Dealing with Black Bears?

Questions that don't fit anywhere else.

Moderators: chrstjrn, mje, krudave

Post Reply
Rob
faltbootemeister
Posts: 169
Joined: Wed Aug 26, 2020 12:15 am

Dealing with Black Bears?

Post by Rob »

There are a lot of black bears in some of the areas I paddle in, and/or want to paddle in.

A concern I have with an expensive, irreplaceable skin boat is having one or more of these curious creatures damaging, or ripping my kayak to shreds, either accidentally through curiosity, or on purpose.

Obviously, it's best to immediately remove all food and beverages, and anything else that might smell good in the kayak, when ashore. Also a good idea to use bear-proof containers to store that in, and to try to keep a sharp eye out over the boats, whenever possible.

Have any of you had to deal with this, and if so, what did you do to keep them at bay, when away from your boat(s), or at night while sleeping?

I'm thinking keeping the kayak(s) close to camp, and/or your tent at night are a good idea, as long as there's not a fire that might give off flying embers.

I was thinking perhaps creating a perimeter around the kayak with bear spray, to try to keep them away, but I don't know if that will work. Taking a dog or dogs along probably isn't practical.

Any other ideas?

JohnSand
lord high faltbotmeister
Posts: 621
Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2017 3:08 pm
Location: Long Island NY

Re: Dealing with Black Bears?

Post by JohnSand »

I haven't had to deal with bears.
I've had some success keeping raccoons away with cayenne pepper. No creature wants that in their nose. I buy big bottles of it cheap. I think maybe your bear spray has capsicum too.

Yakadoodle
faltbootemeister
Posts: 203
Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2020 4:52 pm
Location: West Palm Beach, Florida

Re: Dealing with Black Bears?

Post by Yakadoodle »

Just bring along a dozen rolls of Duct Tape and you'll be golden!
https://aviationhumor.net/duct-tape-use ... ar-attack/
"Yakadoodle" ...I had to come up with some name since Steve already stole my name! :lol:

john allsop
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle
Posts: 1285
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2005 3:40 pm
Location: isles of scilly UK

Re: Dealing with Black Bears?

Post by john allsop »

I lived in bear country for some years, never had a problem. As you say food in bear proof containers, do not store these in your tent or kayak. Don,t eat in your tent or just outside it. Of course the food containers will be in your kayak when paddling between camping locations. Spraying bear repellent round your tent, as it contains pepper which when the spray dries will attract bears, it is made to be sprayed onto a bears face when a bear is close. If you spray bear repellent be sure the wind is not blowing from the bear to you, if the wind is blowing to you the spray will get in your eyes and it is deadly. There will be info at parks in bear country/

Rob
faltbootemeister
Posts: 169
Joined: Wed Aug 26, 2020 12:15 am

Re: Dealing with Black Bears?

Post by Rob »

Thanks for the replies.

Sounds like I just need to stop worrying, as long as I don't fish, and get smelly stuff on the deck, or inside the cockpit to attract them.

The duct-tape option looks like a good one, in an emergency.

john allsop
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle
Posts: 1285
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2005 3:40 pm
Location: isles of scilly UK

Re: Dealing with Black Bears?

Post by john allsop »

Yes do not fear black bears, they are more frightened of you, they are not waiting behind trees waiting for a passer by. But buy proper bear proof food containers keep them a good distance from your tent, do not leave them in your kayak when on shore. Do not buy a cooler, you know the large rectangular ones, bears tear these to pieces. As bears don't have thumbs bear proof containers are round and smooth usually a coin is needed to open them. Don,t approach bear cubs, mum will attack, don,t feed them, don,t be afraid of making a noise, a radio in camp might help. Don,t burn any left over food if you have a fire they don,t get hot enough. The national parks should have info about bears, these days probably on line. People are the problem not the bears.

Rob
faltbootemeister
Posts: 169
Joined: Wed Aug 26, 2020 12:15 am

Re: Dealing with Black Bears?

Post by Rob »

Yea, I get that.

I've seen lots of them when camping in Lake Tahoe and Yosemite. Never had a problem, since the food was locked away.

I know that generally, you don't have to worry about them, but they can be very curious creatures, and I've seen how they can open cars up without key, with those sharp and powerful claws, so I do worry about a skinned kayak with them around.

I imagine those cute, little (though sometimes quite large), and voracious raccoons can be trouble too.

RangerTim
knight of the folding kayak realm
Posts: 265
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2015 4:10 pm

Re: Dealing with Black Bears?

Post by RangerTim »

My experience with bears is that they like to play with objects. I have watched sub-adults climb aboard skiffs and destroy PFDs and plastic fuel jugs.

I would completely empty my boat of objects, even if they are not food-related or otherwise odorous, so as not to encourage a bear to climb in the cockpit. A bear in the cockpit might become stuck or poked and damage the boat while escaping. I might consider a cockpit cover, even if it is just a bit of tarp held in place by bungee around the coaming. Oh wait, shock cord deck rigging can be fun to play with.

Storing the boat upside down might discourage a bear from entering the cockpit, but then again do I want a 300# bear climbing on my hull?

No easy answers, I suppose. Having the field ability to splint frame tubes, stitch the deck, and patch the hull is always a good idea.
Ann and me
Folbots: Too many. It's embarrassing.
Feathercraft: Aeronaut
Klepper: AEI - Jonathan Waterman's boat
Hardshells x6

mje
Site Admin
Posts: 1957
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 12:34 pm
Location: Southeast Michigan

Re: Dealing with Black Bears?

Post by mje »

A friend paddled his Aleut in a bear-heavy area of Alaska, and I believe all he did was remove everything from his boat while on shore and transfer it to a steel box at a group campsite.

The old wisdom was that black bears don’t attack, but they do. Whether their behavior has changed, or more people are reporting attacks, I don’t know. While serious attacks are uncommon, there are many documented instances. There were two reported attacks, one fatal, in North America in 2020, ten from 2010 to 2019, and a great many threats and non-lesser attacks. A local outdoors show has shown several videos from hunters and anglers of black bears chasing and threatening them.
Michael Edelman
FoldingKayaks.org Webmaster

RangerTim
knight of the folding kayak realm
Posts: 265
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2015 4:10 pm

Re: Dealing with Black Bears?

Post by RangerTim »

True, black bears have been known to attack, though more so in Canada and Alaska than the lower 48. Here is a link to a scientific study about black bear attacks from 1900-2009. Stephen Herrero, the lead author, is a noted bear expert.

http://unexpectedwildliferefuge.org/uwr ... 596603.pdf

In Alaska, in a Folbot Aleut, I was followed by a swimming brown bear. I was able to paddle faster than the bear could, or was willing to swim. I never knew if the bear was anything more than curious.
Ann and me
Folbots: Too many. It's embarrassing.
Feathercraft: Aeronaut
Klepper: AEI - Jonathan Waterman's boat
Hardshells x6

Post Reply

Return to “General folding kayak questions”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users