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Bears and Food

Lafayette, LA
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180 posts
31 reviews
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Bears and Food

I saw a video on you tube about a bear who broke into a car at clingmans dome a few years back. Now, the window was down a little and the food was in a booksack. We will be in a SUV and a Jeep. We do not have any trunks. What should we do with the food while we hike at stations through out the park. I was thinking of putting it in an ice chest. We plan to keep the windows up on the SUV, but the jeep has a soft top. The day we will be in the jeep we will not be in the SUV. Do you think that food in ziplock bags and inside of an ice chest is safe? If not what should I do?

Georgetown, Kentucky
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503 posts
21 reviews
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1. Re: Bears and Food

I was wondering the same thing. We just returned from Yosemite and the bears recognize that coolers are a source of food and would even break into a car because they saw an empty cooler. Yosemite has bear boxes at campsites where you can lock you food up safely. They also have the same bear boxes at some trailheads. So every evening we removed everything from our car and put in our bearbox. We have a bear come through our site and leave bear poo beside our rented SUV. The bear didn't bother us or our car. So we were glad to have used the bear box.

We are camping in Elkmont next month. Are the bears there as problematic as those in Yosemite? What is the best strategy for safely camping and touring with food. We plan to cook some meals at camp.

I am glad your asked the question.

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Tn
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1,998 posts
5 reviews
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2. Re: Bears and Food

At the camp you need to hang it from trees.

The bears in the Smokies do not come as close to people as often as other places but there is always the chance.

A food cooler does not keep them out.

Well I know I have seen a picture of how to hang your food and toiletries in more than one place but can not find it now. Came across this:

backpacker.com/may_2007_nature_how_to_hang_a…

Jacksonville...
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25 posts
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3. Re: Bears and Food

Maybe you could cover the cooler with a small blanket or something so if a bear does come they wouldn't see it. But I think that ziplocs and the ice chest should be okay. And stray chicken when we went we didn't see any bears at the campsite. Just make sure you keep all of your food in your trunk when you aren't there(they will even fine you if you don't).

Boston...
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5,524 posts
47 reviews
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4. Re: Bears and Food

Bears don't rely on sight, they use their nones. Such car break ins are rare since bears are so well managed in the Smokies. At the campground all you need to do is keep the food in the car while you're not there and not leave any food laying around, not tree hanging is necessary (that's a back country thing). You probably don't even need to do the whole zip-lock thing; we don't, anyway.

Boston...
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5,524 posts
47 reviews
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5. Re: Bears and Food

^Noses, not "nones"

Franklin, TN
1 post
1 review
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6. Re: Bears and Food

We were just at Elkmont. Rangers assured us that the bears don't break into cars and our food was fine in our SUV. But since bears' sense of smell is so remarkable, it doesn't seem wise to leave food in a soft-top car -- I really doubt you can smell-proof it enough!

Dayton, Ohio
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861 posts
10 reviews
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7. Re: Bears and Food

hmmm, wondering if bears could still smell food placed in a "Tucker Tote". Just an idea. I know when we went camping in Canada several years back, we had racoons that got into the camper top and in the tucker totes to steal our banana's.

8. Re: Bears and Food

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