When hiking in bear country, it is important to take precautions to avoid bear encounters.  Some of the things you can do to avoid areas where bears are known to frequent, to make noise while you hike, and to avoid attracting any bears.

Be Aware Of Bear Activity

It is important to avoid areas where bears are known to frequent.

If you see signs of bear activity, such as fresh tracks or scat, it is best to avoid the area. You can also check with your local ranger station or visitor center for information on where bears have been seen recently. By following these simple precautions, you can help to avoid attracting bears and keep yourself safe while hiking in bear country.

Make A Noise

Bears are generally shy creatures and will avoid humans if they can, but if they are surprised or feel threatened, they may attack. For this reason, it is important to make noise while you are hiking, so that bears know you are coming and can avoid you. Singing, clapping, or even talking in a loud voice will help to alert bears to your presence.

Don't Encourage Bear Visits

Keep your food and trash stored properly so as not to attract bears in the first place. One way to do this is to store your food and trash in a bear bag. A bear bag is a sack or container used to store food and other items while camping, in order to keep them away from animals such as bears.

Bear bags are designed to be hung from a tree branch, keeping food and other attractants out of reach of bears. They are hung from trees, rather than being placed inside of your tent, to save you from a bear encounter when you are out on the trail and can't store anything in your car. Its also a great way to prevent night-time disturbances so you can get a good night's sleep.

When you are finished preparing and eating your meal, place any supplies and waste in the bear bag, tie the bag closed and secure it with a second knot.

How To Hang A Bear Bag

The best place to hang your bag is in a tree, away from your campsite. It makes sense to store your food a little away from your tent or hammock as bears can be attracted to the food. to keep all food and other attractants out of reach of bears.

If you're hiking in bear country, it's important to know how to hang your bear bag.  To properly hang a bear bag you should use a rope or cord to suspend the bag from a strong branch. Start by tying one end of the cord to a rock or other heavy object.

Then, throw the other end of the cord over a high branches and pull it until the bag is suspended at least 10 feet off the ground and 4 feet away from the trunk of the tree. Be sure to tie the cord securely, as bears are very strong and can easily tear through weaker knots.  

You can also hang your bear bag from a bear pole, which is a metal pole specially designed for this purpose.

By taking these precautions, you can help keep yourself safe from bears while enjoying the great outdoors.

Another Option

If you don't have a bear bag, you can also store your food in a bear canister.

Bear canisters are airtight, watertight containers that are specifically designed to keep bears out. They are made of durable materials, such as hard plastic or aluminum, and have a locking lid to keep bears from being able to get inside. Bear canisters can be a bit pricey, but they are worth the investment if you plan on spending time in bear country.

Taking these simple precautions, will go a long way to avoiding an encounter with a bear and enjoying your hiking and campsite meals without incident.

If you are looking for more information on food storage and campsite organization, you may enjoy my review of the best camp kitchens as well as how to organise your campsite.

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