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Brucester
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PostThu Feb 29, 2024 6:51 pm 
I'm old so talking to myself is normal. That is until I see others then I feel weird and pretend I'm taking a call.... In doing this I'm also warning animals a strange human is approaching. lol.gif It works, I seldom see animals. Will small dogs may attract the attention of large animals? Maybe. I wouldn't worry but it's good being vigilant. Go with your gut and do what makes you feel better until you're confident. It's good to be cautious. Happy trails!

Chief Joseph
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gb
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PostFri Mar 01, 2024 2:31 am 
treeswarper wrote:
I blew my whistle that was pinned to my vest when a bear kept ambling my way. The whistle was so loud that when blown, it made my ears ring. The bear seemed to be deaf and kept walking towards me. I began waving my arms and yelling, he seemed to be deaf and blind. Then finally, when I was going to go to my last resort--my paint gun, he stopped, looked a bit surprised and changed direction. I'm just not sure about how bears think. Another bear took off at a run when a metal hardhat was beaten on to make noise. Maybe you should carry a hardhat?
Or tinfoil..... Honestly, though in Washington bears are really cool to see and of little concern. Running, hiking with a dog, or hiking in the dark, I might be concerned about Mountain Lions, but not bears. Bearspray is adequate for any occasion. In the interior of BC when alone and when visibility is low, I will hike with bearspray in hand.

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cdestroyer
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PostFri Mar 01, 2024 6:38 am 
Bear Spray Inventor Chuck Jonkel Dies in Montana May 2, 2016 By Tracy Anderson The famed grizzly bear expert and inventor of bear spray Chuck Jonkel was remembered as a man who changed our relationship with bears. Bear spray is an essential item these days that most every backcountry hiker carries. Delivering a massive dose of pepper spray, a canister of bear spray is as common as a water bottle, especially in the National Parks. Back in the 1980s, Jonkel and a friend were looking for a non-lethal way to deter bears when they began testing pepper spray. The idea sparked numerous incarnations of bear spray that are now commonly sold at outdoor stores some 30 years later. Not only did bear spray keep people safe, it also may have educated a generation of bears to stay away from humans. Gary Moses, a ranger at Yellowstone National Park, supposes in a High Country News article that the number of bear maulings may be going down despite the increased visitors precisely because of bear spray. It’s the mothers that are teaching their cubs to stay away from the stuff and people have it. Besides inventing bear spray, Jonkel was a well-regarded grizzly bear expert who was last teaching at the University of Montana. He studied bears all over the world and was an outspoken critic of wildlife management in many cases earning him a reputation as a gadfly. Jonkel died at the age of 85. At his funeral in April, he was remembered as a pioneer in grizzly bear research. “Mr. Jonkel was truly a pioneer in grizzly bear science,” said Leanne Marten, Regional Forester for the Forest Service’s Northern Region, according to the Missoulian. “Montana will miss him greatly. Everything we know about grizzly bears is due to Mr. Jonkel’s expertise.”

DadFly, pula58
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Anne Elk
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PostMon Mar 04, 2024 3:21 pm 
I think a cougar on the prowl could pick off a small dog in the blink of an eye and nothing (like whistles aforehand) would make a bit of difference. Consider recent and past reports of cougars attacking cyclists. Member Treeswarper and her canines have considerable forest experience and lots of situational awareness; she's an outlier in that regard. Just my two cents.

"There are yahoos out there. It’s why we can’t have nice things." - Tom Mahood

Chief Joseph
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Chief Joseph
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PostMon Mar 04, 2024 5:31 pm 
I don't worry much at all about bears unless I'm in grizzly country, then I sing to make sure that they know I am around. We were heading to 3 fingers and just below goat flats we encountered a mother black bear and a cub snacking on berries maybe 40' off the trail. They just looked at us and kept on eating. Cougars are obviously a different story. If you have a smaller dog it might be a good idea to have it on a leash, although I have heard of coyotes taking small dogs right off the leash never to be seen again. At night in your tent, probably not much to worry about predators. As far as hiking solo, there are other dangers besides wildlife, one is getting wet and hypothermia as was mentioned. So it's a good idea to carry fire starter, homemade, melted candle wax dripped onto dryer lint works well, also cedar will burn when wet. Another solo danger is by somehow becoming incapacitated, but of course an emergency beacon can save your bacon in most cases. I just watched a Youtube video of a hiker and his dog backpacking in an off trail, very remote area of the Winds. He stepped onto a boulder and it moved, he lost his balance, fell and the boulder trapped his legs. He could not free himself. He survived for several days on the food he carried and there was a small amount of snow that he could reach that he melted with his stove. But once that ran out he was toast, sadly he was only 30' from a lake.

Go placidly amid the noise and waste, and remember what comfort there may be in owning a piece thereof.

Anne Elk
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Bootpathguy
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PostMon Mar 04, 2024 7:37 pm 
https://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8027010&highlight=bhair+spray

Experience is what'cha get, when you get what'cha don't want
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NorthwestWanderer
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PostMon Mar 04, 2024 7:56 pm 
Black bears aren't much of an issue until you are in Northern Alberta or BC in early october when the food stress is at its apex then they can behave weird. Always be very aware and vigilant in Grizzly country. Mid-September toward winter I also wouldn't recommend solo trips in Grizzly country, especially in the Absarokas. Also I'm not a fan with the way some national park bears behave, they behave more natural on Forest Service Land / Designated Wilderness.

