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  Odor Free...?
  Posted by: jlockard on Sep-14-11 9:18 PM (EST)

Hi Cliff,

I your article you iterate and reiterate that a bear won't get into what he can't see or smell. You say you put your food packs in the woods, away from camp and off the trails. I'm curious what you do with your food so that there is no odor. Do you put all the food in double sealed plastic bags? Do you use a bear barrel or other bear proof container? Reason I ask is there are things people do which they think seals in odors, but isn't actually effective. I'd prefer to be effective.


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  Response to "odor" question
  Posted by: cliffjacobson on Sep-18-11 3:53 PM (EST)
Virtually all my foods are either canned (where permitted) or vacuum-sealed (a vacuum-sealing machine is well worth owning). Fresh foods, like steaks are used the first night. Meats that keep longer, like smoked sausages and bacon, are vacuum-sealed. As to "bear barrels", forget it; a determined black bear can bust right through a plastic barrel in a matter of minutes, if not seconds. In Alaskan National Parks, like those that border the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, park authorities require paddlers to keep food in special steel barrels. These barrels have unique closing devices and don't have straps or handles that a bear could grab. They are not waterproof. Again, I submit that you will not deter a bear by "hanging" food. I made one big mistake in my article: I said that bears weren't very smart. Wrong! They are one of the smartest animals on the planet. Not only can they figure things out, they can teach their children! Case in point: There's a bear in the Adirondacks called "Yellow Yellow". She's a shy, rather small bear who has figured out how to get into the "Bearvault 500"--one of the most popular bearproof devices for food. The company developed an improved model: Yellow-Yellow figured that one out in about two weeks. Interestingly, many humans couldn't figure out how to open the container until they read the directions! The rule is: if you can open a container using your mouth, and WITHOUT using your "opposing thumbs",a bear can too!


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