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Sleeping in minivan, bear safety tips?
#21
Never had a problem with bears in MI. Over 40 years in the woods, since I was a youngin'.

Now raccoons and chipmunks, they are a different story!
Those guys get brave as heck.
  I was sitting at the picnic table, 10 feet from the van..with the side door open. A chipmunk ran under me, to the van and hopped right into the van. Chased him out, but he returned time and time again. Hanging your food in some parks/sites is advised. People can also steal your food, if its strung up.


Raccoons will stand their ground and sometimes fight back. Especially in the parks, where they have learned where a free meal is. As soon as its dark, raccoons will pop out and cruise for food. Guaranteed.
A friend of mine woke one night with a raccoon in his tent. The raccoon had opened the zipper and wandered  in.  Angry  He screamed, the raccoon hissed, and a after few seconds of adrenaline, the raccoon scurried off into the night. A restless night for my friend though..

I use a hard sided cooler, with a stout bungie or two around the lid. Keeps the food safe from the little thieves.
I'll place the cooler away from where I'm sleeping, if possible. But some folks will steal those too.

A can of bear spray, when deployed inside a vehicle will burn/choke you too. And ruin the interior for a looong time.
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Kathleen (04-21-2017)
#22
One of the reasons I like having a dog or two...keeps the critters away from the food if I don't hang it.
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#23
Rainbow 
gargoyle, good stories. I've had many experiences with raccoons. They can sink their teeth through the palm of a hand and they are crazy smart. Used to live in my bosses foothills mansion with a big cat door and 10 cats. Coons came in every night and turned the kitchen upside down. They knew how to open every cupboard and drawer, and the giant tub with metal lid where the dry cat food was stored.

The worst night was Christmas Eve when I awoke to a great commotion. My boss and teenage son were in the greenhouse room with a broomstick trying to clobber a coon that climbed a tree, after it ate their beloved African Gray Parrot. They were going nuts. I told them to calm down and go to bed, I'd take care of it. A scared raccoon is not going to come down out of a tree just because you want it to.

I had no choice but to return to bed. Was really glad it was gone when I got up in the AM.

Will keep an eye out for the chipmunks, the little invaders. It's too bad you can't keep a cooler outside without wondering if someone's going to steal it.
"Awareness is your greatest skill."
Tom Brown, Jr.
Author, Teacher, Outdoorsman
Tracker School, NJ
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#24
Too funny about racoons. One trip out to the Gulf Islands on my canoe, a racoon opened the zippered back pocket of my seat and stole my 12 guage flare gun. Was funny watching him going down the beach with it. Eventually I got it back but I think they are trying to collect weapons for an assault on us humans.

Always bungie my cooler when I bring one. Really can't believe people would steal your food? Where does this happen?
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#25
If your cooler can slide under the vehicle, you can tie it in place so that the bear can't pull it out easy.
If your vehicle bounces up and down in the middle of the night, you are either having a bit of fun, or there is a bear under you.
After a short while either way it will stop.
The world is not perfect, and neither am I. Get over it already. 
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southern.nomad (06-05-2017), Cammalu (04-21-2017)
#26
I was staying in Cades Cove Campground in the Smoky Park prior to a hike and cooking in a fire pit many years ago. There were steaks on the grate and corn in foil roasting in the coals. We heard some rustling in the bushes and out come two SKUNKS!! By shuffling my feet I was able to scare them back into the bushes but in a few minutes they were back, this time I had to shuffle more vigorously to turn them around. Third try was the charm and they went around me on both sides and headed for the steaks. I rescued the main course by a hair and was amazed to see the little buggers pull the corn from the fire and start peeling the foil and start chowing down. The steaks ended up being cooked in a pan in the back of the Travelall. What more could I do? It's not like you can kick a skunk or poke it with a stick without paying a price. There is the added danger of rabies when dealing with skunks and raccoons.
"We're all bozos on the bus, so might as well sit back and enjoy the ride."

Wavy Gravy

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Kathleen (04-21-2017)
#27
Funny story gsfish. Would have made a great video


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#28
I was car camping in Sequoia National park. In the morning a bear came into camp. It had ear tags and a radio collar on it, so it probably wasn't it's first time in camp. One of the campers started banging pots and pans together. The bear thought it was the dinner bell and made a bee line to them.
The pots and pans went flying into the air. Before they hit the ground, the guy was in his car.
The world is not perfect, and neither am I. Get over it already. 
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southern.nomad (06-05-2017)
#29
Ha raccoons are the worst! Me and my brother were camping one time and one kept pestering the crap outta us for food. We were on a motorcycle trip so only had a limited supply anyways. I kept chasing it off. He kept coming back. Long story short, he was the one distracting us while his friends were stealing the food! Yeap totally outsmarted us, I had to laugh after it was all said and done.

I hate telling people their fears are irrational, because everyone has something they are scared of and lecturing them on it does no one any good. But of all the things that could cause you harm on your trip, bears are about as far down on the list as you can get. Moose and Deer hurt and kill far more people per year than Bears do. Just the drive from Florida to Michigan would be more statistically dangerous. However, you gotta do what you gotta do to make yourself comfortable and feel safe, otherwise you probably won't enjoy the trip much. I think you'll be more at ease once you're on the road and have a few nights under your belt. I'd be more scared of ticks and Lyme disease.
I've learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life.
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#30
Rainbow 
(04-21-2017, 07:50 PM)gsfish Wrote: I was staying in Cades Cove Campground in the Smoky Park prior to a hike and cooking in a fire pit many years ago. There were steaks on the grate and corn in foil roasting in the coals. We heard some rustling in the bushes and out come two SKUNKS!! By shuffling my feet I was able to scare them back into the bushes but in a few minutes they were back, this time I had to shuffle more vigorously to turn them around. Third try was the charm and they went around me on both sides and headed for the steaks. I rescued the main course by a hair and was amazed to see the little buggers pull the corn from the fire and start peeling the foil and start chowing down. The steaks ended up being cooked in a pan in the back of the Travelall. What more could I do? It's not like you can kick a skunk or poke it with a stick without paying a price. There is the added danger of rabies when dealing with skunks and raccoons.
Haha, gsfish. Have to tread lightly where skunks are involved. I live in an enclosed yard with koi pond and waterfall. Veggie garden, fruit trees, grapes, racoon and skunk paradise. Early one morning a bear dashed through the fence and plunged into the koi pond. I thought it wanted a fish breakfast but it scrambled up the stone wall and jumped down the other side. Turns out fish and game were chasing it.

I sweet talked a skunk with raised tail when I spotted it at dusk in the the yard. Didn't want it to get riled up and spray. Sweet talk worked; it lowered it's tail and waddled off into the shrubs. Don't know what Id do if they tried to nab my steaks. Had no idea they were carnivores!
"Awareness is your greatest skill."
Tom Brown, Jr.
Author, Teacher, Outdoorsman
Tracker School, NJ
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