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Bear Breath and its Paradoxes?

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Bear Breath and its Paradoxes?

Old 06-03-10, 02:28 PM
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Niles H.
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Bear Breath and its Paradoxes?

As others have pointed out recently, bears have incredibly acute senses of smell, far beyond dogs, which are themselves far beyond human beings.

People advocate not wearing clothes that have been used while cooking, not keeping cosmetics or toothpaste near camp, hanging food, using canisters, leaving no traces of food scents, etc., etc.

What about breath?

Food smells that are carried on the breath are often many times stronger than the smells that come from a closed plastic bag or drybag.

"Brush your teeth before turning in for the night?"

The smell of toothpaste on the breath would often be much stronger than the smell of toothpaste in a tube, which is an admitted problem in bear territory.

And what about food that remains on the tongue?

"Brush your tongue?"

Who brushes their tongues? And besides, does it really remove all the residues?

***
I was awakened very early one morning by a large bear that had its nose right up to my nose, smelling my breath. It was a bit unnerving, to put it mildly, and probably a bit dangerous as well.

The kid who was abducted by a bear a few years ago, while sleeping in a tent, and dragged off in his sleeping bag -- people have talked about his having a candy bar inside the tent.

***
If they can smell a candy bar inside its wrapper, then they can smell the tomato-garlic-pesto sauce from last night's meal (or the ramen noodles, or the Middle-Eastern cous cous spices, or the barbeque sauce, the salad dressing, the chocolate dessert, the strawberries, and many of the other things people eat).

Hanging wrapped candy bars and toothpaste tubes in a tree, or putting them in a canister, while ignoring bear breath, seems a bit incomplete or paradoxical somehow.

If you don't want any food smells in the tent, or around camp....

Last edited by Niles H.; 06-03-10 at 02:50 PM.
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Old 06-03-10, 04:51 PM
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I think you just have to take reasonable precautions and hope that's enough. If you want to eliminate every chance of having a problem with a bear, stay home.
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Old 06-04-10, 06:40 AM
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Or stay out of bear country.
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Old 06-04-10, 09:36 AM
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Hold your breath then. And whatever you do, don't pass gas.

BTW....Many people brush their tongues.
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Old 06-04-10, 11:02 AM
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Wow! The things we can conjur up to worry about! I've often walked, camped and ridden in bear country. Seen a few as well. You may better apply your paranoia to fears of being abducted by aliens. Happy trails, and don't give it a second thought!
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Old 06-04-10, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by paxtonm View Post
Wow! The things we can conjur up to worry about! I've often walked, camped and ridden in bear country. Seen a few as well. You may better apply your paranoia to fears of being abducted by aliens. Happy trails, and don't give it a second thought!
+1
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Old 06-04-10, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Niles H. View Post
***
I was awakened very early one morning by a large bear that had its nose right up to my nose, smelling my breath. It was a bit unnerving, to put it mildly, and probably a bit dangerous as well.
So? What happened? Apparently you weren't eaten.

Following your logic you should reach this conclusion: being quite edible to a bear, your whole body probably smell like food to them.
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Old 06-04-10, 01:25 PM
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This is an interesting thread to me because the other day (week?) we had a thread about bear spray in which I know TrekFix replied because I remember her bear encounter stories.

I replied to the thread with a very similar question to what the op is talking about;

Originally Posted by a1rabbit View Post
Don't want to derail the thread but there is something I've always wondered and it's on the same topic, bears. I know all about bear safety, etc. Not to sleep in your cooking clothes, how far away to store scented items and to cook, etc. But what about our own body scents? I know for a woman this is especially important when on their monthly cycle. What about the smell of our sweat, our soaps, our breath from our toothpaste? Apparently one of the smells bears love the most is mint.
People preach bear safety about storage of items and what not to do when you encounter one. They talk about how great a bears sense of smell is, how they'll eat anything and to make sure you keep your toothpaste away from camp, your soaps too, your food and anything that smells of it also.

I think it's perfectly reasonable for someone given that information to say "Hey, I'm to store my toothpaste and soaps and smelly clothing away from camp because a bears sense of smell is ridiculously strong.... I wonder if my hair smells like food, maybe my breath smells like dinner, I just had a shower with the same soap that's now neatly packed a great distance from me... but I still smell of it... hmmmm... Maybe there is something I don't know (scentless soaps, brushing with baking soda, etc.), I'll ask more experienced people."

One of the most scary things for anyone are new experiences that they've heard are dangerous. Take a man from a big "scary" city and stick him in bear country, he'll have fears and want to know how to keep safe. Take a man who spent much of his free time backpacking in bear country and throw him into the middle of the big "scary" city and he might fear every young man who looks a little bit thug. These two men would likely think the other to be overreacting if you put them face to face, they'd explain that there is nothing to fear but fear itself.

It's all about what you know. Fear comes from what you don't. Don't assume people are too terrified to live because they have a curious mind.

That's my two cents.
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Old 06-04-10, 02:44 PM
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Statiscally, there is much, much more to fear from humans than bears, wherever one encounters them.
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Old 06-04-10, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by JeanM View Post
Statiscally, there is much, much more to fear from humans than bears, wherever one encounters them.
Very true, same can be said for pretty much anything though. Statically, almost everything we encounter on a daily basis has a larger of a chance to hurt us than a bear we encounter in the wild. Cars are a great example. But like I said, fear tends to come from what people don't know. Irrational fear is the worst kind.
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