Bear Bells.

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Bear Bells.

Post by Woods Walker » Tue Jun 16, 2015 11:06 pm

Bear territory.

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What to do? Bear bells! Best to get one with a magnetic silencer. To deactivate the bell just slip it inside the mesh bag on a sting. The bell is also a good cadence when running which I did for the last mile or so of this hike.

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I prefer to put bells on the part of my pack which has the greatest, for lack of better word swing. It's actually possible to put them in spots which will greatly reduce the ringing. Clearly that's counter productive. The more obvious your approach the better.

On a side note how can you tell the difference between Black bear or Grizz scat? The Black bear has huckleberry seeds within it's scat.

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Within Grizz scat empty cans of pepper spray and bells. Naturally it's prevailing internet wisdom that a knife vs. claw/jaw fight is inevitable. For that reason along with the bells I took "Sting".

"Sting" turns a zombie green color once bears are near. Clearly there is one within the vicinity but out of sight.

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First I will blind the attacking bear with a flash from the firesteel. There is a chance the entire bear might go up like cattail fluff from the 5000 degree sparks.

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Then comes the 12c27 to finish the job.

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I would then use all of my 6 foot 1 inch 240 lb mass to drive the stainless blade deep into the critter's heart. The impact should be so colossal it's ticker should fly 30 feet out of the other side. It goes without saying every last bit of that knife fight is crazy talk but the bell advice is sorta sound. No bear wants a piece of this action so the bell gives them an opportunity to save their own lives. :D

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Re: Bear Bells.

Post by aikorob » Wed Jun 17, 2015 3:50 am

.....Within Grizz scat empty cans of pepper spray and bells.....

why does the image pop into my head-----some grand dining room, where the butler rings the little bell, signifying to the guests----time for dinner :lol:
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Re: Bear Bells.

Post by Dawgboy » Wed Jun 17, 2015 4:25 pm

I love Fantasy :clap:

4 years in AK taught me one thing about brown bears. Their poop smells of Pepper and Patchouli Oil...
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Re: Bear Bells.

Post by TacAir » Wed Jun 17, 2015 6:43 pm

http://juneauempire.com/stories/061900/ ... YIEcC4ZZVc

link to field research **in Alaska** about how well "Bear Bells" don't work.
"Over several days last fall, while doing other research about bear behavior along the coast of Katmai National Park, Smith hid in a blind near a well-traveled bear path and pulled on fishing line attached to a string of bells tied to an alder bush. Not one bear looked in the direction of the noise or even perked up its ears, Smith said.

``This doesn't mean bear bells don't work,'' he said. ``It just means the bears didn't respond the way we thought they would. Not one of them reacted to the bells at all. It's fascinating stuff.''

Smith said he first tinkled the bells lightly. The bears didn't respond. Then he yanked on the line, making a jangling noise ``almost as loud a fire alarm.'' Fifteen groups of one or more bears walked past. Not one flinched.

He didn't think the bears were deaf, but he wondered. So he snapped a pencil to mimic the sound of a twig breaking. The bears immediately turned and looked at the biologist's blind, about 150 feet away. A loud huff, mimicking the noise of another bear, elicited a similar response."

I carry a different kind of noisemaker, has worked up to now....

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kinda like this - real loud as well.
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Re: Bear Bells.

Post by Woods Walker » Wed Jun 17, 2015 6:56 pm

TacAir wrote:http://juneauempire.com/stories/061900/ ... YIEcC4ZZVc

link to field research **in Alaska** about how well "Bear Bells" don't work.
"Over several days last fall, while doing other research about bear behavior along the coast of Katmai National Park, Smith hid in a blind near a well-traveled bear path and pulled on fishing line attached to a string of bells tied to an alder bush. Not one bear looked in the direction of the noise or even perked up its ears, Smith said.

``This doesn't mean bear bells don't work,'' he said. ``It just means the bears didn't respond the way we thought they would. Not one of them reacted to the bells at all. It's fascinating stuff.''

