warning for black bear country
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Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
warning for black bear country on 08/12/2011 20:58:05 MDT Print View

Some of you don't get up to black bear country very often. If you get to one of the standard trailhead bear havens, you may see a warning like this stuck to cars at the trailhead parking. The Forest Service bear technicians are out peering into cars to see what it is that a black bear will seek, and the warning is to make you think before your car gets torn open. Apparently this one vehicle had an empty water bottle visible from the outside.

warning stuck to a car

--B.G.--

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: warning for black bear country on 08/13/2011 08:02:59 MDT Print View

That must be Yosemite or something?

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Next year... on 08/13/2011 10:05:06 MDT Print View

"WARNING Bears associate cars with food and will be attracted to your car. Please leave your car at the nearest town and hike to the trailhead."

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"warning for black bear country" on 08/13/2011 10:36:39 MDT Print View

That's ridiculous. Too bad they have to spell it all out for visitors, down to the minutiae.

California is beautiful, but geesh, what a bunch of hoops you guys have to jump through just to get your feet dirty and your tarp wet.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
warning for black bear country on 08/13/2011 11:14:40 MDT Print View

Yeah, I have left water bottles in my car before. I had no idea...

Joseph Reeves
(Umnak)

Locale: Southeast Alaska
Bear Techs? on 08/13/2011 11:17:42 MDT Print View

WTF?

I would love to meet a bear tech on the trail, just to get a sense of their experience with bears and even just being outdoors. It's summer, college students are abundant as bears. My guess is a bear that is smart enough to connect a water bottle with food would also connect a car with food.

The Forest Service relies on formulas more than common sense.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: warning for black bear country on 08/13/2011 14:19:46 MDT Print View

"That must be Yosemite or something?"

Whitney Portal in Inyo National Forest. There has been a bad bear problem there for years and years. Hikers are gone up the Whitney Trail for 1-3 days, so they leave food in their vehicle at the trailhead. If they were extremely careful about it, had it all tightly sealed and out of sight, then they could probably get away with it. However, the least bit of food odor or appearance of something resembling food, and Mister Ursus americanus is going to break open the car to investigate. I can't tell you how many bear-damaged cars I've seen at that one spot. Once the bears get going that far, they will break open a car just to find an empty water bottle. Friends of mine have had thousands of dollars of damage from a single bear strike.

Somewhere I have a photo from Whitney Portal. It is a shot of a black bear eating cantaloupe in the back of a Jeep Wrangler.

--B.G.--

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: warning for black bear country on 08/13/2011 14:45:21 MDT Print View

Well, it's good that when the Forest Service sees that bears are breaking into cars that have visible water bottles, they warn people not to do that : )

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: warning for black bear country on 08/13/2011 16:02:51 MDT Print View

I've got it!

A giant matt-finished Nylofume bag that you drive your car into, and then tie it off.

No Smells.
No Visuals.

I can see the $$ rolling in now.

B.G. - the "Bag Guy"

Edited by greg23 on 08/13/2011 16:05:08 MDT.

Daniel Allen
(Dan_Quixote) - F

Locale: below the mountains (AK)
Re: Re: Re: warning for black bear country on 08/13/2011 16:11:31 MDT Print View

"Once the bears get going that far, they will break open a car just to find an empty water bottle. Friends of mine have had thousands of dollars of damage from a single bear strike."

do we consider bears that associate cars with food to dangerously "habituated" to the point they should be shot, captured, or relocated to somewhere more remote?

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: warning for black bear country on 08/13/2011 16:21:36 MDT Print View

It's the irresponsible people that should be relocated.

If you start killing bears as a response to stupid people, there will be no more bears.

Hence the "education" effort.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: warning for black bear country on 08/13/2011 17:15:55 MDT Print View

" do we consider bears that associate cars with food to dangerously "habituated" to the point they should be shot, captured, or relocated to somewhere more remote? "

I don't know all of the official federal policies on this. In Yosemite National Park, generation after generation of black bears learned that the easiest way to the picnic basket was to simply pry open the windows or doors of a compact car, and if there had been any food odor at all or food sight at all, then there was likely to be a payoff. They didn't really understand why, but humans seemed to put food in these metal picnic boxes on wheels, so the black bears did the only logical thing and tried to liberate the food. Lately in YNP, the rangers and bear techs have gotten pretty stubborn about hazing the black bears away from the campgrounds and into the backcountry. In the backcountry, backpackers have gotten pretty serious about using bear canisters, so some of the problem has gone away. In Inyo National Forest, however, the rules and enforcement are somewhat different (different federal agencies with different budgets and different priorities). In the campgrounds and at trailhead parking lots, they have lots of metal food storage boxes. In the backcountry, things are a little looser.

