Stepping up your food protection from Yogi while in the woods

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Time spent in the great outdoors is almost always enjoyable. In some cases, it is enjoyed to excess, but what is a good camping trip without a few beers? Who doesn’t like sitting around the camp fire, sharing stories with a cold beer in hand?

Camping and beer drinking are two activities often savored together. We’ve all packed our camping gear and right along with it was a cooler of delicious campfire food and our favorite beer. In some cases, you may be hoping to keep your favorite beer and snacks all to yourself, but depending on the campground setup and some of the unsavory types lingering in the woods, your beer may wind up getting swiped when you aren’t looking.

Historically there have been many cases of the hunter becoming the hunted, but situations in which the hunter’s beer became the hunted were less common until now. Though many hunting camps and recreational areas do offer bear-proof food storage, people are still caught off guard by the unexpected actions of bears. In the past, an incident took place at Baker Lake Resort indicating that though the hunter or camper or just about anyone human enjoys beer, so do bears. Additionally, they have a beer preference it seems.

After a campground bender, a black bear was found passed out. The guilty bear in question got hands on with a camper’s cooler, raiding it of the beer it contained. Sampling a Busch beer, the bear decided it wasn’t for him before moving on to Rainier beer which apparently was more pleasing to the palate as the bear went on to consume 36 cans after puncturing them with teeth and claws. Fish and Wildlife Agents had to shoo the bear away, but he returned the following morning after sleeping off his hangover. This resulted in a need to trap the bear for relocation, and in the trap were typical bear snacks along with a couple more Rainier beers for his drinking pleasure.

While this story is quite the humorous bear tale, the fact of the matter is that having food or drink that appeals to bears can result in a dangerous situation. Bears may not have an appetite for beer specifically, but they are strongly drawn to food or drink with odor. Add to that satisfying calories and a sense of fullness and a bear is having a pretty good day, so why not kick back a few cold ones along with anything else tasty you might have brought along?

With all of this in mind, there is no time like the present to prepare for the upcoming big game seasons by making plans to protect your goodies while in the field. Whether you are a day hunter or an overnighter who camps, keeping your food safe also equates to keeping yourself safe. Since food and beverages can be smelled by bears, it is vital that you take precautions to keep those items from becoming a source of temptation that draws bears to you. Here’s how:

1. Use a bear bag in order to suspend tasty morsels well above the reach of bears. In order to do this, however, you will need a couple of trees about 20 feet apart, some rope, a rock, and a lot of patience. As this video demonstrates, hanging bear bags doesn’t always come easy, so be sure to allow yourself plenty of daylight to get the job done.

2. Utilize bear canisters, which are actually required in many places. These rugged containers are bear-proof, keeping them and any other pesky critters from being able to access your dinner. All bear canisters must be certified by the National Park Service for guaranteed effectiveness so be sure to purchase one that meets their standards.

3. Another possibility is a Kevlar bag called the Ursack. It is said to prevent animal entry and does not require hanging from a tree. However, it is possible that a bear could make off with it, so securing it in some manner is necessary. It is also not always considered a replacement for a bear canister in the eyes of some rules and regulations.

Ultimately drinking and hunting are two activities that do not mix as every responsible hunter is aware. However, regardless of the type of food or drink you bring along on your big game hunting excursions, it is important to take protective measures to ensure your own safety as well as that of your food. You may be on the hunt for a bear, but chances are you do not want to find one in your tent with you at midnight nibbling on a Snickers bar, so cover your bases ahead of time when it comes to making bear preparationss.