Smith said he first tinkled the bells lightly. The bears didn't respond. Then he yanked on the line, making a jangling noise ``almost as loud a fire alarm.'' Fifteen groups of one or more bears walked past. Not one flinched.

He didn't think the bears were deaf, but he wondered. So he snapped a pencil to mimic the sound of a twig breaking. The bears immediately turned and looked at the biologist's blind, about 150 feet away. A loud huff, mimicking the noise of another bear, elicited a similar response."

I carry a different kind of noisemaker, has worked up to now....

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kinda like this - real loud as well.

Sad to say that's not an option every place. Heck in NJ you can't even have more than an ounce of spray and they actual had fatal attacks. In fact an incident occurred when I was hiking High Point though no one got really hurt or anything like that. I NEVER depend on just one thing for anything, not even a boom stick. I do recall an attack in which an experienced outdoors man got eaten packing exactly what you showed. To be 100% honest I worry more about disease infested ticks and drunks on road going to the trail head.
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Re: Bear Bells.

Post by ineffableone » Wed Jun 17, 2015 7:01 pm

TacAir wrote:http://juneauempire.com/stories/061900/ ... YIEcC4ZZVc

link to field research **in Alaska** about how well "Bear Bells" don't work.
There is a flaw in this. Bear bells and other such noise makers are not about scaring a bear away. It is about making sure they know your there, so you don't accidentally sneak up on them and take them unaware.

In this regard bear bells work just fine.

The fact that the study showed they didn't react likely is due to the bears being used to hearing the bells at this point, and so for them it is just a noise to let them know that a human is walking near by. Humans aren't bear prey normally, so the bear just continues on it's way.
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Re: Bear Bells.

Post by Woods Walker » Wed Jun 17, 2015 7:31 pm

ineffableone wrote:
TacAir wrote:http://juneauempire.com/stories/061900/ ... YIEcC4ZZVc

link to field research **in Alaska** about how well "Bear Bells" don't work.
There is a flaw in this. Bear bells and other such noise makers are not about scaring a bear away. It is about making sure they know your there, so you don't accidentally sneak up on them and take them unaware.

In this regard bear bells work just fine.

The fact that the study showed they didn't react likely is due to the bears being used to hearing the bells at this point, and so for them it is just a noise to let them know that a human is walking near by. Humans aren't bear prey normally, so the bear just continues on it's way.
Yea that's about it. I just don't want them to be surprised at my sudden appearance. I don't expect a bell to strike terror in the hearts of anything. One study said having a concealed camp was better than an exposed clearly visible one in bear country. This IMHO questionable conclusion was based on bears stopping to look at a camp rather than simply not seeing it. But I don't care if they stop and see it. I just don't want that to happen unexpectedly for both parties 10 feet away when it blunders into camp. Then again how many people doing these studies are actually sleeping out in the woods?
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Re: Bear Bells.

Post by Dragon80 » Wed Jun 17, 2015 7:57 pm

Lol! Very nice and funny all at the same time. Luckily in Indiana we just had our first bear sighting in like 140 years, but I need to keep it in mind for some of the other places I go.
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Re: Bear Bells.

Post by modustollens » Thu Jun 18, 2015 1:19 am

With the wind, the swaying of trees, the absorption of sound by solid material like the forest's trees, I have often questioned the usefulness of the bear bell. It seems to be more of a psychological salve for those marching in bear country. I have not seen any definitive study on the effectiveness of them.

If am going cross country and not simply marching a trail I am making far more noise than any bell. I just don't think the bell sound travels that far, even along a clear path in a forest. How many metres will the sound travel?

Mover-over, I think bears primarily follow their nose rather than eyes or ears.

It is important to pay attention to the wind and to where your scent is going - if walking into a headwind I am more concerned than when the wind is blowing my scent ahead of me... I have never owned a set of bells, but I have smacked some rocks or trees with my walking stick a few times to make a loud sound when walking into a headwind or when making a turn into a headwind.

The classic narrative of the attacked hiker goes like this: 'we turned a corner' or 'we went around a bend in the trail and saw the bear'. I have often wondered what the wind conditions were like during these incidents...

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Re: Bear Bells.

