An experienced camper always checks off a long list of necessities before heading out into the wild. Food and water are obviously high on the list, but, in some locations, extra measures for security against wildlife can be just as important.
Bears are always a huge concern considering they can threaten lives as well as lunches. Some specialty items such as trash bins and coolers are made to keep bears from reaching the contents inside.
In order to be considered “bear-proof” these products must pass a test that consists of surviving 60 minutes of time with a bear without breaking or cracking.
KULR8 News reported on a study conducted in Yellowstone National Park involving the testing of more than a thousand trash bins and food containers against a local 600 pound grizzly bear. Only 60% of the containers passed the test.
This study was meant to protect campers while also preventing negative action against the bear population.
“…That’s all about saving bears’ lives,” said the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center Facilities Manager Randy Gravatt.
However, 9 News from Colorado reports that bear-proof containers may not be enough to protect campers. The bear population in the Rocky Mountain State has grown from 12,000 in the early 2000s to an estimated 19,000 today.
This rapid increase turned out to be more than the state was ready to handle in wildlife management. Some suggestions to control it involved extending hunting seasons and practices, but we’re ultimately dismissed in favor of more neutral methods.
A new study plans to investigate not only the growth of the population, but also the recent change in bear habits.
State Representative Yeulin Willet explained, “They are also going to look at why the bears are coming in more aggressively to humans and what might be done to haze the bears or decrease populations.”
While Willet believes that human factors such as “trash management” and “clean camping issues,” are partially to blame, he still believes more responsible hunting practices could be the answer.
As bear encounters become more of an issue for campers, safety precautions will become an important tool in camping safety. Responsible practices and bear-proof gear may save human and bear lives alike.