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kiliki
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PostMon Mar 04, 2024 8:29 pm 
torey221 wrote:
Is it okay to blow a whistle occasionally on a trail when hiking alone to ward off animals (mountain lions, bears, etc.)? I know three blows signal distress.
As mentioned, we know for a fact that bears don't care about sounds like bear bells. They don't associate the noise with something they should avoid. It seems like whistles would be the same. They sound like marmots after all. Unless you hear bear or cougar biologists say that this is a valid technique, why do it? You are just going to annoy or freak people out. I think you are better off learning more about these animals might attack and what actually might deter it. I.e. https://shop.glacier.org/bear-attacks-their-causes-and-avoidance-1/ And also focusing on the things that are more likely to be safety issues when solo hiking (injuries, creek crossings...). Have a Garmin Inreach or similar for sure.

Walkin' Fool
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Gil
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PostMon Mar 04, 2024 10:56 pm 
In decades of camping, hunting and backpacking, I've never had a problem with a bear or a mountain lion. In fact, I've only ever seen ONE mountain lion, although once while solo in the Pasayten, I left camp to scramble around on a peak and returned late in the day to find lion tracks on top of mine. So, I think that unless you get very unlucky, you're pretty safe out there. But then, I wasn't out with a small dog.

Friends help the miles go easier. Klahini

Bootpathguy
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kiliki
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PostTue Mar 05, 2024 9:08 am 
I should have also mentioned that studies show that the human voice at normal volume is the most effective at letting bears know you are there. Not yelling. Normal voice. I learned this in bear school at Katmai National Park. Like others I've never had an issue with bears--in WA they've always run away from me--and have only seen a cougar once, from the car. This is in 35 years of hiking.

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Chief Joseph
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PostTue Mar 05, 2024 3:29 pm 
I was hiking in the Bob Marshall a few years back and saw what looked to be a yearling or so grizzly on the trail about 50 yards ahead of me. It did not see me. I watched it for a minute and then I made a semi-loud, "Hrrrrrmmmph" sound and the bear turned tail and ran back down the gully from whence it came.

Go placidly amid the noise and waste, and remember what comfort there may be in owning a piece thereof.
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Mountainfisherman
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PostTue Mar 05, 2024 6:35 pm 
The vast majority of bear/human contacts occur outside hunting seasons-I imagine the majority of bears are never hunted-and those that are probably don't live to learn the lesson. Human activity, sounds, smell and 'size' are not experienced often in their domain and something out of the norm makes them wary-virtually all contact results in bears running away, their best defense against the unknown. The reality is that bears who live close to humans, get into garbage, become accustomed to them and are often the most dangerous bears.

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Ski
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PostWed Mar 06, 2024 8:11 am 
kiliki wrote:
Like others I've never had an issue with bears--in WA they've always run away from me--and have only seen a cougar once, from the car. This is in 35 years of hiking.
I've seen exactly three bears in the wild. First two ran away like the devil was chasing them. Third one never saw me and just ambled off into the forest. I've seen exactly two cougars in the wild - both of them from a vehicle, and both of them in the same area. That's in over 60 years of hiking in territory heavily populated by black bears. Regret never changed the past. Worry never changed the future. Don't worry so much about it - it's interfering with your ability to appreciate your surroundings.

"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."

Chief Joseph
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treeswarper
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PostWed Mar 06, 2024 8:36 am 
Anne Elk wrote:
I think a cougar on the prowl could pick off a small dog in the blink of an eye and nothing (like whistles aforehand) would make a bit of difference. Consider recent and past reports of cougars attacking cyclists. Member Treeswarper and her canines have considerable forest experience and lots of situational awareness; she's an outlier in that regard. Just my two cents.
You keep the dog in your sight. You pay attention to how the dog is acting. Dogs get spooked just like people. My Used Dog was out with me and we were hiking a closed road to get to a timber stand. While going through a plantation, I noticed a bear had been girdling a lot of trees--it was spring. Then we both noticed fresh bear poop. I kept going but at one point, the Used Dog's hair was raised and he began barking and growling. There was another place we could go and get some work done, so we went to plan B. He acted extremely spooked while on a trail above the community. I paid attention and we turned around. Later, I heard there were a couple of cougars hanging out in that area. I think some of the local guys finally went after them (secretly) with hounds and chased them away or........? The best thing The Used Dog did was to appear out of the brush, and quietly sit beside me and stare. A crazy guy was annoying me and becoming a bit threatening. As soon as he saw my dog, he quickly left. My dog did no growling or threatening, he just wandered out of the brush, sat down, and stared at the guy who was yelling. That dog could read my mind.

What's especially fun about sock puppets is that you can make each one unique and individual, so that they each have special characters. And they don't have to be human––animals and aliens are great possibilities

Chief Joseph
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treeswarper
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PostWed Mar 06, 2024 8:44 am 
The little dog I have now is not so reliable. I have to keep a taser collar on her and beep her back into my view. She went into the brush and flushed out......a full grown moose! I was on a bicycle. The dog looked shocked once she saw what she scared up and quit the chase. The moose was stopped and staring at me. I was fumbling for a camera for just an instant, and then decided it was no time to be doing that, the moose looked very unhappy so I pedaled away at a fast speed with my dog in the lead. The moose stayed put. We do have more moose around than in the past. I used to never see them and only tracks in the snow infrequently. The fires in areas have killed the conifers and willows have grown in making for moose browse. One was spotted walking down the street I live on.

What's especially fun about sock puppets is that you can make each one unique and individual, so that they each have special characters. And they don't have to be human––animals and aliens are great possibilities

Chief Joseph
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