From earlier in this thread: "So next spring, when our bears come out, I will return to the small clearing in the forest behind the house and see how the Nylo bags do next to the Ziplock freezer bags used before."
OK, so this is what happened. First, please note that nobody sent me any suggestions, protocols, or the like. If you do PM me, please include an email address if you'd like a reply - my PM service receives but does not send.
Three bags were hung on April 7th, when snow was still on the ground, at the same forest clearing used before. Dark olive nylon bags from Walmart were used for hanging. The food used was birdfeed, "Wild Berry Treat" consisting mostly of suet, and some canned salmon and canned sardines. The food was placed inside 3 freezer pint Ziploc bags. One Ziploc was placed inside an Opsak, one inside a Lite Trail Nylo Barrier Odor Proof Bag, and one remained naked. The Opsak, Lite Trail and naked Ziploc were each sealed and placed inside one of the 3 nylon bags. Here are pix of food stored only in a naked pint Ziploc, and in a pint Ziploc placed in a sealed Opsak. The pix were taken later after final removal of the contents from the nylon stuff sacks:
On the left is the food in a pint Ziploc, stored in a medium Opsak with a Clip'n-Seal cllp, and on the right is the food stored in a naked pint Ziploc. There is no picture of the Ziploc pint bag and food that was stored in the Lite Trail bag, as that was 'taken.' However, the Lite Trail was twisted tightly shut and tightly secured with each of the two twist ties provided, an inch or so apart from each other.
(No instructions came with the Lite Trail bags.)
The bags were hung from tree limbs approximately 50 feet apart, all with the Walmart nylon bags as an outer cover. After several weeks - nothing. After several more weeks - nothing. So on May 15th, the bags were moved to a more remote location where in the past, hunters had placed a bear stand for several seasons. The snow was long gone by this time and ticks abounded.
The three bags were hung 75 to 100 feet apart, and suspended about seven feet high from branches 25-30 feet high that were judged too light and springy for a raccoon or the like to walk out upon and pull up the cords. The area was accessed from a nearby game trail, identified by moose and coyote tracks often seen when snowshoeing. The Lite Trail was closest to the game trail, but at least 100' from it, the Ziploc around another 75 or so feet away, and the Opsak another 100 feet or so away. The distances are only approximate and were not equal, as the primary goal was to find high hanging branches that would support little weight, but would not break, and they were scarce.
Several more weeks passed. We're in early June now. Nothing. So the bags were lowered to five feet. One June 21st, the nylon bag containing the Lite Trail bag was found on the ground ripped open, with the Lite Trail bag ripped apart, and the Ziploc containing the food was gone without a trace. Here's a pic:
The Opsak bag, furthest from the game trail, was also found on the ground, with the cord cleanly severed right at the top of the outer nylon bag; but there was no sign of damage to the nylon bag, and the Opsak, Ziploc and food inside were untouched. The nylon bag containing the naked Ziploc with the food, that had been hung between the other two bags, was found still hanging, apparently untouched, still at five feet above the ground. Here are pix of the nylon bags containing the Opsak and Ziploc bags after they were recovered:
At this point, I felt not much could be made of all of this, so retrieved all the bags. The odor from the naked Ziploc bag was strong and foul, and could be smelled right through the bag. Not so with the Opsak. The torn remains of the Lite Trail bag was all that was left in its nylon outer bag, and the Ziploc with food was gone without a trace.
But I did draw one conclusion and a couple surmises form the above. First, I would not trust a Lite Trail bag. Also, I do not think bears were involved, and suspect coyotes were at work. We know they are around because they make quite a racket celebrating after each kill. And I would think bears would have done more damage to the nylon bag containing the Lite Trail. Lastly, I don't think the survival of the naked Ziploc shows much, as the Ziploc inside the Lite Trail bag didn't help it much, and the naked Ziploc stank when retrieved. Of course, you are free to draw your own conclusions.
A little daunted by all this, I have been in contact with an acquaintance who works at a bear shelter, and am hoping to obtain some more reliable tests of the bags next year. Next time, I will probably double bag, as that is what I do when using the Opsak bags for caches. (Note: The Opsak bags now come in a larger size that better fits the clip'n-seal clips.) If anyone has any suggestions about protocols, I remain open to them. Possibly, the bags could be placed well apart from each other on the tops of a bear enclosure to see if any bears are attracted to them. In that way, the bears would not receive the food, with the negative consequences that might entail.
Thought you might be interested, so there you have it. Sam in Chocorua.