Post by jor-el » Thu Jun 18, 2015 2:30 am

Bear bells are like... cat bells? Great Rao, how are you supposed to get them on the bear?
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Re: Bear Bells.

Post by Dragon80 » Thu Jun 18, 2015 2:42 am

This isn't something only used for bears and this is definitely nothing new. The Chinese used to add bells to the ends of their spears so that when the soldiers walked around, it would scare away tigers. I've read that black bears can see as well as humans, hear far better, and their sense of smell is enough to work from miles away.

According to this site, their sense of hearing is their first line of defense.

http://www.bear.org/website/bear-pages/ ... ities.html
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Re: Bear Bells.

Post by ineffableone » Thu Jun 18, 2015 3:26 am

modustollens wrote:I have never owned a set of bells, but I have smacked some rocks or trees with my walking stick a few times to make a loud sound when walking into a headwind or when making a turn into a headwind.
This is exactly what bear bells do, without you having to consciously make sure you are smacking rocks or hitting sticks. They make sure your making plenty of noise as you round those turns.

As for you wondering how far you can hear bear bells. When I worked trail maintenance in the Cascades if we were just quietly enjoying a lunch we would often hear hikers jingling along 20-30 min before we saw them coming down/up the trail. And considering bear hearing is better than human hearing, I have no doubt they have no problem hearing bear bells.
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Re: Bear Bells.

Post by johnnyrover » Thu Jun 18, 2015 9:49 am

Bear Bells - sound does not travel well in wooded or windy areas...

Bear Spray - works very well...just don't spray yourself...(experienced both)

Firearm - try hitting a charging bear with a kill shot as it covers 30 yards in 3 seconds (not many can do this)

When I was guiding, we carried spray...and when in Polar Bear country, at least one shotgun.

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Re: Bear Bells.

Post by Woods Walker » Thu Jun 18, 2015 8:14 pm

johnnyrover wrote:Bear Bells - sound does not travel well in wooded or windy areas...
I read that before online but it seems to counter my actual experience. Ok granted that obstructions etc etc will mitigate any sound to some degree but just today I heard a dog's tags clanking within a heavily wooded area well before seeing it. I heard people wearing bells on the AT a long time before actually seeing them as well. New England is really really wooded. In fact I think it might now be the most wooded area in the entire lower 48. Maybe if I was up to my armpits in a hell of mountain laurels with of all things a tropical storm bearing (pun intended) down that might turn me into a ninja but dang I don't have Jaime Sommers's bionic ear yet I hear bells very well in the woods in nearly any cover or weather within some semblance of reason. In fact metallic sounds are so unnatural they really stand out.
modustollens wrote:It seems to be more of a psychological.....
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Re: Bear Bells.

Post by Woods Walker » Thu Jun 18, 2015 8:33 pm

The night hike........

Even the Mountain laurels don't take any guff. These things are like trees.

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Keeping the night terrors in check. I believe bears are active at night.

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Getting ready for the inevitable knife vs. claw/jaw fight. Different Mora this time!

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I call this blade "The Shinning".

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A pack in the ferns. Do bears hide in the ferns or is that just velociraptors?

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Oh the heck with this silly knife stuff.

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Re: Bear Bells.

Post by ineffableone » Thu Jun 18, 2015 8:44 pm

Woods Walker wrote:
johnnyrover wrote:Bear Bells - sound does not travel well in wooded or windy areas...
I read that before online but it seems to counter my actual experience. Ok granted that obstructions etc etc will mitigate any sound to some degree but just today I heard a dog's tags clanking within a heavily wooded area well before seeing it. I heard people wearing bells on the AT a long time before actually seeing them as well. New England is really really wooded. In fact I think it might now be the most wooded area in the entire lower 48. Maybe if I was up to my armpits in a hell of mountain laurels with of all things a tropical storm bearing (pun intended) down that might turn me into a ninja but dang I don't have Jaime Sommers's bionic ear yet I hear bells very well in the woods in nearly any cover or weather within some semblance of reason. In fact metallic sounds are so unnatural they really stand out.
modustollens wrote:It seems to be more of a psychological.....
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Yep my actual experience says different than this so called "internet wisdom" of sound not traveling in the woods. As I mentioned in a previous post, I would often hear people's bear bells jingling 20-30 min before I could see them. And as to sound in the woods. It is amazing how well sound travels out in the woods. I have heard people in camps talking in normal speaking voices quite long distances yet they sound like they are right next to me. Acoustics of forests can do some interesting things.
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Re: Bear Bells.

