Caution When Camping Close to Bears

Caution When Camping Close to Bears

When you go on a camping adventure, there’s always the possibility that you’re going to see animals that are a bit larger than you are and that can be aggressive if provoked. One such animal is a bear. You have to careful around bears for obvious reasons.

While they might look like they can give you a hug, bears can be fierce and often don’t want anyone to stand in their way when they are looking for food or when they have found food.

Sometimes, you can observe bears from a distance, taking pictures of them so that you can remember the encounter. If you hear a bear walking around your tent at night, there are a few things that you should do so that you stay safe.

Caution #1 Don’t Leave Any Close Food Outside When Camping That’s Available For Bears

a bear close to a lake or pond

There’s nothing wrong with preparing a meal over a campfire or eating a few snacks outside your tent while you’re camping. However, you don’t want to leave food on the ground or sitting outside.

This is like leaving a welcome mat sitting outside on your front porch for the bears that are in the area. Pick up any trash that you have, throwing it in the proper receptacles at the campground or in a trashcan if you’re camping in the woods.

Don’t toss any unwanted food on the ground as it can attract other animals aside from bears. If you do notice any food or trash and a bear does happen to come around to try to take it, you need to stay calm and let the bear take the food.

Once the food is gone, then the bear will usually leave.

Caution #2 Stay Calm When Bears Are Around

One of the best things that you can do if you see a bear or suspect that there is a bear outside your tent is to do nothing at all. A bear usually can’t see you when you’re in your tent.

It smells the food that’s around and is attracted to the aroma, which is what lures it to campsites. If you stay as still as possible, then most bears will leave you alone.

Avoid making any sudden movements that could alert the bear that you’re inside your tent. In most situations, you’re going to be too afraid to move anyway, which can keep you safe.

After a few minutes, it will likely be safe to move around again and peek outside the tent to make sure the bear is gone. Pay attention to the ground outside your tent in the morning.

If you see prints that appear as though they were made by a bear, then the idea of staying still worked while you were sleeping at night as you didn’t even know that there was a bear outside.

Caution #3 If You Have To, Make Noise To Scare Close Bears Off While Camping

The opposite side of what you could do if there is a bear outside your tent would be to make as much noise as possible. A sudden loud noise will often frighten a bear and other animals away from your campsite.

If you have a gun, then consider putting a few blanks in the chamber and pulling the trigger as this can quickly scare a bear away. Make sure there are blanks that are used so that you don’t harm anyone who is nearby, and make sure there is no one standing in front of the gun when you pull the trigger.

Bears are usually frightened by people. They don’t like being outside of their comfort zone, so if they know that there is a potential danger present, then they will usually leave you alone if they hear talking and a lot of movement inside the tent.

Making noise doesn’t mean carrying on a simple conversation. It’s going to mean making a lot of different noises that are loud so that the bear clearly hears that you’re in the tent as mild rustling can sometimes make the bear want to investigate more.

Caution #4 Sprays Can Be Used As A Distraction To Bears

There are a few different sprays that you can get that can be used as a deterrent for bears. You’re going to want to spray the tent itself as well as the area around the tent.

Consider spraying your clothes as well, especially if there have been bear sightings in the area. If you don’t have a spray that is intended for bears, then you can try to use cologne or perfume to cover up the natural scent that you give off.

You want to do as much as you can to throw off what you smell like so that the bear isn’t attracted to your tent. Avoid using any kind of bear spray in your tent as it does contain products that are similar to peppers or pepper spray.

If you decide to spray your clothes, you’re going to want to do so before you put them on and outside your tent. You’re also going to want to spray mildly instead of coating your clothing.

Try to spray the product you’re using upwind so that it doesn’t linger near your campsite. The reason why bears don’t like this kind of spray is because of the odor that it gives off and because it can be irritating to the skin and the eyes.

If you see a bear outside your tent and you want to use some kind of spray, you need to make sure there is a clear shot that you can take instead of spraying it in front of a tree or another object.

