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Is it safe to tent camp in Yosemite? Afraid to get eaten by a bear!

Is it safe to tent camp in Yosemite? Afraid to get eaten by a bear!

Old Jun 14th, 2009, 06:24 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2004
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Is it safe to tent camp in Yosemite? Afraid to get eaten by a bear!

I know many people camp in Yosemite, but with all the warnings of bears, what keeps them from getting into tents? I know that all food must be kept in bear lockers, but how does the bear know my daughters are not a tasty morsel? Is it safe?
bibsie is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2009, 06:32 PM
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The bear will have no interest in your tent if there is no food in there. They know where the good stuff is, and it's in cars! They leave tents alone, really.
MonicaRichards is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2009, 07:22 PM
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When we camp in bear country we always close the no-see-um mesh and zip the fly up on our tent. So far it has worked for almost 30 years.... No bears have bothered us yet...:-?...

Enjoy your camping experience.
RedRock is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2009, 07:50 PM
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In Yosemite you have to keep anything with a scent in the bear containers including gum, toothpaste, deoderant, etc. If you do that, you aren't going to have any problems. They even have new rules that any food item or container has to be within arms reach or in the bear container. I use unscented deoderant when camping too.

Black bears typically don't attack just to attack. You would have to come between a mom and it's cub or maybe not let go of what you were eating.

One year we were camping there and after dark a bear walked along the other side of the table from where I was standing. I knew he was coming because we heard the pans clanking coming closer and closer. The people next to us were putting things in the bear container at the time, but the bear came up on them before they could close it and they retreated to their vehicle. The bear grabbed a bag that had bananas and trail bars and just ran off to enjoy his find. All they want is the food.

utahtea is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2009, 07:51 PM
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Follow the park ranger's rules (re storage of food) and you will have no problems. (This means no granola bars, no oranges-NOTHING of food or food residue in the tent. No wrappers, no empty beer or soda cans... bears have pretty powerful noses!

Follow the rules- you'll be plenty safe.
sarge56 is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2009, 08:43 PM
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The most recent recorded case of a wild bear killing a human anywhere in California (let alone Yosemite) for any reason (food or whatever) was in '75 -- that's *18*75.

You're more likely to be killed by a drunk driver of a Yugo.
PaulRabe is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2009, 10:04 PM
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My personal experience with bears in campgrounds - due to a stupid move by my sister- was to slap flip flops together and they ran away. They are alot like dogs - well big dogs- but they are really not that interested in you.
Suzie is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2009, 01:10 AM
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as long as you don't leave food lying around, bears are unlikely to come anywhere near your camp

if they do happen to wander in, they will run for the hills as soon as they see you.

bears are very timid creatures except when they are cornered or protecting their young
lisa29 is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2009, 04:17 AM
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There is some evidence that bears are attracted by menstruating women, but I think it is grizzly bears, and they are a long way from Yosemite.

We have had the "bears-walking-around-the-camp-ground-clanking-things" experience in Nantahala National Forest in NC. They grunt and smell bad, too. My wife slept soundly because she thought they couldn't open the zipper on the tent!

I went back to sleep because I knew we had no food in the tent and had washed our hands and faces thoroughly to remove the scent.
Ackislander is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2009, 09:28 AM
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Black bears aren't interested in eating people.
november_moon is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2009, 10:24 AM
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Your car is more at risk than your tent, unless you are eating cinnamon buns and bacon in your tent.

Pay attention and follow the directions exactly. Bears learn to investigate anything that even looks like a grocery bag. They will tear a car open to get to a bag or an interesting smell. So, do not leave anything visible in your car.
Marginal is offline  
Old Jun 16th, 2009, 07:47 PM
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A big thanks to all of you for helping to put my mind at ease. Looking forward to an enjoyable, scenic vacation.
bibsie is offline  
Old Jun 17th, 2009, 10:27 AM
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We've gone every year, seen a bear (or two) from time to time, but usually the only bear you'll see from a tent is a person (usually a kid) pretending to be a bear.

