What attracts a bear into a campsite?

Be Bear Aware

Bolar Mtn, Virginia

Bolar Mtn, Virginia

 

Did you know that a bear can smell a meal up to 5 miles away?  What a bear thinks of as food may be different than your definition.  One experience will teach a bear where to find food.  Think of it, It takes one unprepared camper to teach a bear that a campsite has easy food.  The sweet smell of sunscreen, bug repellent and deodorant will also alert a bear.  I'm not sure if it's because they associate the sweet smells with food or rather with a campsite that has food.

 

Bears find food by sight-recognition as much as smell.  If they have found food in a tent, they will look in the next tent they see.  If a fisherman throws a fish to them to get away, a fisherman is a source of food.  A backpack is a source of food if a hiker has left their backpack for the bear as they escape.  If a bear tastes sweet soda on empty cans in a campsite, the sight of soda cans will also attract them.  The bears learn to puncture the cans with their sharp claws to release the sweet nectar.  If they've found food in a cooler or plastic container, they'll look in each one they see.

Sam Owen Campground, Idaho Panhandle - by Jennifer Wiltrout

Sam Owen Campground, Idaho Panhandle - by Jennifer Wiltrout

 

So please, be part of the prevention of bear to human conflicts.  It is one thing to watch wildlife in their own environment but quite another to watch them in your campsite.  If you do observe a bear getting human food, notify authorities as soon as possible so others can be aware of potential trouble.

 

 

Learn how to store and dispose of food and fragrant items and what to do if you encounter a bear.  Follow the link to read the Forest Service's tips on camping safely in bear country (All of our campgrounds are in bear country):  Be Bear Aware

Jo Leach

Jo and Don worked in logistics and software development before workamping. We have worked for AL&L for 11 seasons as Campground Managers, Area Managers and currently as Regional Managers. Our website provides general information for retirees starting out in workamping.