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  1. #1
    Senior Member undisputed83's Avatar
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    Has anyone had a problem with animals during a tour?

    The last thing I wanna see is a Gator or a Bear wandering into my camp... An unharmed human being isn't exactly fight or flight in that situation... it's pretty much only flight at that point...

  2. #2
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    Racoons!

  3. #3
    Senior Member undisputed83's Avatar
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    I dont' fear them... unless they're rabid...

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    Senior Member wheel's Avatar
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    Try the search function.
    http://www.bikeforums.net/search.php

  5. #5
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    Yes. It could have been a real problem, but it turned out ok.

    This bird (well, not this one, but one just like it) stole my bar of soap.



    I had taken a shower and left my small bar of soap on a picnic table to dry before I put it back in a plastic baggie for storage. While I was away from the picnic table, the bird landed near my soap, picked it up in its beak and flew away.

    I saw it and chased it about 20 yards to where it landed and dropped my soap before flying off again. I got my soap back with a few beak marks in it. Crisis averted.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    100+ days of camping on tour, many wild, swamps, deserts, mountains. No. Kinda boring.

    +1 raccoons, at least the park variety. Those buggers will steal anything edible not in your tent. They don't like oatmeal, but love Snickers and cheese. Don't think a zipped pannier will stop them either.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  7. #7
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by undisputed83 View Post
    The last thing I wanna see is a Gator or a Bear wandering into my camp... An unharmed human being isn't exactly fight or flight in that situation... it's pretty much only flight at that point...
    Thieving critters yes, fear for life no.

    We actually were disappointed to not see a bear on our Trans America. Statistically bear attacks are extremely rare. According to Grizzlybay.org, "For each person killed by a black bear attack there are 13 people killed by snakes, 17 by spiders, 45 by dogs, 120 by bees, 150 by tornadoes, 374 by lightning, and 60,000 by humans."
    http://www.grizzlybay.org/LearnMore/AttackStats.htm

    I don't have the statistics handy, but I think there is something like .8 deaths per year in the lower 48 due to grizzly bear attacks. Gator attacks are a bit more common, but still extremely rare. When it comes right down to it you are in far more danger from traffic than bears, mountain lions, gators and other critters. I just use the advised cautions regarding safe camping in a given area and don't sweat it.
    Last edited by staehpj1; 10-24-09 at 08:14 AM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    Thieving critters yes, fear for life no.

    We actually were disappointed to not see a bear on our Trans America. Statistically bear attacks are extremely rare. According to Grizzlybay.org, "For each person killed by a black bear attack there are 13 people killed by snakes, 17 by spiders, 45 by dogs, 120 by bees, 150 by tornadoes, 374 by lightning, and 60,000 by humans."
    http://www.grizzlybay.org/LearnMore/AttackStats.htm

    I don't have the statistics handy, but I think there is something like .8 deaths per year in the lower 48 due to grizzly bear attacks. Gator attacks are a bit more common, but still extremely rare. When it comes right down to it you are in far more danger from traffic than bears, mountain lions, gators and other critters. I just use the advised cautions regarding safe camping in a given area and don't sweat it.
    But these alledged "statistics" are misleading. If you are in grizzly country and far from a road of any kind then the chances of being killed by a grizzly are much much higher than being killed by a car. The denominator is not considered. For example, if the millions of people who are vulnerable to being killed by another person were magically teleported to Kodiak island, the number of people killed by bears would increase greatly.

    Having said this, bears often seek out campgrounds because they have learned that food is easily available there. If you keep a clean camp and otherwise follow the rules, bears will usually just pass through your site and find food somewhere else. If I hear something rummaging around outside my tent I just give a (usually involuntary) girly scream and scare the bejesus out of whatever it was: bear, raccoon, or adjacent cycle tourist taking a leak. Works for me.

  9. #9
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    We had black bears in camp, along the Blue Ridge parkway, in Sept of 2001. They were bothersome, especially after dark. Didn't sleep well that night, and still have the noseprint on the wall of my tent......

    "Retirement is the best job I ever had!" Me, 2009


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  10. #10
    mev
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    Thieving critters yes, fear for life no.
    Same here, while sleeping in a Yukon Provincial Campground south of Haines Junction, something ripped open my rear pannier, left some deep claw marks in an apple and lots of concerted scratches on a plastic peanut butter jar. Don't know if it was a bear and I slept soundly through it, but I saw bears on several days of that trip so suspect that is what came by.