One other thing about cars and food -- they recognize plastic food containers, so get those out of the car and if you eat food in the car as you're driving to Yosemite, make sure to pick up and get rid of all the crumbs in the car. Since we have a 6 hour drive up to Yosemite, we put table cloths and/or towels on the seat and on the floor of the car, making clean up, once we get out of the car, a breeze.
Surfergirl is offline  
Old Jun 17th, 2009, 02:27 PM
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My husband and I tent camped in Yosemite in the 80's. We were awakened in the night by the blood-curdling, hair-raising screams of a mountain lion. I have NEVER heard anything like it. I literally froze in my sleeping bag. It did not sound like it was near our campsite, btw. We didn't say a word to each other and both drifted back to sleep eventually. My first words in the morning were "WHAT WAS THAT?!"
We have camped in several national parks w/o bear problems. Be smart and keep smelly stuff where it belongs and have fun!
minnehappylis is offline  
Old Jun 18th, 2009, 04:32 PM
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I know this may sound wide-eyed and gee-wizz but, coming from New Zealand where there are no wild animals, reptiles or other nasties in the wild that will harm you, the thought of bears wandering around accommodation areas has a bit of a WOW factor to it. Are we likely to encounter bears wandering about in Yosemite Village? During the day or just at night?
kiwi_rob is offline  
Old Jun 18th, 2009, 04:53 PM
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> Are we likely to encounter bears wandering about in Yosemite
> Village? During the day or just at night?

Fortunately, no -- the number of bears wandering into human areas of Yosemite has substantially decreased over the last few years. When they do come to destroy property in order to get food, they usually do so at night.
PaulRabe is offline  
Old Jun 18th, 2009, 06:06 PM
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K-rob, I have hiked in most of the mountainous areas of the US throughout my life and have been to Yosemite 3 times. I only recently saw my first bear, distantly, off in a meadow far from the valley in Yosemite.
Birdie is offline  
Old Jun 18th, 2009, 06:23 PM
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kiwi_rob, go to youtube.com and search on 'yosemite bear' and you'll see dozens of videos of bears wandering around at Yosemite. Here's a good one, showing the damage they can do with cars: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9T9Il_Q3YY They hook their claws under the window glass and yank the windows out and climb into the vehicles for food.

As for the danger, several years ago myself and a friend hiked to Merced Lake high camp in May, about 3 weeks before it opened. Lot of snow, hard to hike the 14 miles. Famous for bears because so many people camp there.

We were the only people there because of the deep snow. As we cooked our meal a momma bear with 2 small 2nd summer cubs came up and sat close by, watching us. After we ate we took the next two days food and hung it about 15 ft off the ground where someone had tied a wire the previous year. The mama bear climbed up and yanked on the wire until it broke, dropping the food to the gound. I tried to save some of the food but the bears swarmed on it and wouldn't leave it, even though we tried banging pots and pans and yelling. They just growled and wouldn't move off the food sack.

So all night we could hear the bears nearby growling and ripping up the food packets and crunching the freeze-dry food -- rip, crunch, crunch, growl.

Next day we hiked 14 miles out in the snow without a morsel of food, not too happy with the bears. The snack bar at Happy Isles never looked so good! We were never in any danger of being attacked or harmed by the bears, but they did come up to the tent and sniff during the night. I wouldn't have wanted to have any food in the tent.

Check the youtube videos of the bears breaking into the cars ...
Bill_H is offline  
Old Jun 18th, 2009, 07:36 PM
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Thanks for that information. Bear 37 was certainly right into it, Bill.

With that amount of damage being caused to cars, does anyone know if any of the car rental companies or their insurers have a set position regarding that type of damage?
kiwi_rob is offline  
Old Jun 18th, 2009, 07:48 PM
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In the last week of April we spent 5 nights in Yosemite. We had great warm weather but only caught one brief glimpse of a bear in one of the meadows.
jrecm is offline  

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