Caution #5 Defense Against Bears Is Always An Option When Camping Close by

a bear walking by a empty grassy field

Sometimes, you’re going to need to take matters into your own hands in order to protect yourself and your family. If you know that you’re going to go camping, then consider packing a gun or a knife as a way to defend yourself against animals that might come around your tent.

Unless you’re going to be at a campground that has an office, other campers, and possibly a security guard, then you’re likely not going to be able to get help from an officer to your tent right away.

You don’t have to kill the bear, but you can wound it so that it leaves you alone. However, if you do plan to wound the bear, then make sure it’s minimal so that it can heal on its own.

On the other hand, you don’t want to leave the bear in misery, so it’s sometimes better to kill the bear, especially if it’s a threat to your safety or the safety of your family. A knife will work as well if you don’t have access to a gun.

If you don’t have a weapon at all, then you can get a large stick that can be used to try to hit the bear. However, you’re going to have to come pretty close to the bear in order to use this as a weapon, which might not always be a good idea if you don’t know how to hit the bear in the right way.

Try to do what you can to scare the bear instead of harming or killing it if at all possible, but you do need to make sure your family isn’t harmed at all costs.

Caution #6 Run Away From The Bear

If you have enough space between you and the bear, then you want to run away so that you can get to a safe location. If there is a vehicle near your tent, then this is where you want to strive to reach so that you can drive away.

You’re going to need to be fast, so if there are young children with you, make sure they are able to keep up with the pace that you set or that you can carry them to the vehicle or to the safe area that you find.

The bear might chase you for a short time, but it will usually give up sooner than you. Try to run to a source of water.

Bears usually don’t like water and try to avoid going near it when possible.

Another option would be to run toward a campfire, even if it’s one that is at a neighboring campsite. Fire tends to scare away most animals, which is why you should consider leaving a small fire going at night.

Make sure you monitor the fire or build it in a way so that it’s secure in order to keep it contained. Climbing a tree is an option that you could consider as well.

Even though a bear is significantly larger than you, it usually won’t climb a tree to reach you if you run. Most bears can’t climb a tree anyway, so this might be your best option if nothing else has worked.

After the bear has left, you need to protect your site so that it doesn’t come back in the future. Do something to help you calm down after your experience with seeing a bear.

You probably haven’t seen one if you live in the city. If you live in a rural area, then you likely haven’t seen one there unless you live near a region with mountains or a region where bears tend to travel from one area to another.

You might want to move to a different site or find another campground to decrease your chances of encountering another bear.

A grizzly bear walking by a rock

Do I Have to Worry About a Bear Destroying My Tent While Camping?

a grizzly bear looking between two trees

If you decide to go on a camping trip, you need to remember that you’re visiting the home of bears. You might not see a bear the entire time you’re camping, but there is a possibility that one might investigate your campsite while you’re in the area.

A bear could get close enough to your site to destroy your tent, but if you take a few precautions, then you can decrease the chances of this happening.

There are a few different reasons as to why you want to bear-proof your campsite. One is to keep them from coming to your site altogether.

The other would be to make them want to visit another site that’s in the area so that they leave yours alone. If everyone who is camping in the same general area takes the same steps to keep bears away, then they will usually avoid people and continue hunting in a natural manner.

Use Caution When Camping In An Area That Bears Have A Close Interest Attending

When you begin looking for a campsite, you should try to find one that is in an area that is of little to no interest to bears that might be nearby. The site needs to be upwind of any natural food sources.

You should also try to avoid making your campsite right by a water source as many bears tend to look for fish in the water and enjoy bathing or playing in rivers and streams. Look for any signs of bears in the area before setting up your tent.

These signs often include droppings on the ground, prints, and scratches on the trees. If it looks like bears might call the area home, then you want to try to find another location for camping as there’s usually a higher chance of a bear destroying your tent since you’ll probably be in the animal’s line of movement.

