Aug 12, 2011 at 7:58 pm #1277962
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.
–B.G.–Aug 13, 2011 at 7:02 am #1768929
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
That must be Yosemite or something?Aug 13, 2011 at 9:05 am #1768944
"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."Aug 13, 2011 at 9:36 am #1768948
@eugeneiusLocale: Nuevo Mexico
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.Aug 13, 2011 at 10:14 am #1768951
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
Yeah, I have left water bottles in my car before. I had no idea…Aug 13, 2011 at 10:17 am #1768952
@umnakLocale: Southeast Alaska
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.Aug 13, 2011 at 1:19 pm #1768997
"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.–Aug 13, 2011 at 1:45 pm #1769004
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
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 : )Aug 13, 2011 at 3:02 pm #1769015
I've got it!
A giant matt-finished Nylofume bag that you drive your car into, and then tie it off.
I can see the $$ rolling in now.
B.G. – the "Bag Guy"Aug 13, 2011 at 3:11 pm #1769019
@dan_quixoteLocale: below the mountains (AK)
"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?Aug 13, 2011 at 3:21 pm #1769022
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.Aug 13, 2011 at 4:15 pm #1769032
" 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.–Aug 13, 2011 at 4:32 pm #1769043
"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.–Aug 13, 2011 at 4:55 pm #1769045
There are lots of house break ins in the Catskills in NY and a few in the Berkshires.Aug 13, 2011 at 5:22 pm #1769059
"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.Aug 13, 2011 at 5:28 pm #1769060
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.–Aug 13, 2011 at 6:28 pm #1769074
@kennyhel77Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
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 channelsAug 13, 2011 at 6:35 pm #1769076
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 bearsAug 13, 2011 at 7:31 pm #1769093
"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.–Aug 13, 2011 at 8:42 pm #1769112
"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!Aug 13, 2011 at 9:16 pm #1769124
"I suppose wondered if it was a statement in question form."
Like a rhetorical question, a question for which there is no real answer.
–B.G.–Aug 14, 2011 at 8:57 am #1769197
Is it evil to laugh at all the folks who can't read or follow simple instructions? I lol everytime.
Eugene, CA ain't so bad. 99% of the trips I go on over there, bears and car-sterilization are never a concern. I'm usually more concerned about car theft/break-ins by locals.
Yosemite on the other hand…always entertaining to see the following:
The best part…to add insult to injury, the bears usually leave you a nice big steaming pile once they're done eviscerating your automobile. (As evidenced in the video above)
Oh another favorite video…this one's in TN though.
I like how people are actually walking towards the bear…awesome. The money shot starts around 3:15 into the video.Aug 15, 2011 at 8:30 am #1769463
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Bears here are not habiuated like those and I do live in black bear country – we get them on the edge of town often enough – they use the rail to trails to get around (duh, why walk in the woods when you don't have to!). The difference in many ways is that we have a very long bear hunting season – something many hikers in Wa have no clue about.
But even then hiking in the NF lands here bears are rarely an issue (and nearly anytime there has been an issue there has been direct human related reasons to the bear being bad). The NPs take care of their bears and Rainier for example with its healthy population works on correcting any bear heading for habituation. They do try to retrain before killing and it often works.
As for parking my car at a TH with food in it, in WA?? I never worry about bears. Not one bit.
Worry way more about mice getting in and doing damage. Or worse….a freaking marmot. The marmots in the Olympics are notorious for doing real damage – chewing through cables, wrecking batteries, etc.Aug 15, 2011 at 9:26 am #1769478
@owareLocale: Steptoe Butte
Sierra bears also know that kid's car seats are chock full of goldfish and other munchies.
Not everyone does things that are "stupid" yet can tempt Yogi.
How many of you would think than a kid's car seat would invite a bear break in?
Like empty coolers, kids car seats have to be stowed in the trunk or bear box. After
emptying out the sippy cups of course.Aug 15, 2011 at 9:54 am #1769490
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Snort, good luck in fitting a modern couch of a car seat into a trunk of a small sedan or in a bear box. The car seat my 16 month old sits in is so big it should be a love seat. (It is one of the biggest on the market)
Again, I choose to not hike in areas such as that – and more so I drive a van, we have no trunk. And no way would I strip out the car seat. It takes an hour to get it back in properly and involves me getting on top of it with both knees and then getting behind it to floor latch it.
Thankfully we don't have habituated bears because we keep them from becoming that way. I left my minivan in bear alley at Rainier last weekend without any fear that the 2 containers of goldfish, 8 packs of shelf stable milk and food pouches, apple juice and I am sure 100 other pieces of food in the Stow n' Go below his seat would attract bears. The bears there have a healthy fear of humans.
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