Post by Doctorr Fabulous » Fri Jun 19, 2015 2:41 am

If you're moving quiet, you can hear leaves crunching a few hundred feet off in the woods, especially at night. I remember setting in ambushes in red team exercises and being able to hear someone's home made sling (carabiner and paracord) clinking from at least a hundred meters away, and a Motorola radio crackling about fifty meters away with ease. Sounds travel, I think most people tend to internalize or not pay attention, or move too loudly to hear them. Of course, wind direction and the thickness of brush matter. I will note that LP stands for 'listening post' and they were a common occurrence in Vietnam before NVDs were widely issued.

YMMV, but a bear bell on my chest pack weighs less than the whistle I keep in the auxiliary pouch or the lighter. Serves to let other hikers know I'm coming around a corner too, so nobody has to get caught with their pants down. Silencing it is fairly easy, should the jingle get annoying. I look at it the way I look at an emergency blanket, in that I probably won't need it as long as I have it.
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Re: Bear Bells.

Post by Blackdog » Fri Jun 19, 2015 3:05 pm

In my neck of the woods bear bells are a no brainer, who needs a surprise

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Re: Bear Bells.

Post by the_alias » Fri Jun 19, 2015 5:07 pm

Spent a few days at Katmai, AK to see the Bears do their fishing for Salmon, you're in concentrated Grizzly bear country there and you get an induction.

Clapping and talking loudly while you walk was what we were told. Went for a walk myself one day to see the campsite area the place has (electric fenced) and on the path hear a rustling ahead, turns out was my parents walking back who also thought I could be a bear :lol:
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Re: Bear Bells.

Post by Woods Walker » Fri Jun 19, 2015 6:42 pm

One of these days I am going to disagree with Blackdog about something. I guess first he would have to be wrong. :lol:

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Re: Bear Bells.

Post by johnnyrover » Fri Jun 19, 2015 7:27 pm

bells never seemed to be effective, or the bears simply did not associate the sound with something they needed to move away from...

As far as the internet wisdom....

just uploaded these, most are 10 years old when I was guiding in Northern Canada (before good digital cameras). sometimes you never see them, sometimes they just leave little reminders they are there, other times they just don't care you are there.

https://www.flickr.com/gp/25461925@N03/4U4R29

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Re: Bear Bells.

Post by ineffableone » Fri Jun 19, 2015 7:48 pm

johnnyrover wrote:bells never seemed to be effective, or the bears simply did not associate the sound with something they needed to move away from...
I think this sums up the bear bell perception problem, most people seem to have this incorrect idea that the bells will drive bears away.

Bear bells are not for scaring bears or to make them move away from you. The purpose of bear bells is to let the bears know you are there. That is it. It is to prevent you from coming upon a bear suddenly and startling it. They are about keeping you from being too quite and able to sneak up on a bear.

Will bears move away from someone with bear bells? Some times, sometimes not.

When I was working trail maintenance, we had a 30 min delay going up the trail because a bear had found a bee hive just off the side of the trail. There was no moving that bear away from the honey until it was done with it. There was no going by the bear as any approach would be met with force assuming we were trying to steal his hard won honey. We just had to wait for the bear to finish and walk away.

Bells or other noise would not move that bear. And that is something people need to understand. The bells are just to make sure the bear is aware your there, if the bear wants to flee from you or block your path is completely then up to the bear. In general bears will opt to avoid contact with humans if possible unless they are used to being feed or are guarding something like a kill or their cubs. But sometimes bears are just grumpy or curious, like people they have personalities. It is not uncommon for bears to check you out while your camping in their territory, think about it from their perspective. Some large animal just came and squatted their land. They want to know who you are and if your a threat. And maybe if you have a pot of honey they can borrow :wink:
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Re: Bear Bells.