Because Of Scents, Use Caution When Camping & Make A Triangular Area Design To Keeps Close Bears Away

After finding just the right spot for your tent, you need to think about the other locations where you’re going to keep your food and toiletries and where you’re going to prepare your meals.

Create a triangle with your tent, a cooking area, and a canister that you hang in a tree that holds your food and scented items. You want to have about 100 feet between each area as this is usually enough space for scents to disperse through the air.

You want to try to put your tent in an area that’s upwind of the food and cooking area as well so that the aromas don’t drift to where you sleep at night or where you relax during the day.

Hang What You Can In A Tight Bag So It Doesn’t attract Bears.

A momma bear and her cubs

Use caution and try to hang items in trees away from your camping area if bears are close by. If you don’t have a bear bag or a canister, you can use storage containers or waterproof bags that have an airtight seal.

Food should go in one container and toiletries in another. Bears tend to like items that are scented, such as shampoo and conditioner. Even though they help you stay clean and refreshed, they can also attract bears and other animals to your tent if you keep them inside with you.

Make sure the bag is hung high enough in the air so that they bear can’t reach it as they usually can’t climb trees and can’t jump very high. If there’s nothing for bears to smell near your tent, then you can usually leave your trip with a tent that is still in one piece.

Make Sure You Clean Your Mess To Keep The Bears Away

Just as you would if you were at home and trying to keep pests from invading, you need to keep your campsite clean as well. This means that you’re going to have to keep foods properly stored when you’re not cooking and trash picked up off the ground.

Bears like rummaging through trash to find a meal, which is why you don’t need to make it easy for them to have access to trash while you’re camping. If bears don’t see a lot of food on the ground or smell aromas from food and trash, then they’ll usually leave you alone.

You should also keep your campfire clean. This means making sure there are little to no food scraps left in the fire after cooking and making sure there’s no burnt wood that is left around your site.

If you have any leftovers after cooking, then you want to find a proper receptacle to throw them away instead of just tossing them in the woods. You could also bury them in the ground far from your campsite to try to hide the smell of the food from bears and other animals.

One Of The Ways To Clean Up Is Make Sure The Dishes Are Washed Immediately

Your camping adventure might be a time for you to relax, but you’re still going to need to use caution and wash your dishes because of maybe close bears nearby. If you leave these items on a table or another surface or over your campfire, then it’s usually an invitation for bears to make a visit.

They want a little of what you have fixed and will usually try to get to it any way they can. Wash your dishes in a cooler of water that you pack with you for this purpose.

Gallon bottles of water can be poured into the cooler and then the cooler emptied once the dishes are washed. Another option would be to use disposable plates and utensils so that the only thing you need to wash would be pots and pans.

Aluminum foil can be used to make foil pack meals so that you don’t have anything to wash if you use plastic utensils. However, you need to throw everything away as soon as you are done eating so that it doesn’t sit in the open and attract bears who might destroy your tent.

Food Selections Can Make Or Break Coming Across Bears In Your Camp Area.

When you’re making choices about the foods that you’re going to take camping, you need to consider the scents that bears are attracted to the most. They like sweet smells, such as maple syrup and honey.

They also enjoy those that are smoky, such as bacon. These are the aromas that bears will tend to set out to find if you cook them over an open fire or even if you prepare them on a grill or in another manner.

If you want to take these foods with you, then your cooking area needs to be away from your tent and upwind of any densely wooded locations as this is usually where more bears tend to hide.

Although you might not want to eat healthy while you’re camping, fresh fruits, vegetables, and protein bars are usually the best options to have on hand as they aren’t as attractive to bears. However, you don’t need to keep any foods in your tent.

If you don’t have a way to hang foods in a tree, then keep them in your vehicle so that bears don’t smell them and try to destroy your tent.

Be Careful Of The Smell Food Leaves In Clothes Because It’ll Attract Bears

You’re probably not going to stay in the same clothes the entire time you’re camping. After cooking, you need to change your clothes so that the smells from the food that you cooked aren’t taken back to your tent.

