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Bears around Grand Tetons Campgrounds

Old Apr 2nd, 2012, 05:41 PM
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Bears around Grand Tetons Campgrounds

I'm thinking about making a trip out to Grand Tetons and am considering the options for sleeping. I do like tenting but am concerned about bears. Are they frequently around the campgrounds? Would renting a cabin be recommended over camping of any sort? Thanks for the input.

Clayton
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Old Apr 2nd, 2012, 06:02 PM
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If you like to camp, take suggested precautions and camp.

I haven't seen bears in Grand Teton NP, but I've seem one or more every time I've been to Yellowstone. They are easy to find because they are surrounded by photo-taking tourists who don't heed the admonition to keep 100 yards between themselves and bears:
http://www.nps.gov/grte/parknews/news-release-12-16.htm

HTTY
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Old Apr 2nd, 2012, 06:06 PM
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Bears are common. All food items must be put in the bear boxes provided on each site. http://www.grand.teton.national-park.com/camping.htm
If you leave food in a car you are asking for trouble.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2012, 06:08 PM
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Plenty of bears in the Tetons. We saw only one, but saw 5 or 6 in Yellowstone. Take a look at the photos at the Dock for the boat across Jenny Lake. They have what seemed like hundreds of photos of bears within 1/4 mile of the docks and area there.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2012, 06:19 PM
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> am concerned about bears
> Are they frequently around the campgrounds?

Depends what you mean by "frequently."
Because the bears are not in a zoo, there is no way to predict the odds -- however unlikely -- of an aggressive bear showing up at a Grand Teton campground. When an aggressive bear IS found to be around a campground, the Rangers will usually close the area -- but there's no way to be 100% certain your tenting area won't be the one that this hypothetical bear first makes an appearance.

However, if you practice "Bear Aware" principles while camping, you're pretty much guaranteed to be MORE LIKELY to have trouble with driving to Grand Teton than with bears while there. After all, there has NEVER been a fatal bear attack within Grand Teton National Park; I can't say the same for U.S. highways.

> Would renting a cabin be recommended over camping of any sort?

You're about as likely to face problematic bears no matter where you sleep. The large majority of bear attacks on humans occur while the person is awake and hiking, very few occur while the person is in a tent.

If you drive 500 miles to Grand Teton and then return, you're more likely to die from a collision with a Yugo than you are from a bear attack while in your tent. Your death won't make headlines in the former, but you'd still be dead. You have more to fear about driving to Grand Teton than you do about a bear attack while tent camping there.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2012, 09:16 AM
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We've camped there several times and never had trouble or heard about trouble. Yellowstone--some, Glacier--a lot but not the Tetons. Not saying it couldn't happen but if you follow bear protocol you should be okay.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2012, 12:52 PM
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The "problem" Bear only becomes a "problem" after he eats someone - (the bear obviously not following "bear protocol" ) which has happened in Yellowstone and other parks.

And the Black Bear is much more likely to attack humans than the bigger cousin - the Grizzly - a member of the Brown Bear family, rarely found anymore in the lower 48.

But decades ago - Griz used to have a ferocious reputation, according to what old time hunters told me - when I grew up in Oregon back in the 50's.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2012, 05:38 PM
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Camping is pretty safe in Yellowstone and Tetons, but you never really know for sure ...

Two things to take care of that will reduce your odds of a bad bear incident while camping:

1) Absolutely do not keep any food in your tent, nor anything that even smells like food (like say the shirt you wore when you pan-fried fish for dinner that night, or scented deodorants etc). Most of the campground bears are there because sloppy campers have left food out and bears get used to it and keep coming back, as they get used to people and lose their fear of them.

Also, don't leave out ice chests or such on the tables near the tent. This is the kind of place where you want to cook as odor free as possible.

2) If you have to get up in the middle of the night, typically to visit the rest room, be careful not to startle a bear. Take a flashlight (a BIG bright flashlight), walk slowly, check the area carefully and maybe even make a little noise (not enough to wake up your fellow campers, but some noise).

I worked in Yellowstone a couple of summers and while there were a couple of bear maulings in campgrounds (both times over food) no one was killed, though someone was killed just outside the park in a campground at night). In one incident a dumb-ass had left an ice chest out on the picnic table and a sow with cubs got into it and the genius took a stick and tried to run the cubs off, not seeing the mom. He got mauled, but he probably deserved it.

There have been a few incidents in the back country where the camper, typically solo but at least once a pair, did nothing obviously wrong and were still attacked and killed (and in two cases I vividly remember, eaten) so you never know for sure, but I used to camp (carefully) in the backcountry a lot up there and statistically you have a better chance of dying in a car wreck than being killed by a bear.

