Monday, March 26, 2012

Guard Against Attracting Bears To Your Campsite

A couple of weeks ago the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks offered several tips for keeping a clean campsite and eliminating bear attractants.

As you might expect, the press release states that all food items are bear attractants. Beyond food, the list includes: trash, recyclables, toiletries, first aid kits, pet food, window cleaner, baby wipes, scented tissue, air freshener, soda cans, bottled beverages, canned food, coolers (full or empty), mosquito repellant, deodorant, lipstick, tobacco products, and any other product with a scent.

Here are their recommendations for managing bear attractants in camp:

* Do not keep any food in sleeping or working areas.

* Do not keep any personal hygiene products in your sleeping tents. (toothpaste, soaps, deodorants, shampoos, tooth brushes)

* Maintain a separate area for cooking and food storage. Store personal hygiene products in the food storage area.

* Attempt to produce few leftovers or food wastes.

* Attempt to reduce food odors, try and take low odor foods with you in the field.

* Freeze-dried foods have very little odor.

* Use leftovers as soon as possible. Store all leftovers for a short time and use sealed airtight containers.

* Grease is very attractive to bears. Attempt to cook non-greasy foods as much as possible. Wash off the stove, tables, and barbeques after every meal to reduce odors. Burn greases in a hot fire or reuse it right away. Store grease in an airtight container.

* Incinerate garbage daily, or remove it from camp daily. Burying the garbage will not eliminate the odors. Bears dig up buried garbage. Greasy dishwater can be dumped in a pit dug away from camp. Treat the pit with lime or bleach to mask odors.

* Keep the camp and surrounding area clear of litter.

* Keep your packs, sleeping tents, sleeping bags and clothes free of food odors.

* Avoid cooking foods with strong odors—bacon for example.

* Wear a hat or kerchief while cooking so your hair will not pick up food odors.

* Change your clothes after cooking. Do not sleep in the same clothes as you wore to cook in. These clothes should be stored away from the sleeping tent.

* Wash cooking utensils immediately after use.

* Store all food and leftovers in bear resistant containers if possible, or elevated in a food cache.

* If you do not have bear resistant containers, store food in sealable plastic bags.

* Place food in a large bag and suspend well out of reach in trees, at least four feet out from the tree and 10 up.

* If you cannot burn your garbage, bag it up in sealed containers and suspend it from a tree. Garbage should be dealt with daily – do not let garbage accumulate in your camp.

* Latrines should be treated frequently with lime to reduce odors. Human waste is considered food by a bear.

Hiking in

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