    When cycling through gravel road part of Siberia I was surprised at how few large animals we saw. However, one evening I had gotten complacent and left my food bag lying on top of my bike rack when I went to sleep. Next morning bag was gone and no signs nearby of either bag or food. Don't know what took the bag, perhaps a dog.

  11. #11
    Lentement mais sûrement Erick L's Avatar
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    Damn critters like to invite themselves for dinner...



    Erick - www.borealphoto.com/velo

  12. #12
    Barfin' Round the World
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    I had a raccoon steal a bag of dinner rolls. I chased it but I only managed to recover one roll. I will never forget that awful night.

    A few weeks ago I heard sniffing in the middle of the night on the non-door side of my tent. I wasn't sure what it was so I jumped out the door side with my bear spray and there was a grizzly bear the size of an economy car. I moved around it to get upwind in case I had to use the bear spray and it eventually walked away. It was interested in my RV neighbors who had left out food and garbage.

  13. #13
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    Talked with my son who is on his way back from a bicycle touring/camping expedition in the Badlands/Black Hills area of South Dakota. He called me a couple of days ago to inform me of interesting day going from Custer State Park to Wind Cave National Park. He was evidently going through the wildlife loop area and herd of Buffalo along both sides of road. Patiently waiting for a while he found an opportunity to go through the herd without incident. He evidently took a YouTube video that I will later link here, which he said would probably make me a little nervous. Buffalo have been known to attack tourists who are foolish enough to get too close. I think there is one video out there somewhere documenting a tourist being tossed about 15 feet in the air by an eraged bull Bison at this same park.

    After getting through this one herd he said he reaized he would need to take a cut across gravel road to get to Wind Cave Park if he wanted to be able to make the cave tour. Alas he encountered another herd of Bison on the road and unwilling to move. He said shouting had absoultely no effect on them at all and while he was figuring on what to do one of the Bulls made a bluff charge at him. He said it definitely gave him a scare and definitly was not the place to be. He did manage to wind his way through the herd when most had moved away from the road(no time for video with this incident). Definitely his closest call. He did a tour in the Norther Rockies through Canada and Montana (http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?...c_id=3454&v=D6) last year and did get a chance to encounter a grizzly along the road. Also had mountain sheep jump in front of him as he was doing a descent.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rx1Beil12aY

    Bike stopper!

    As for my own experience have been up close to Black Bears while cycling. Worst bear experience was camping when not biking though. The critters that have been the most persistant around campsite have been Squirrels, chipmunks and seaguls. Little thiefs!
    Last edited by karjak; 10-24-09 at 03:37 PM.

  14. #14
    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
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    We've only had one serious problem with an animal while touring - being chased by a bear up in northern BC. You can read about that incident here.

    Other than that, we've had the normal raccoons, chipmunks, and coyotes stealing food, but one time a fox came and stole stuff - the bugger! You can read that story here.

    This is the bear that chased us:
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

  15. #15
    Barfin' Round the World
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    Quote Originally Posted by nancy sv View Post
    We've only had one serious problem with an animal while touring - being chased by a bear up in northern BC. You can read about that incident here.
    Yikes Nancy that is definitely VERY scary! The popular mythology is that black bears should run away but those black bears up in northern BC and the Yukon obviously may not run away. Who knows what that bear was thinking. Maybe it was sizing you up for dinner. Maybe it had been fed by tourists. Maybe it was trying to scare you away from a kill. There's no way to know what to do in a situation like that. Cycling away seems like the logical thing to do but black bears can sprint like a racehorse so it's a real pickle to be in a situation like that.

    I just came back from a cycletour on the Alaska Highway and I saw more bears than squirrels. One black bear surprised me by emerging from the ditch right beside the road about 8 feet away. One does not expect black bears to approach oneself (I stupidly took a picture of it while I was moving).

