Bear Bells yay or nay? - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 06-27-2017, 08:26 AM Thread Starter
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Default Bear Bells yay or nay?

With being what I humbly consider a well seasoned camper/ hiker and backpacker this topic has always intrigued and amused me..the whole bear bell saga, to attach one of these annoying and peace shattering devices to one's pack and venture fourth into wilds.
Admittedly they do make enough noise to drive a small army away but do they actually scare off the bears which they are intended for?
My experience has always been that when we hear bear bells on the trail it was usually from a group of newly minted backpackers hiking for the first time...and having likely picked them up at the local souvenir shop prior to hitting the trail, they've always sounded like a small herd of cattle as they meet at the trailhead, clanking in unison.
So the age old question remains, yay or nay to bear bells?

Just for the record, in a moment of weakness..we do have our own Silverfoot bear bells that we picked up decades ago and never used..they sit lonley, unappreciated and a bit dusty in our gear room.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 06-27-2017, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr.Spork View Post
With being what I humbly consider a well seasoned camper/ hiker and backpacker this topic has always intrigued and amused me..the whole bear bell saga, to attach one of these annoying and peace shattering devices to one's pack and venture fourth into wilds.
Admittedly they do make enough noise to drive a small army away but do they actually scare off the bears which they are intended for?
My experience has always been that when we hear bear bells on the trail it was usually from a group of newly minted backpackers hiking for the first time...and having likely picked them up at the local souvenir shop prior to hitting the trail, they've always sounded like a small herd of cattle as they meet at the trailhead, clanking in unison.
So the age old question remains, yay or nay to bear bells?

Just for the record, in a moment of weakness..we do have our own Silverfoot bear bells that we picked up decades ago and never used..they sit lonley, unappreciated and a bit dusty in our gear room.
I don't use them, I personally find the sound intrusive. IMO, I think the provide a false sense of security to the person (s) wearing them. I am a firm believer in making lots of noise (talking loudly, singing etc) to make your presence known. Bear bells are often too quiet and can't be heard around rivers, lots of wind, etc.

“Real adventure is defined best as a journey from which you may not come back alive, and certainly not as the same person.” - Yvon Chouinard
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 06-27-2017, 11:59 AM
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When we hiked in Grand Teton few years back a park ranger stopped us and very politely said that bear bells are not effective, they are too mechanical for bears to be scared of them, and in fact sometimes makes them curious. She said that bear bells are prohibited to be sold in Tetons, and while they can't prohibit anyone from carrying it she strongly recommends to reconsider.

Since then I don't carry them - I figured a park ranger should know
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 06-27-2017, 01:41 PM Thread Starter
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We are of the same mind,they are incredibly annoying and not effective from what we have witnessed and read about.We generally talk loud, sing our favourite Bee Gees tune and make a ruckus to let the carnivorous fauna know that we are about.
I'd be interested in hearing more opinions from others, because I do know that some people swear by the bells.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 06-27-2017, 02:09 PM
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I think they are kind of pointless. They're not very loud and just plain annoying. When we hike in bear country, we just make enough noise along the way so as to not startle any wildlife. We also tie our tin cups on the backs of our packs and smack them with our hiking poles every so often to make them clank. For the most part though, we are making enough noise simply by talking and having fun.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 06-27-2017, 02:32 PM
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Parks Canada's official position is that bear bells don't work. http://calgary.ctvnews.ca/parks-cana...ells-1.3451972

I find that I often hear hikers talking as they approach, then when they are closer, I hear their bear bells. The human voice carries much further than a bell.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 06-27-2017, 03:07 PM
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Excellent video with one of the top North American bear researchers. Highly recommended. Bear bells discussed (annoying, but not effective).

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post #8 of (permalink) Old 06-27-2017, 03:43 PM Thread Starter
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Excellent video with one of the top North American bear researchers. Highly recommended. Bear bells discussed (annoying, but not effective).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PExlT-5VU-Y
Great video and explanation..
Agreed, the bells are highly effective at being annoying!

Last edited by 61146; 06-27-2017 at 04:32 PM.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 06-28-2017, 05:11 PM
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Anyone else here legit stoked to have our disdain for bear bells validated? lol
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 06-29-2017, 05:46 AM
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I would be a threat to my wife, if she were carrying bear bells while hiking.

Despite the fact, that these bells are useless, I wonder why people put them on a backpack, I think originally they were meant to be attached to the feet?

But what I also don´t like are people who bring their stereos on the trail. I think that is even worse.
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 06-29-2017, 10:10 AM
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Bells are dangerous mostly because they turn me into a raving, hiking pole throwing nut job .. plus they tend to make predators curious

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post #12 of (permalink) Old 06-29-2017, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
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Bells are dangerous mostly because they turn me into a raving, hiking pole throwing nut job .. plus they tend to make predators curious

Attachment 210841
I sense the force in you is strong young Jedi... ;-)
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post #13 of (permalink) Old 06-29-2017, 12:10 PM
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I sense the force in you is strong young Jedi... ;-)
yes, Obi-Wan, those bells ..I hate the f#*&^%g things!!
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post #14 of (permalink) Old 06-29-2017, 12:16 PM
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Now you can buy "muted" bear bells from MEC. I looked at them the other day, and was really wondering what the point is... Aside from the fact that they don't work, I could barely hear them ringing a foot from my ear...maybe I am going deaf but... they will market anything to make a buck.

“Real adventure is defined best as a journey from which you may not come back alive, and certainly not as the same person.” - Yvon Chouinard
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post #15 of (permalink) Old 06-29-2017, 12:23 PM
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My friends and I have have gotten in the habit of yelling James Brown! Hit me once - heeea! Hit me twice - Heeea Heeea!

Bears have a natural fear of James Brown.
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Last edited by woodland.telegraph; 06-29-2017 at 12:30 PM. Reason: Add 2nd Heeeea!
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