Last updated and verified on February 24th, 2023
The most common fear that each hiker and camper has while hiking through the forest is coming across wildlife that could be dangerous. Many of us have witnessed mountain lions, wolves, and other wildlife. One that I believe we can all agree on as the one that no one would like to stumble upon is one of the bears.
We’ve all heard horror stories of bears cutting through campsites and ruining tents, if not more.
There are methods to reduce the possibility of seeing a bear while camping. I will discuss a few ways to do this in my next blog post. At present, I will address the most frequently asked question I receive when discussing how to stay clear of bears when camping.
How To Avoid Bears When Camping
How far can a bear scent? There’s no doubt about this. Bears have the highest sense of smell among land mammals. Bears possess more receptors for scent than any other animal on land.
Black bears can smell the carcass of an animal up to about 18 miles (29km), and grizzly bears can smell animals in the water and seals beneath 3 feet of solid Ice. What do you feel about the polar bear Are you aware of how far a polar bear can smell? The truth is, male Polar bears have been reported to travel for hundreds of miles once they smell female bears.
To put the bear’s sense of smell in perspective. Dogs are said to sense a 100 times more powerful smell than the average person. In contrast, bloodhounds have a sense of smell about 300 times that of humans. The black bear has a sense of smell that is 2100 times that of human beings!
Bears’ sense of smell is believed to have evolved to protect them from predators and to protect their cubs better locate food and prey, as well as to locate a mate. The brain part that controls our sense of smell bears the olfactory bulb, which is five times more powerful than the human brain. This alone should reveal just how crucial and effective a bear perceives scent.
If you’re in the wild and see a bear far away, you are sure they know you were there far away.
Fun fact: Black bears are blind and rely on their noses to find food and prey. They also have the same dexterity in their noses as humans do on their hands.
The most effective advice I can offer is to ensure that all your food items are stored in coolers and secured. Being left out could ensure that bears will be in a position to smell it from a distance and could be looking to find some tasty treats.
The Food Smell
It is also possible to purchase an Ursack that can be used to hide and secure your food from curious bears. Another option I’ve tried is to buy food bags that block odors to make sure that no bears smell my tasty food.
If you are a fan of fishing, then store your fish in an odor-proof bag, cook and consume it, or dispose of the fish at a good distance from your camping site.
Another suggestion is to wash and tidy your camping area. Ensure your garbage is properly disposed of, and do not leave food out all day.
Based on the location, you’re permitted to spray bears to shield you and your campsite from bears who get too close to be comfortable.
A campsite with a bit of noise can stop bears from getting close. In general, bears only enter a campground when they aren’t expecting to see animals or people, and they prefer to remain in their own world. If you’ve got food left out and go to sleep, bears are more likely to come in and look for the best food items.
Be sure to keep your dog under control
Bears are known to detect you far away. They will also detect the scent of your dog as well.
I greatly advocate taking dogs with me on trips to the campsite. However, owners need to ensure that their dogs behave properly in an area known to be a bear-friendly zone. Bears are curious and could wander about and come across your dog if they’ve been unsupervised on the leash. I do not want this to happen!
The Roundup of Avoiding Bears When Camping
You’ve learned that bears have a smell greater than you’ll likely walk in a single day. As a hiking and camping lover, I will always strive to provide you with the most accurate information and advice however my last suggestion to those looking to stay clear of bears is to make sure you research the area where you’ll be setting up camp in. If a location is well-known as a hotspot of bears, you might want to reconsider your decision.
Lastly, I’d like to suggest that encountering issues with bears is unusual in light of the number of campers. However, that doesn’t mean you should get lazy and not plan ahead.
Be secure and know that all bears will be aware of your presence before you even put the tent. Make sure you don’t give them any reason to stop by and see you.