  16. #16
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    Since others about me have run over rattlesnakes, that is one of my fears. While camping in oregon we saw evidence of bears. But never saw them.. Thought we heard them in the distance.
    Pray for the Dead and Fight like Hell for the Living









    ^ Since June 16, 2011

  17. #17
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    My son got back from Black Hills today okay and we downloaded some of his pictures and put his first herd Buffalo Video on YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XkPbw2q-lQ

    The picture of a second herd he encountered that same Wedndeday was on a gravel road shortcut where he almost got into trouble. A bull did charge at him but broke it off before he got to close.

    Feel very fortunate as we looked at another video done by a motorcyclist who caught a Buffalo charge on an unfortunate traveller who was alongside the road. Would advise never to run bicycle close to free ranging Bison. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-j8h5C8A-BM


    A bull in this 2nd herd group charged my son when he cycled further down the road.
    Last edited by karjak; 10-25-09 at 08:38 PM.

  18. #18
    Dumpster cyclist
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    After living on my bike for 3 months this summer, a bear ripped one of my panniers right off my bike while it was parked in the garage on my 2nd day home. He ate 3 holes in it and ripped a pocket off. It's not the big ones that get to me though, but the small ones. Mosquitos! Had an absolutely horrendous night/morning in upstate New York.

    Aside from that, no trouble. A bird singing his morning song from the top of our tent, a few critters joining us for dinner, and deer here and there.

    Funny, then the other pannier got stolen out of my car a couple weeks ago. I think the universe is telling me I must get Ortliebs!

  19. #19
    Senior Member
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    I have to add to the Raccoon chorus - never had a problem with them in the wild but in campgrounds where they've learned to expect food they can be very aggressive.

    No problems with bears at all - never even saw one! We did hang our food in bear country though or store it a few hundred meters from our tent and we took care to keep our food in one pannier, away from clothes and sleeping bags, so the smell of food wouldn't be all over our things.
    We blog about bike touring, with reviews, tips and cycle touring podcasts at Travelling Two

  20. #20
    Dumpster cyclist
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    My riding partner may have had a problem once or twice with a weasel...

  21. #21
    Senior Member Thulsadoom's Avatar
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    The biggest problem I've had with animals is having them keeping me up at night. Animals get very nocturnal in the summer. I've had deer wandering around the tent snort-wheezing half the night. Bobcats screaming, coyotes yelping, racoons rusting through everything, bears snorting and blowing, birds can make a heck of a racket in the trees overhead, tree frogs sometimes make a ton of noise, the list goes on and on. Don't get me wrong, I love all the nature noises, but only to a point. It seems like when you're traveling, theres a new and different set of noises each night. I've learned to wear earplugs at night.

  22. #22
    One legged rider
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    Seen lots of bears in the southern Appalachians, but the worst animal experience was having a wild horse in a state park in Greyson Highlands in southwest Virginia get into my coffee bag and eat all my coffee (had no idea they liked that). Wild ponies there are like rats, there are tons of them everywhere and they are really tame, and bold. One actually started eating mac and cheese from my friends bowl while he was eating, just walked up and put his nose down in there and went to town.

  23. #23
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
    100+ days of camping on tour, many wild, swamps, deserts, mountains. No. Kinda boring.

    +1 raccoons, at least the park variety. Those buggers will steal anything edible not in your tent. They don't like oatmeal, but love Snickers and cheese. Don't think a zipped pannier will stop them either.
    They are very fond of powdered milk too!

  24. #24
    One legged rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    They are very fond of powdered milk too!
    Little buggers are smart too. Smarter than your average camping human I think.

  25. #25
    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randobarf View Post
    Yikes Nancy that is definitely VERY scary! The popular mythology is that black bears should run away but those black bears up in northern BC and the Yukon obviously may not run away. Who knows what that bear was thinking. Maybe it was sizing you up for dinner. Maybe it had been fed by tourists. Maybe it was trying to scare you away from a kill. There's no way to know what to do in a situation like that. Cycling away seems like the logical thing to do but black bears can sprint like a racehorse so it's a real pickle to be in a situation like that.

    I just came back from a cycletour on the Alaska Highway and I saw more bears than squirrels. One black bear surprised me by emerging from the ditch right beside the road about 8 feet away. One does not expect black bears to approach oneself (I stupidly took a picture of it while I was moving).
    That's just it - bears are not supposed to come toward people! I've relived that minute in my life more times than you can imagine, and I just don't see how I could have avoided it or what else I could have done. It's just one of those things...
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

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