Here are some food handling black bear avoidance ideas
The very best way to avoid black bears is to backpack and hike when the bears are all hibernating in the winter. Months December, January, February, and March are when the bears are hibernating. Another aspect of this strategy is to NOT go into the dens / caves where the bears are hibernating and stir them out of hibernation, so hiking off trail in the vicinity of a cave with a bear hibernating is potentially problematic. See the graphs of all fatal black bear attacks versus month that the attack took place.
Buy a wire rodent proof food bag/cage, and buy a vapor proof food storage ziplock plastic bag to put inside of the wire food bag. Next find a location where there is two trees so you can suspend the food bag 10 or more feet off the ground, suspended between limbs on two trees separated about 15 to 25 feet apart. Put toothpaste, perfumed toiletries, and all food bags or food items including granola and granola bars, etc. Place this food suspension system about 100 yards from your campsite, better if it's close to the trail. Scout out the site for hanging the food in daylight, and put the ropes up in the tree as soon as possible after you make camp. Put food and toiletries in the bag as soon as you're done with those items including toiletries, preferrably while still daylight.
Be careful not to spill food on your clothing when you eat. if you do spill food, then either clean the garment with soap in a stream, or treat that garment the same way you treat garbage or food. Bottom line, if you don't spill food then it's not a worry.
Don't cook your food close to your campsite, and don't spill any food. Leave nothing that has any kind of smell of food. Burning doesn't eliminate the food smell unless it's 100% turned to ash. Handle all trash like you handle your food items, and seal inside vapor proof bags to be hung out of reach of critters.
Bring dehydrated food on your backpacking trip. It doesn't weigh as much, and it's so much easier to handle when backpacking logistically than hydrated food.
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Last Update: April 26, 2015
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