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Old 04-11-2022, 06:25 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by K_M_H View Post
We're taking our first trip to Bear Country, in PA heading up to Hickory Run State Park in early May. When I was in the Boy Scouts, we learned not to keep any food at all on the campsite, but then again, we always camped with tents. How concerned should we be about leaving food in the refrigerator, etc? It's a huge pain to pack everything into a cooler, drop it in the bear locker, and then go get it when we need to cook. At the same time, I understand not wanting to attract them to our (or our neighbors') sites. We've all heard it before -- A fed bear is a dead bear. -- So I'd like to help protect our furry friends from themselves as well.

Any comments would be appreciated - I'll get a bigger cooler for this trip if necessary.
You should be fine leaving food in frig and locked up inside trailer. When gone, I would keep windows and drapes closed.

I was a park Ranger in bear country for 9 years. I also worked in Glacier NP and lived in my RV. I had a grizzlies 50 yards from my trailer and black bear would walk by it. In 50 years of camping (tents and RV), I have had only one bear encounter that took food (food was out sitting next to fire as we were packing up to leave). I have seen dozens of ice chests raided (Mono Village Resort in Bridgeport, CA) that weíre left outside, and have seen many vehicles broken into where food was left in vehicles.

You can wipe Pine-Sol or ammonia based cleaners in and around the back of frig (the compartment that opens on the outside) to deter bears.
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Old 04-11-2022, 06:46 PM   #42
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Would have been a black bear. We don't have brown bear in PA.

I've camped at Hickory run a number of times and never had any issues with bear.
Talking to rangers and others there, more bear problems happen at the outer campsites. May can have more problems because campgrounds aren't full during the weekdays and the bears are moving about in spring.

Not a bad idea to let a radio play in the camper when you are away. Put on talk radio, not music. Keep the campsite clean. Same with inside of camper. No food in car or even candy wrappers.
We have camped there many times as well, never had an issue with our trailers, trucks or even our pop up prior to that. Tent campers are the most vulnerable and should always use a bear box. If you like tough hikes theres one called the Shades of Death and its the most difficult trail but itís only a mile long. Enjoy your stay and if it is still on your mind then stop at the ranger station and get the current information. If you see a bear trap inside the campground then they have a problem bear and sometimes they try to down play it so as to not frighten campers who are under experienced or just easily put off by the bears. Donít get me wrong here I totally respect them for what they are which is an apex predator, if they leave me alone I will do the same.
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Old 04-11-2022, 06:52 PM   #43
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Some folks we know were camping at Bear Canyon Lake in Arizona a few summers ago. They had a bear climb up on the roof of their camper while they were sleeping in it. It tried to get in through the roof vent. The mom grabbed their car keys and hit the panic button setting off the truck alarm. That got rid of the bear but the roof vent was damaged. You can see the local news report about it here:

I've also heard reports of bears at Yosemite who literally tear cars in parking lots apart for food. There are some good suggestions here for prevention. We learned some new ones we'll try. Every since a trip to Yellowstone a few years ago, we've always carried bear spray. Get ours at Costco. We also have an air horn which comes in handy for just about any animal. When we're in bear country, we don't put the soft-sided beds of our hybrid down.
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Old 04-11-2022, 07:10 PM   #44
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Secure anything that smells

Some time ago we were camped in the far Eastern portion of Yosemite Nat. Park. We watched, unable to do anything, while a bear carefully pealed the roof off of a bed-mounted camper shell to get at the food inside. On another trip, a bear took out the rear passenger window of an SUV to get to the cooler inside. Then he took out the opposite window to exit to the woods. If the campground does not have bear lockers, invest in a small one to stash outside of your unit.
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Old 04-11-2022, 07:14 PM   #45
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Some time ago we were camped in the far Eastern portion of Yosemite Nat. Park. We watched, unable to do anything, while a bear carefully pealed the roof off of a bed-mounted camper shell to get at the food inside. On another trip, a bear took out the rear passenger window of an SUV to get to the cooler inside. Then he took out the opposite window to exit to the woods. If the campground does not have bear lockers, invest in a small one to stash outside of your unit.
I worked in Yosemite as a Ranger for 5 years. I took many bear damage reports to vehicles. Hundreds. I never took one report of an RV being damaged. Bear boxes are great, but they donít keep your frig food cold, so someone with an RV, they are basically a waste of money.
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Old 04-13-2022, 12:53 PM   #46
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Great thread. My DW and I have been wondering about this exact topic. We are heading to Yellowstone in June, and later June Yosemite, and have thought about bears a lot. We already know about not leaving any food or food waste outside our camper. But, the big concern I have is with our Coleman Roadtrip Grill and the small charcoal grill we keep in the basement bin in our motorhome. Sure it will be locked in the bin, but the chintzy aluminum compartment door certainly won't keep a bear out if it smells our dinner residue on either grill. I'm wondering if we would be better off leaving the grill outside the motorhome compartment vs. risking a bear ripping apart the rig to get at the grills.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I did like the vinegar or Pine Sol idea.
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Old 04-13-2022, 02:08 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by sherman12 View Post
Great thread. My DW and I have been wondering about this exact topic. We are heading to Yellowstone in June, and later June Yosemite, and have thought about bears a lot. We already know about not leaving any food or food waste outside our camper. But, the big concern I have is with our Coleman Roadtrip Grill and the small charcoal grill we keep in the basement bin in our motorhome. Sure it will be locked in the bin, but the chintzy aluminum compartment door certainly won't keep a bear out if it smells our dinner residue on either grill. I'm wondering if we would be better off leaving the grill outside the motorhome compartment vs. risking a bear ripping apart the rig to get at the grills.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I did like the vinegar or Pine Sol idea.
I would definitely leave the grill outside.

Lock it to the picnic table or RV with a cable and pad lock. This prevents the 2 legged bears from stealing it. I spend a few minutes cleaning (wire brush then turn burners on) after using it. I would also arrive in both parks with as clean of drip pan (I use the disposable aluminum foil type) as possible.

Also, I leave the lid open so the critters can see/smell that there is nothing on the grill.

This is what I recommended to campers in Yosemite when I was a Ranger, and is what is what I have practiced for many years while RVing. I have never had a problem and have many pictures of bears cruising through my campsite at all hours of the day and night.

Good luck.
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Old 04-13-2022, 02:23 PM   #48
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I grew up in the Allegheny National Forest and can say the only close encounter I have had with bears was hiking in the woods. Don't eave food or trash out and air the cooking smells out of the RV before leaving. The trouble is if bears frequent a location it means they usually find food there. Unfortunately some campers think it's cool to see them and deliberatly scatter food to lure them in.
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