Monday, July 10, 2017

Bear Activity in the Boundary Waters and How to Hang a Food Pack

Rebecca Manlove, Information officer for the the U.S. Forest Service sent us this recent update on Bear Reports in the BWCAW.

Bear Reports sent July 4th:
  • Shell Lake Bear—appears to be a juvenile male encountered on the southeast campsite on Shell Lake. This bear came into the campsite and was chased off three times with pot banging and finally rock throwing. The group strung noise makers (pots, etc.) onto the pack before hoisting it into the trees, but the bear didn’t return that night. Bear was estimated between 200 and 250 pounds and may be favoring his back right leg. Reported 7-3-2017.
  • On July 2 around 4 p.m. a bear tore into a food pack on Campsite #34 on the South Arm of Knife Lake: the site is southeast of Amoeber Lake (in the bay by itself). Earlier groups reported seeing a bear but had no encounter. The unlucky group hung their food pack 10 ft. up and 4 ft. from the tree before leaving the campsite. They were gone most of the day. When they returned, they found their food pack shredded. A bear broke branches until it broke the one supporting the food pack rope. A tent was torn also (almonds inside). The group said this was a persistent and smart bear—even got the pack off the carabiner. Bear returned to the site while the leader was calling in the bear report. The group moved to a nearby site and the bear followed them. They were successful in chasing it off that time. In the same area, another group carried their food pack and garbage with them while they were day tripping, but a bear knocked over three unoccupied tents. That group was all girls. Although there was no food in the tents, the contents may have smelled sweeter than average J. (Actually, still-packaged feminine hygiene products may have smelled attractive to the bear. Using unscented toiletries when in the woods is a good idea.)

Further Bear Reports:
  • On 6/24 on the South Arm of Knife, Campsite #34 (again): bear came into camp while group leaders were making coffee. They chased it away by banging pots.
  • On 7/3 on the campsite on the northeast point of Thunder Point a bear came within 15 to 20 feet of a group. Yelling wasn’t successful—only aggressive pot banging drove it away. The bear showed little fear and finally walked away slowly. The group stayed at the site another night and the bear did not return.
  • On July 6th, a bear entered a  campsite on the south side of the large island on South Arm Knife (Campsite 30) and got away with a bag of granola.  It returned later that afternoon and was chased away. 
  • I’m attaching a bear-discouraging food hanging poster. You’re welcome to reproduce it and hang it up. If you have groups going into the South Arm of Knife Lake, please share these bear reports with them. Remind them of the importance of keeping ANYTHING with a scent out of their tents.
  • Please report anymore bear incidents to me (not just sightings, but interactions—especially if the bear is successful or acts aggressively).
  • Walking behind a campsite to dump fishguts or burning food waste is sending out invitations to bears and other wildlife. And the people dumping are not the only group who will wind up hosting them. Encourage visitors to think about future campers and the shortened future for a nuisance bear. 

Forest Service Shield
Rebecca Manlove
Information Assistant
Forest Service
Superior National Forest, Kawishiwi Ranger District

1393 Highway 169
Ely, MN 55731 LogoFacebook Logo
Caring for the land and serving people