do, don't do this:
    <<<<<...wrap a piece of bacon around aerosol cans of raid bug spray. held on by a rubber band.. I would put a can on each end of my camp. about 100 feet from the tent....>>>>>

    don't get freaked by the notion of bears. but, read the book above and learn from it. buy yourself several large cans of bear spray, couple for you, couple for you partner. most manufacturers also sell inert cans, buy one and practice with it, so you get the feel for what it does and how far it sprays, etc. DON'T practice with the real thing, its nasty stuff to get on yourself. also, buy a couple calgary flames hockey air horns—great for scary the stuffings out of things that go bump in the night.

    alaskacanoe has VERY generously provided you with some great advice and instructions on building a canoe rack. you can haul canoes as he describes. (heck, i've hauled a 19' gruman on a subura brat!). there are some very good and active canoe clubs in calgary. do a google and find them or go up to the univeristy and at the rec centre (sp. just for you, eh?) and find someone to give you some good hands-on advice/help with building your rack—you can do it, but make sure you have someone who has "been there" scope it out for you, especially if you are not handy with tools and concepts of building things to withstand large forces.


    -g

  20. #20
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    This is what I do. When I camp along the Youkon I make sure and put my pots and pans (washed of corse) as far a way from the tent as possible. If there is a bear in the area they are going to after the easy meal first. Me last. This me time to get ready if they are to come my way. It has worked for the last twenty years and will for for the the rest of my time on the river.

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