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What's That Smell

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BadWolf, it seems I may have misunderstood where you were going with the idea of odorless products. I thought you were talking about ways to keep the bear from grabbing the toothpaste, soap, etc. themselves, particularly at night. (For which putting them in a bear bag should do the job.) But after your "thin mint" comment (I prefer the Tagalongs myself) I realize you are talking about avoiding products that would put us humans on the menu as well. From that perspective using no deodorant/antiperspirant might be best, but ONLY from that perspective. :) Also from that perspective the unscented varieties might be okay (even if they are not truly 100% odorless) because it becomes a matter of balance at that point, and our general human fragrance that the bears don't like will still be there. (Not that I actually know anything about this, it just seems like common sense.) As for toothpaste, if you find one that doesn't taste like anything, please post it here. My son was looking for one, because he can't stand the taste of mint. He ended up with cinnamon-flavored toothpaste, which I am not sure would be any better in bear country. Baking soda itself would work, though I'm not positive that would be completely odorless to the bear and that might be a tough sell to kids (and adults) who are used to toothpaste that is marketed for its wonderful taste.

 

I've never really noticed the scent of insect repellent, maybe because I was never particularly interested in inhaling it. :)

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It might be wise this time of year to buy up your yearly supply of bear repellent from the local fireworks tent.   :)

 

Units are not authorized, under any circumstances, to use a cannon or any other large-bore artillery device -- G2SS, pg53

 

:D

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Hmmmmm.  Lemme think about this.

 

G2SS vs a string of Black Cats to run the bears off.

 

Decision: The G2SS makes good fire tinder.

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Units are not authorized, under any circumstances, to use a cannon or any other large-bore artillery device -- G2SS, pg53

 

:D

 

Well, when it comes to using a large-bear artillery device, I'll stick with anything that makes a loud noise.  I learned the fire-cracker trick from the Canadian fishing resort owner.  If anyone knows how to run off a bear, it's these guys.

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The most eco-friendly approach, to me, is not to use them at all. Just smell like the primates we are. Should do the trick, lol. OTOH I usually go solo so.....

If a bear is after my food, UDAP bear spray seems to work great. That's what we use when we take courses into the Yellowstone area.

If I've accidentally stumbled on a kill they're guarding, there's not much of anything that will prevent me from being on the menu. It's a disquieting feeling to realize you're standing in the midst of an old kill and the 'wallow' is about 10 feet away and that you're one of the luckiest persons on the planet because you're not already dead.

 

But just hiking on the trail nearly all of them I've encountered run away. For the couple that didn't, one seemed a little too curious so I just started throwing rocks...hard. They don't seem to understand how something my size can reach that far.  One caught me by surprise on Mt. LeConte and charged at me. I just walked away and left my stuff for him. Another time one came to my campsite to take what I was cooking (probably didn't help that I had been eating sardines for a couple of days). He got close enough for me to whack the hell out of him with my staff. He decided it wasn't worth it. After that I carried bear spray. The ones who've experienced that stuff turn around when the see the can come out. And it's really impressive when you use it, makes a huge fog...and you need to make certain that it doesn't drift back at you....you'll really regret it.

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Well, when it comes to using a large-bear artillery device, I'll stick with anything that makes a loud noise.  I learned the fire-cracker trick from the Canadian fishing resort owner.  If anyone knows how to run off a bear, it's these guys.

 

For large bears we have our deterrent. Black bears its the spray.

 

Since the boys wanted to "stay clean" and still stay eco-friendly they wanted to try this route.

 

So far I am hearing baking soda for oral care, picaridin for insects, nothing for body odor.

 

Anything for clean up (e.g. soap/suds)?

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Just in case somebody missed it:
 
The National Park Rangers are advising hikers in Glacier National Park and other Rocky Mountain parks to be alert for bears and take extra precautions to avoid an encounter.
They advise park visitors to wear little bells on their clothes so they make noise when hiking. The bell noise allows bears to hear them coming from a distance and not be startled by a hiker accidentally sneaking up on them. This might cause a bear to charge.
Visitors should also carry a pepper spray can just in case a bear is encountered. Spraying the pepper into the air will irritate the bear's sensitive nose and it will run away.
It is also a good idea to keep an eye out for fresh bear scat so you have an idea if bears are in the area. People should be able to recognize the difference between black bear and grizzly bear scat.
Black bear droppings are smaller and often contain berries, leaves, and possibly bits of fur. Grizzly bear droppings tend to contain small bells and smell of pepper.
 

http://www.boyscouttrail.com/content/joke/watch_for_bears-606.asp

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I'm curious if the "don't wear deet" idea is based on science or just a hunch. I've used that stuff for years and never had a problem with bears. All of a sudden we get a camp guy saying don't put any on after 5pm. If a bear can smell a candy wrapper from a mile away -- I've seen those claims -- he can probably figure out what you ate from what your sweat smells like and can also smell the deet you put on that morning. And no deodorant in the world will cover it up. Dogs learn the scent of other dogs so they can identify each other. Smell is more important than sight. A bear has a much better sense of smell. My guess is they see smells the way we see a buffet table. "hmm, leftover gorp, apple core juice, come on, Big Piece of Salami! Score!

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@@MattR in reading the various arguments I haven't seen anything that speaks specifically to Bears being attracted/not attracted to Deet or anything similar. At least nothing definitive.

 

Sounds like something for Mythbustrrs. ;)

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