If bears detect odors that they like on your clothing, they could think that it’s food and begin to destroy your tent in order to find out just what is inside. This could also lead to a bear trying to harm you in order to get closer to the scent that is on your clothing.

When you change clothes, make sure you do so in an area that isn’t located close to your campsite. This will help to keep the scents from the inside of your tent as well.

Avoid changing your clothes inside your tent, finding a bathroom that is nearby or even changing inside your vehicle if you don’t like the idea of changing your clothes out in the open.

Making A Perimeter Around Your Camp Area Is A Requirement For Bear safety

a bear in a big empty nearby field

There are several caution tools that you can take with you when you go camping that can be used to make a perimeter to keep close bears away. Get a roll of wire that can be put in the ground.

You don’t need a lot as all you want to do is keep your immediate area protected. There are also electric fences that you can put around your campsite to keep bears and other animals away.

Sprays can be used as well, but you need to use the spray each day as the aroma can sometimes disperse through the air too quickly in order for bears to be distracted by the scent.

These are only a few ideas for how you can protect your tent from a bear while you’re camping. Try to keep your site clean and free of things that will clearly attract bears.

Take the necessary steps to be proactive in keeping bears away before you even set up your tent so that you can have an enjoyable time while you’re outside in the woods.

two bears looking at each other

Are Bears Attracted to Human Urine by Campgrounds?

This is a little bizarre to ask but it is a legit question.

There might be times when you’re camping that you can’t make it to a bathroom that’s in the area. You might need to do what you have to in order to relieve yourself so that you’re comfortable.

However, bears can sometimes be attracted to human urine, which is why you want to avoid performing bodily functions close to your campsite. If you must urinate outdoors, then do so downwind of your campsite and away from your tent as well as your cooking and storage areas.

This will usually keep bears and other animals away. It can sometimes attract them to a certain area in the woods where you might want them to go so that they will leave your campsite alone.

Be careful Where Bears Roam While You’re Camping

an average everyday bear in the woods

You’ll usually find bears in each area of the country. They live in mountain regions as well as areas just outside of the mountains.

If bears happen to smell food while they are traveling, then you could even see a bear or two in urban areas. They can usually be spotted in each state, caution though, there is sometimes an overwhelming number of bears camping close by in states that have more mountains and forests than others as this is where they tend to hide and make their homes.

Since there are more people exploring these areas and camping in the outdoors instead of at campgrounds that are a bit more structured, there are more bear sightings.

You might wonder what would attract a bear to your campsite so that you avoid leaving certain types of food outside or avoid engaging in certain activities. Although bears are usually attracted to all types of food, they are highly attracted to human urine and fecal matter.

Bears have an exceptional sense of smell and can detect urine on just about any surface, even if it’s been several days since someone urinated and left their scent behind. The reason behind this could be because of the bacteria in urine or other components that are present that tend to repel other people.

They could also detect urine a bit easier than other scents if it’s damp in the area as moisture can sometimes make the smell a little more potent. In order to keep bears away from your campsite, avoid urinating close by and on surfaces where the scent from urine can linger for an extended time.

The Attraction

Even though you need to use the bathroom somewhere, it’s usually not a good idea to relieve yourself right near your tent or camper while you’re in the woods. If you’re at a campground, then try to find a portable bathroom.

Some camps in wooded areas where people tend to set up their tents have portable bathrooms available as well. Tip: Instead of urinating directly on the ground, consider making a hole in the ground that can be used as a makeshift bathroom.

When camping, using this caution / tip can make it difficult for bears close by to detect the scent and find out exactly where it’s located. Another option would be to urinate in a bottle and then throw the bottle away or bury the bottle in the ground.

The material of the bottle will usually prevent bears from being able to smell the urine that is inside.

If you need to do anything aside from urinating, a hole that is dug in the ground is usually your best option. You can also put a trash bag in the hole to make it easier to dispose of instead of leaving it in the ground.

