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Scree - November 03, 2011 - Correcting a Bear's Bad Habits

Bear Vault

Correcting a Bear's Bad Habits

While Amy and I walked the trails of Rocky Mountain National Park last summer ('11) we had plenty of time to discuss many important issues. Since we were using a Bear Vault for the first time, we discussed the problems with bears.

One major problem with bears is that people like them. Of course visitors think the bear is about as harmful as Yogi and most visitors want to see a bear and take it's picture as close as possible. These visitors need to learn a lesson or two from my wife about bears. Amy does not like bears at all. We have seen many bears on the trails and everytime her reaction is the same, there's a bear - let's get out of his way. If everyone respected bears the way my wife does, there would be far less bear troubles. She would never try to feed a bear or get close to one. She also always properly stores her food for fear that improper storage would bring bears into camp.

Our hiking conversations were about why would anyone not properly store their food, as we carried our new Bear Vault.

In Yosemite bears were smart. They would look through the windows of a vehicle and if they saw a cooler, they would break into the car for the goodies they knew that were inside the cooler. The Yosemite bear problems were crazy in the late '90s; but with strict food storage procedures, the incidents have faded away.

So, what if, as the Park continues to educate visitors on how to bear proof their car, camper, camp, etc., they also began to train the bears.

Our good dog, Jake, was a free spirited pup. He was into everything and seemed to defiantly disobey us. As a last resort we bought Jake a remote training collar, a shock collar. He quickly learned that when the collar beeped that if he did not obey, he was going to get a little shock. From that day until now, when he wears the collar he is a good boy. The remote training collar is his good boy collar.

If the collar worked on our dog, why wouldn't it work on a bear? Sure it would have to be modified for the big-ness of a bear; but then with a bit of training the bears would not want to ever break into cars.

Another idea would be to put the Bear Vault, or other bear proof canister, in a shock sack. When the bear would try to break into the Vault to get the food, their behavior would be corrected immediately with a shock. They would quickly learn to leave the cannisters alone!

We understand that the Park's management plan is to allow the bears to be wild and people are the visitors. Therefore, it is the people who need to learn to live with the wild-ness; but for problem bears, a bit of shock therapy might be just what the doctor ordered! Ha!

Morso Stove

We bought a Morso wood burning stove from (n)-habit in Nashville. It is sitting in the living room waiting to be hooked up. So, no heat yet.

The stove is supposed to be extremely environmentally friendly. We will report on it after a few days of trial burns. We are excited!