YNP used to capture a troublesome bear, then ear-tag it and relocate it to a remote part of the park. If it showed up and did damage again, they relocated it to a ranch in far northern California right before bear hunting season. That got expensive, so some of the worst offenders were euthanized, and everybody hates that.

At Whitney Portal Campground, there used to be this huge black bear, medium brown in color, named Elmer. Elmer had been dining on campground garbage for years, and that explained his girth. Elmer was so large and powerful that he could easily intimidate humans, but he couldn't move that fast for very far. Elmer finally took out one too many car windows, and Elmer was dispatched by handgun to the great picnic ground in the sky.

One friend left a Honda parked at Whitney Portal for a 14-hour period with no food inside, and all items were out of sight in the trunk. There could have been food odor, so the bear took out the window and door anyway and got nothing. Black bears are particularly interested in a white paper bag with golden arches on the outside.

--B.G.--

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: warning for black bear country on 08/13/2011 17:32:20 MDT Print View

"A giant matt-finished Nylofume bag that you drive your car into, and then tie it off."

You could also market those to the drivers who park their cars in Mineral King (south end of Sequoia National Park). The marmots crawl up into the underside of a car and eat electrical wiring and radiator hoses, then drink the coolant (and for some reason, it doesn't kill them). A nice plastic bag might confuse them enough that they would select another car. Needless to say, that kind of marmot treatment isn't too good on the car.

I go one step further by carrying an old used radiator hose up there with me. I park my car and then plant the old hose on the opposite side of the parking lot, as decoy bait.

--B.G.--

Walter Carrington
(Snowleopard) - M

Locale: Mass.
Breaking and entering. on 08/13/2011 17:55:23 MDT Print View

There are lots of house break ins in the Catskills in NY and a few in the Berkshires.

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
ooof. on 08/13/2011 18:22:36 MDT Print View

"Do we consider bears that associate cars with food to dangerously "habituated" to the point they should be shot, captured, or relocated to somewhere more remote?"


Sure hope this was a facetious statement. The bears shouldn't suffer because of the tourons.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: ooof. on 08/13/2011 18:28:00 MDT Print View

"facetious statement"

It appears that it was not a statement at all. It was a question.

Bears suffer occasionally due to tourons. Grizzlies get hit by speeding cars in Yellowstone. Black bears get euthanized by bear technicians in Yosemite and elsewhere.

--B.G.--

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: ooof. on 08/13/2011 19:28:21 MDT Print View

The comment about us Californians jumping through "hoops" made me rather upset. NOOOO we do not have an agency telling us what to do, but rather suggesting for our own safety, or to keep our vehicles intact while we are hiking. The message left on the car that Bob photographed was just a "friendly" reminder to take better care of your stuff. Has anyone ever seen what a bear can do to a car if they think they have a food reward in there???????? Many folks that have NOT hiked in the Sierras do not understand the danger. Also it is NOT a Yosemite issue, but a Sierra issue.

Rant over...now tune back to your regular sponsored channels

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
bears on 08/13/2011 19:35:35 MDT Print View

bears are "handled" very differently in National Parks vs USFS/BLM/other public (and private) lands- our bears get two strikes (we have to tag them), strike two and they are out- literally

the unfortunate thing is that sometimes the fault can be clearly put on "us", we're doing a lot of education (and even citing folks who don't get w/ the program) but we have a long way to go to get people to understand the importance of not attracting bears

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: ooof. on 08/13/2011 20:31:07 MDT Print View

"Many folks that have NOT hiked in the Sierras do not understand the danger. Also it is NOT a Yosemite issue, but a Sierra issue."

You don't even have to hike in the Sierra Nevada to understand this. Drive up to Yosemite Valley and sit out in a campground where there is the smell of campfire smoke, grilled hotdogs, and with a few vehicles around. Better yet, do this in a Valley trailhead parking lot. Start looking for dark fuzzy things moving around starting around 11 p.m.

Yes, that yellow warning sheet was just a warning. If the bear tech had seen some small but obvious problem, he might have just confiscated the offending food item. If it was a large and obvious problem, law enforcement will either issue a citation or else tow the vehicle off if it is bad enough and they can't locate the driver.

You know, somehow I think the system is working little by little. Remember that this is your federal tax dollars at work.

--B.G.--

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
semantics. on 08/13/2011 21:42:54 MDT Print View

"It appears that it was not a statement at all. It was a question."


I suppose wondered if it was a statement in question form. Shucks, semantics R fun.

Also, as an aside, who wants to bet what minute, hour, and day Bob will reach 5,000 posts? He's at 4,800 in a year or so. We gotta get him an ultralight backpacking section going on Quora. Boooooom!