You could also fill the hole again with dirt, but remember where you defecated so that you don’t dig the same hole up again if you have to go at a later time. Try to urinate or defecate about 100 feet from your campsite.

Even if a bear happens to come across your makeshift restroom, it will usually be far enough away not to invade your campsite, especially if there are no other scents nearby that would attract the bear to come for a visit.

Marking Your Area

three cubs with their momma

Although you might be tempted to mark your area with urine to keep bears away, keep in mind that this usually isn’t the best practice. Since bears are attracted to urine, they usually won’t leave your site alone if you do this.

Instead, they will usually try to discover where the urine is located and seek out the source of the urine, which would be yours, another person you’re camping with, or an animal that you have with you while you’re camping.

Most of the time, park rangers will try to inform campers about how to dispose of toilet paper and feminine products in the proper way as these items are harmful to bears if they do find them and eat them.

Sometimes, a bear could die after eating these items after they are found with human urine or fecal matter because the product on the items is attractive to the bear.

The best thing that you can do when you’re camping would be to not leave any kind of trace of where you’re at in the woods. Avoid leaving food on the ground or leaving food on a table.

You also need to avoid using the area right outside your tent as a bathroom so that you decrease the risks of a bear finding out where you’re located in the woods.

That’s not to say that a bear still can’t stumble across your campsite, but it can make it a bit more difficult if you create a clean environment instead of one that’s dirty and contaminated.

When you make the decision to go camping, especially if it’s in a wooded area, you’re entering the home of bears and other animals. Consider yourself a guest in someone’s home, which is why you wouldn’t urinate or defecate near your campsite or in an area that would attract an unwanted visitor to someone’s home.

You would complete your business in an area where it’s difficult for someone or something to find you.

The Mind Of A Bear

Bears are rather smart animals. They usually don’t forget a lot of details. They enjoy all types of food, but they also like trash and other items that you might find disgusting and unappealing.

Create a bathroom that is located several feet away from your campsite. Odor-proof bags are a good idea to have on hand when you’re camping so that nothing is attracted to your campsite, including bears.

You also need to store toiletries that are scented in containers so that bears aren’t attracted to them. Although this seems like an odd task, you don’t want bears to notice anything that has any kind of aroma.

They enjoy things that smell whether they have a pleasant scent or one that isn’t all that attractive.

Another detail / caution that you want to keep in mind when camping close to bears is that they have exceptional memories. They are able to detect where urine was left even weeks after the surface is washed or after you leave the campsite.

This is why it’s often best to establish an area away from campsites where people can use the bathroom even after you leave. Sometimes, bears will return to the same area years after encountering the scent of urine or food.

Disposal Practices

two grizzlies looking down by a tree

One of the easiest ways that you can ensure that bears don’t find your waste is to quickly cover it up and leave the area. You don’t want to leave behind any detail from your body that could lead to a bear finding out where you’re camping.

If you have to do anything aside from urinating, then the hole that you dig in the ground should be about six feet deep. It’s sometimes best to make the hole a little deeper, especially if you know that there are bears in the area that could come around and find your makeshift bathroom.

If you’re unable to put dirt back into the hole, you can put leaves in it or other materials that will detract from the smell of the waste that is in the ground. Aside from making your bathroom away from your campsite, you also need to make your bathroom about 100 feet away from a source of water.

Bears enjoy drinking water and often find catching fish and other animals that live in the water a fun activity. Another reason as to why you want to make your bathroom away from a water source is so that you don’t contaminate the water. Some sources lead to larger areas that then lead to public water sources.

Sometimes, you might have to urinate while you’re hiking or doing another activity away from your campsite. Look for any signs of prints on the ground.

Avoid urinating if you notice any prints or any kind of animal fecal material. Make a small hole that you can urinate in so that it can be covered as you don’t want bears to be attracted to areas on trails where other people might walk after you leave.

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