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post #5 of (permalink) Old 01-07-2021, 08:33 AM
Hittin' the Trails
Join Date: Jan 2021
Posts: 1

This is an ancient thread, but...
I have worked with conservation officers and hunters in my job as a wildlife educator. One thing is for certain, bears will smell your snickers bar and literally anything in your food bag. Studies suggest the surface area of a bears nose is 7x greater than that of a dogs, which is already something in the order of 10,000x greater than our pitiful human noses. Even if you can't smell it — a bear most definitely can!
Nothing is truly “bear proof” when it comes to food. They eat garbage in our communities where people aren't bear safe with their waste. It doesn't have to smell like meat to entice them either - they will seek to chew on plastic and anything with an interesting smell. Their evolutionary advantage is that they are foragers and scavengers in addition to being predators - the word to describe it is “opportunistic omnivore”. But just think of them as hardwired machines that will go to great lengths to discover new and interesting foods from basically anything that has a smell.
The advantage we have with wild bears is that they are likely too scared of you (if they are not habituated to the presence of humans) to bother you, and this fear outweighs their interest in your food. Proper food storage at night is critical because that's when a bear is most likely to feel safe enough to explore near your campsite.
Hope this helps educate any random thread visitors! Your safest strategy is just to choose meals that you like, but have a certified bear-resistant container for all your food and toiletries, and try to cook/clean and leave those things 1km away from your campsite where you sleep at night. When you go to bed, ASSUME a bear will visit your food stash overnight. If you have the proper storage measures, it should be able to smell the reward but will not get it with effort, and so it should get bored/discouraged and move along.
Obviously there are exceptions to the rules I'm sharing above, but there is a lot of great reading about safe travel in bear country out there so please, do your part to protect the wild nature of wildlife am be smart about you food storage
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