Post by modustollens » Fri Jun 19, 2015 9:52 pm

Inductive arguments based on anecdotes that bells work are just as bad as the arguments that say they don't.

I am not convinced. But, I have yet to see sufficient proof for either position. But, there are more than enough categorical statements claiming that they are not effective:
Despite the fact that bells people strap to their daypacks as a noisemaker to warn off bears are sold in large numbers at outdoor stores in Calgary, they are not effective on the trails of Kananaskis, according to a Kananaskis area official.

Duane Fizor, the information services co-ordinator for Kananaskis Country, said Calgarians visiting the mountains for hiking, horseback riding or cross-country skiing, could be close to a bear so it’s important to be prepared but added that it is a myth that the small bells are effective.

“They don’t work at all and we don’t recommend them because they’re not loud enough,” Fizor said regarding the use of bear bells in Kananaskis Country.
http://www.calgaryjournalonline.ca/news ... neffective

This article describes research using a real bear to devise and test bear deterrents.
When the researchers rang small bells—then sold to hikers in Glacier to warn bears of their approach—Growly slept through the test. Twice.
http://www.slate.com/articles/technolog ... prays.html


Parks Canada is clear but ambiguous merely stating that "Bear bells are not enough." But this is ambiguous given that 5 dollars is not enough for something that costs 10, but 5 is still not without some utility.
http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/mtn/ours- ... eople.aspx

Others, still, are clearer:
Many hikers think they can rely on bear bells; however, this is likely to be a mistake. For the most part bear bells are pretty useless. The noise generated by the bells generally doesn't carry well, and are completely useless in windy conditions, near streams, and in open terrain.
http://www.hikinginglacier.com/glacier- ... -bears.htm

I found one who claimed bells work:
”Bells are a 100 percent sure thing,” Holmes said. ”Everyone will agree that a lot of bear attacks occur because someone surprises the bears. If a mama bear hears bells, that’s not bird singing or water gurgling. She stands on her hind legs, gathers her cubs, and goes away. I’ve never heard anyone say that bells are background noise in the woods.”
Of course, in this article the 'sure thing' turns out to not be so sure:
But bear bells in practice have yielded some strange results. An experiment by the U.S. Geological Survey’s Tom Smith found that the use of bells may have a negligible effect on brown bears. Smith brought bear bells to a hunting blind in Katmai National Park and strung them up in the surrounding bushes. When he pulled on the bells, nearby bears did not react.

”This doesn’t mean bear bells don’t work,” he said. ”It just means the bears didn’t respond the way we thought they would. Not one of them reacted to the bells at all.
http://www.outdoorhub.com/news/2013/08/ ... effective/


I am not convinced. And I will remain so without some well constructed experiments.

What is clear about bells is that, once a bear has started to attack, a bell won't scare it away or be an effective defence - as Parks Canada says, bells are "not enough." If one is worried about bear attacks, more preparations are required - some form of defence is required - spray, firearm etc.. A bell - effective or not at warning bears, won't do anything in the worst case scenario.

Having only a bear bell is not a good idea, and this will be true whether the bells work or not.

MT
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Favorite Zombie Movies: Undead, Dead Alive/Braindead, Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland, 28 days, 28 Weeks Later, I Am Legend, Resident Evil franchise, Serenity (I would call Revers pretty damn zombie), Versus, Black Sheep
Location: Pac Northwest, East of the Cascades

Re: Bear Bells.

Post by ineffableone » Fri Jun 19, 2015 9:56 pm

modustollens wrote:What is clear about bells is that, once a bear has started to attack, a bell won't scare it away or be an effective defence - as Parks Canada says, bells are "not enough." If one is worried about bear attacks, more preparations are required - some form of defence is required - spray, firearm etc.. A bell - effective or not at warning bears, won't do anything in the worst case scenario.

MT
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"Once a man has seen society's black underbelly, he can never turn his back on it. Never pretend, like you do, that it doesn't exist"

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