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[pct-l] Re: feeding bears

>  Jacobson suggests putting your food in one
>(maybe two, I can't remember) layers of plastic bag and leaving it on
>the ground well away from any food preparation area. 

   Laying food out on the ground is about the easiest way to FEED bears -
you won't get your fingers nipped, and, if you place the bag far enough
away, you won't even have to be disturbed by the bear feeding/carting it
away - good thinking, duh! Wow! That's a new one! There is alot of
misinformation about bears out there (like bears are attracted by
"brightly colored" items) but THAT's the nuttiest/most irresponsible
"idea" I've seen yet. Calculating the odds as to whether a bear may visit
your particular site on a particular night is gambling, pure and simple -
gambling with the lives of bears and other campers elsewhere. Nobody who
lays food out on the ground unguarded anywhere in the Sierra should
consider backpacking there. Outrageous!
    For the record, I personally am not making a fetish of bear
canisters: as I've stated many times, they are not the only means of
preventing a bear from getting human food.  If you feel the canisters are
an unmanagable burden, financially or otherwise, you should use an
alternative _100% foolproof_ method of food storage. Proper
counterbalance (no shortcuts/excuses about unsuitable trees) in areas
where it's  effective (ask a ranger), which is most places still, 24-hour
guarding (works also as a backup if you can't find the right tree), bear
boxes, all are fine if you use them correctly. Leaving your food lying
around/counting on a bear not coming by is no method at all, and is
illegal besides in all wildlife management areas of the Sierra.
    The reason, I believe, that there is so much current emphasis on
canisters, is that they are fairly idiot-proof: as Tom says, they can be
used anywhere/anytime, and they require minimal skill, equipment, effort.
You can be exhausted, lazy, drunk, sloppy, anti-authoritarian,
animal-hating, whatever, and they'll still keep your food from
contributing to the bear problem - sounds good to me! In places where
canisters are required, legally or because nothing else works, you still
have choices: use canisters, 24-hour guard, or go elsewhere. On a PCT
thruhike that means rent a canister (or guard your food) for a very short
stretch,  use bear boxes (placed conveniently all along the Sierra PCT to
Yosemite, and counterbalance the rest of the 2000+miles. Not such a great
hardship, is it, c'mon - especially for those who want the glory of
enduring the hardhips of a thuhike... 
    Please don't degrade the important issue of food storage in bear
country with head-butting squabbles over statistics, or whether a
thruhike is more Important orManly than intensive backpacking or even
easy weekend trips.  Bears certainly don't give a sh*t, and will happily
eat ANY camper's food; rangers don't care - I wish there were more
citations given for careless food storage; those of us who care about the
fate of wildlife - or of other campers - don't care about backcountry
C.V's., either. A person's mileage statistics (daily, yearly, or
lifetime) have little bearing on their wilderness "expertise", and
definitely do not excuse anyone from acting responsibly.
    Hunting, rubber bullets, etc belong in another discussion - one about
how to AUGMENT proper food management by backcountry visitors. Nothing a
government agency can do can overcome the effects of hiker
carelessness/apathy. BTW, after seeing so many anxious posts about
deer-hunting season (drunken, trigger-happy hunters, stray bullets, etc),
I'm curious as to why you guys want MORE hunters running around the
places you hike.....?                           bj

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