RV Boondocking and Bears

by charlotte

Hello there! I am wanting to do RVing indefinitely until I either find a place I want to live or just get bored. I plan on traveling all over the United States, possibly Canada, Mexico and so forth. I plan to visit all the national and state parks,lakes. I am scared though of running into bears and mountain lions. I don't take kindly to being eaten, it's not my destiny! I know there is pepper spray for bears and hopefully mountain lions, but I am terrified of them getting that close to me in the first place to use the pepper spray.

People say to stand still and wave your arms, don't run, don't look the bear in the eye etc.. I don't know if I have the courage to stand still while a bear is charging me. Can you give me any ideas on how to get over this fear? I think if I had a gun that would give me all the courage I need, I don't want my fear to ruin my trip to these places. I am not going to populated camps, but boondocking off the beaten track to save money, so what do you think?

Good Question
by: Susan

Hi Charlotte,

Here are a couple of tips:

Don't leave anything outside your rig that smells: no coolers (bears know what a cooler is), no makeup, toothpaste, etc.

If possible, avoid camping totally alone. Try to find a place where there are a few other folks camping, too.

If you're walking alone, sing or whistle; keep your eyes open - the noise you make will most likely keep bears away. I'm not sure about mountain lions. I carry a British police whistle (extremely loud!) with me when hiking. My mom gave it to me years ago and I figure it might scare an animal off. Haven't tested that theory yet.

I don't carry a gun. If you decide to do so, bear in mind that gun laws in every state vary; make sure you don't run afoul of the laws.

If you get attacked, fight back with everything you've got!

I don't know if any of the above will help, but hope you won't let your fears stop you from adventuring!

Comments for RV Boondocking and Bears

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Feb 06, 2018
Alaskan Cabin Builder
by: Dino

I Have lived in Alaska for over 35 years. 20 years of that in the woods building remote cabins.I work,eat & sleep with my 12 gauge shotgun. And have never had to use it. I think Bears smell The Gun oil; they cannot smell a spray can! I was called by my boss to fly out to help a coworker trapped by a bear in a cabin. I got off the plane walked up 30 feet to mom bear & told her to get her cubs out of a tree & leave. She did just that! SHOW NO FEAR & ALWAYS CARRY A 12 GAUGE SHOTGUN !

Great story. Thanks Dino!

Jan 27, 2018
Common sense
by: Bootsy

I used to work in a county park east of Seattle that was located on a small mountain, with a wildlife corridor to the Cascade mountains. I worked alone on weekends brushing trails. I occasionally encountered bears on the trail. It's good advice to make noise as you hike or when you're out and about, so the bear knows you're there. You don't want to startle it. I would just shout at it and it would run away. A mother and cubs? Be very very careful. We were told that if the bear starts to chase you, you should start dropping things behind you one by one. Especially if you have food on you. Drop that first. Jackets, hats, backpacks, whatever. The bear is supposed to stop and investigate each item as you drop it. Not sure if the bears are aware of their role in this tactic or not. Luckily I've never had one chase me so never had to test this theory.
Cougars are another story. You're supposed to make yourself look as big as you can. Put your hands in the pockets of your jacket and hold your arms out to your sides. If there are more than one of you, stand side by side and do this so you look like one huge creature. If there's a child with you, hold them in your arms as wild animals will attack the smallest first.
With both cougars and bears, unless they're already after you, do not run away. One, they're way faster than a human, and two, that will only encourage them to chase you. I cant imagine that a spray is going to do you any good. If they're close enough to hit with a spray can they're close enough to just take one swipe with their paw and kill you. With bears, you should roll up into a ball and protect your head with your arms.
Remember, they're wild animals, just because you may be in a car doesn't mean you're safe. If a bear is coming towards you when you're in a vehicle, stomp on the gas and get the hell out of there!
Hope any of this helps.

Nov 05, 2016
can bears get in rv's through the windows
by: Anonymous

can bears get in rv's through the windows or doors?

Dear Anonymous: Well, it you leave doors or windows open, they sure can. Don't forget, they are really strong - if the window is too small, they'll just tear it bigger if they smell something good. Susan

Jun 28, 2015
Native of Grizzly Country
by: Scott

Most attacks occur to people in groups of 2 or less. Very few actual attacks in US but many campgrounds and RVs get raided. They hate the sound of banging pots and pans, also rangers carry either sports horns (signalling the end of quarters) or boat horns. The very loud noise stops them. Also very bright lights will do the trick. MY father just hit the horn on the car and held it. He also threw a large rock and hit it-all that did was infuriate the bear. The horn and lights worked.

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