If you're really going to worry about it then rent a cabin instead, but typically you're safe.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2012, 05:42 PM
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the Black Bear is much more likely to attack humans than the bigger cousin - the Grizzly

This is definitely NOT true in Yellowstone and the Tetons, where black bear attacks are rare.

the Grizzly - a member of the Brown Bear family, rarely found anymore in the lower 48.

I think the greater Yellowstone ecosystem, which includes the Tetons, has over 500 grizzly bears, the highest population density in the lower 48. And by far the most attacks, including fatal attacks.
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Old Apr 4th, 2012, 03:25 AM
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Bill: If there aren't that many Black Bears in and around Yellowstone - definitely agree. Didn't know there were 500 Griz in Yellowstone.

In the Cascades - and most of the rest of the US - the Black Bear is not only much more prevelant - but the one who occasionally goes crazy and attacks someone, and will finish the job.
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Old Apr 4th, 2012, 03:27 AM
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Fyi: http://ext.nrs.wsu.edu/publications/Blackbears1.htm
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Old Apr 4th, 2012, 07:28 AM
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The best place to compare the relative danger of black bear to brown bear:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of..._North_America

Total fatalities from bear attacks since 1980:
Black: 32
Brown: 39
I'll be the first to say that the two deaths associated with Tim Treadwell were pure, unadulterated stupidity. Also that of Donna Munson, who had been feeding wild bears at home for a decade despite repeated warnings not to do so.

Fatalities in the wild (ie, not an attack by captive bear that got loose):
Black: 30
Brown: 38

Fatalities in Yellowstone area:
Black: zero
Brown: six
Also seven other deaths from brown bears in Montana.
Over this period there have been no deaths from black bears closer than Utah.
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Old Apr 4th, 2012, 08:04 AM
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I wonder of those 30 and 38 numbers how many were carrying bear spray?? I have to admit, I don't think I could ever camp in a tent in Yellowstone. I am sure it is safer than driving there if one takes the proper precautions. If one were attacked in a tent, I wonder what the bear spray would do to the human in the tent is sprayed too.
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Old Apr 4th, 2012, 09:45 AM
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"the Grizzly - a member of the Brown Bear family, rarely found anymore in the lower 48."


"I think the greater Yellowstone ecosystem, which includes the Tetons, has over 500 grizzly bears, the highest population density in the lower 48. And by far the most attacks, including fatal attacks."


And just about as many in Glacier National Park. Grizzlies are a VERY common sighting in Glacier.
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Old Apr 4th, 2012, 11:49 AM
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If you have ever had just a whiff of pepper/mace/bear spray - you will be almost incapacitated.

It can work for discouraging curious bears, but some professional hunters in Alaska are still dubious that a big charging Brown Bear will be that much affected by the spray before they do some serious damage to your body.

I grew up hunting and camping in Oregon - and very rarely does one come across bears in the deep woods, but in places like Yellowstone - where they are much closer to humans and lose their fear - they can become dangerous, or at least more aggressive - especially if you are near one of their food soures, or what they think is their food source.

But what would worry me the most is coming across a sow - who had her cubs nearby. She will sometimes run off a larger boar twice her size, and we are but a fraction of that.
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Old Apr 4th, 2012, 03:01 PM
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I recall more news about grizzlies in Glacier NP than in Yellowstone. For a while at least, some of the isolated campgrounds in Glacier were surrounded by chain link fencing to keep out the bears.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca/...57623117942088 taken in Glacier.
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Old Apr 4th, 2012, 07:34 PM
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Personaly speaking, I'd be more worried about Moose. I lived in the Tetons for about 6 months and saw more than one car totaled. Happened to a friend of mine. I asked him what happened to the Moose, and he said it just wandered off.

Heading south out of Jackson Lake Lodge is a prime spot for collisions and near collisions.
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Old Apr 6th, 2012, 06:29 PM
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I have backpacked and camped in the back country in Yellowstone and was scrupulous about bear precautions. I have never seen a bear while hiking in Yellowstone--just saw them from the road. On the flip side, I don't trust campgrounds--bears know there is food there!! This is one place where I advocate staying in a hotel at night and hiking during the day. I always wore a dog bell/goat bell that made noise so the bears know I am coming and carry bear spray just in case.
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Old Apr 6th, 2012, 07:44 PM
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A year ago, we camped for a week at Signal Mountain in the Tetons and saw a bear every day in the campground. She was well known by the camp staff and as soon as she showed up the park rangers were there to keep their eye on her and "scare" her away if she started to get into anything. One evening we were even sited for leaving a bottle of dish detergent on the picnic table. They take human/bear safety very seriously. I highly recommend camping...one of the most beautiful places to visit.
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