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Thread: Thirteen Falls Tent Site bear activity

  1. #1
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    Thirteen Falls Tent Site bear activity

    According to an NETC report from yesterday:

    https://www.newenglandtrailcondition...?entryid=62147

    "Per a USFS ranger that I met on the trail, a bear has made a name for itself, deciding Thirteen Falls is the place to be. A couple days ago, the bear went from making itself merely an obvious presence, to having managed to completely savage one of the two bear boxes at the tentsite. For its troubles, it was rewarded with some tasty human food that had been dutifully stored inside. (Apparently, the bottom of the box was rusty and old, and was fairly easy work for the intrepid bruin.) Later on my outing, I met a hiker on her return from Thirteen Falls. She'd been sitting at the tentsite this afternoon eating lunch, and the bear approached her. It was easily shooed away, but then it came back about half an hour later, and this time, appeared a fair bit more comfortable around the human making loud noises. The bear's comfort caused that hiker's discomfort, to no surprise. She did show me photos of the bear box, and yep, that bear made quite the job of it whilst gaining access to the goodies stored within. You can't say they're not goal oriented and highly motivated."

  2. #2
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    This is not an easy problem to solve, as along with trying to eliminate the food attractants, we as humans don't do a good job at keeping our boundaries clear if we live with black bears. If you want them to have some level of fear towards people, you have to make them fear you.

    Just last night I was discussing exactly this point with the wife of New Hampshire's bear project leader in my driveway, and agreed on the fact that you can't recommend to people the best course of action to turn the tide. Later I was thinking further that it's probably getting worse with habituating bears over time to have little to no fear of humans.

    The point I have personally seen with years of confronting bears at my former work managing campgrounds and the bear community at my home, is that they have learned that loud noises, banging pots and pans, and a short chase into the woods is no real threat. So in my experience, and wholeheartedly agreed to by the biologist I was speaking with, we have found when you chase a bear away into the woods, they just go a short distance, turn, and make their way back. They have gotten to know we are really no threat.
    I have seen this every time, and you can actually notice a change in their behavior if you keep on them with the chase; they run a little way and stop and quickly become unconcerned with you; but if you are seriously after them (ready to whack 'em with a rake), they are quite surprised and change their demeanor to fear and actually really run. I have chased some quite far and it usually takes rousing them from 2or 3 pauses before they get the message.
    So the example of the hiker initially scaring the bear away only to find it really has nothing to fear is the predictable outcome of an increasingly emboldened bear. But could I tell campers in public campsites, or the NH bear project leader recommend to people that you chase a bear away from undesired contact with the level of intent to catch or strike the bugger? Maybe a face full of bear spray is what this bear really needs, so maybe a USFS employee volunteer could lay with a pile of doritos and a can of spray and act just the right moment.

  3. #3
    Senior Member maineguy's Avatar
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    I find this all very interesting. We used to stay at 13 Falls Lean-To in the mid 60s. Never saw a bear or heard about one. Biggest problem were the mice. There was a lot of use at that camping area. We were there right after they built the Twin Brook Trail. Same with the Desolation Shelter area.

    At any rate...

    https://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/hun...ar-season.html

  4. #4
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    I just got a copy of "A Libertarian Walks into a Bear" Subtitled The Utopian Plot to Liberate an American Town. Bear Human interactions figure prominently in the story.

    I really have no issue with the dispatch of problem bears, once a bear is habituated its not going to change. NH bear population is reportedly the biggest it's been since colonization. The food habituated neighborhood bears have little to do with wild bears, they are just one step from the bears at Clarks Trading Post.

  5. #5
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    Peakbagger- agree it has to be done when it has to be done, but it is tough on the people that have to do it. That's why they work so hard at trying to make it so we don't habituate them. Yeah, little chance to turn a really human dependent bear around; but they can currently seek clemency for a death sentence.

  6. #6
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    I just finished the book I referenced above, lots of stories of the bad kind of bear human interactions. Some observation on how Fish and Game has variable response depending on how high profile a town is. The Hanover bear response ito Mink the bear is mentioned.

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