Sleeping peacefully in griz country

Bluejeep

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Jan 31, 2018
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Billings, MT
Just curious about what other backpackers are doing in griz country as far as sleeping at night. This will be my first year hunting in griz country and normally I just sleep under a tarp if anything, usually just bag ontop of pad and call it good enough. but I have a 2 people tell me now I should sleep in an enclosed tent. The idea being the bear would just sniff around and then leave as opposed to maybe seeing me move my head or arms and figuring I was an easy meal.

I know that a piece of paper thin fabric won't stop much of anything, but I was just curious what other backpackers do.
 

Carnage2011

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Whitehall, MT
I've done both depending on the time of year. If I'm out scouting or hiking in the summer I'll just throw my sleeping bag out with a bivy on it, and I've never had any issues. During hunting season I use a tent. The biggest thing with grizzlies is keeping your food away from camp, and getting it hung in trees. I'd say it's your call depending on how comfortable you are in Grizz country.
 

COEngineer

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My wife and I spent 5 nights in Yellowstone's backcountry. I doubt an enclosed tent would make any difference to the bear, but it made my wife (and me) feel better. Just because it's only a psychological barrier doesn't mean it's not worth it.
 

LopeHunter

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MO-->CA-->NW-->AZ&NW
Electric fence is great if around grizzly. My issue is I want to be in position to hunt before daylight and hunt until last light. The electric fence is not useful when in motion.

If in a tent, keep a sharp knife near so can make a quick exit since the tent opening may be obstructed. I slept with gun at side though a rifle is not ideal in a close quarters fight so need a pistol. Firing off bear spray inside the tent may be effective on the bear, too, and anyone in the tent. Bears have attacked and will attack since that is what they do and have done for centuries. Playing the odds that only a handful of 1000s of hunters in grizzly country get attacked each year may get you mauled or killed. I know some mountain climbers refuse to take a transponder or satellite phone on the climb since they want the pureness of the climber vs. the mountain. Then, a few have stuff hit the fan and sure enough their family is crying into the television camera how everyone needs to go and try to locate their overdue loved one. The guy that wanted the pure experience. That now is putting rescuers at risk who also have loved ones.


You do you. Maybe you will carry bear spray or a handgun or an electric fence or hunt with a partner or you only walk during daytime or you avoid known grizzly zones. Just be sure to think about those that may have to come looking for you if you shrug off the reality of the risk.
 

Bambistew

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As far as I know there has never been a person attacked in a tent by a grizzly.

What I do worry about is one destroying my camp when I'm out hunting, or running into one while hiking.

I don't leave any food, fuel or cook in my tent, and if I can, hang my stuff in a tree away from the tent. Bears like vinyl, rubber and petroleum products.
 

Ben Long

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Several people have been pulled from their tents over the years, but mostly in national parks in the lower 48. The more you camp out in grizzly country, the easier it seems at night. I sleep with a can of pepper spray and headlamp handy. I have resorted to Tylenol PM or melatonin to help the Sand Man.
 

neffa3

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As far as I know there has never been a person attacked in a tent by a grizzly.
I think Mr. Long himself wrote a good book that would contradict that, though I honestly can't remember if the story I'm thinking about were in his (based on MT) or the Wyoming one by Tom Reed.
 

Bambistew

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I think Mr. Long himself wrote a good book that would contradict that, though I honestly can't remember if the story I'm thinking about were in his (based on MT) or the Wyoming one by Tom Reed.
By a grizzly or black bear?
 

devon deer

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England
iPod and good music, drowns out the old fart snoring in the tent next to me and anything sniffing around outside, I never sleep well in a tent anywhere so might as well enjoy some good tunes!
Cheers
Richard
 

Blockcaver

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Two hunters were mauled in a tent in SE BC a few years back. Both lived to tell about it.

I've had Alaskan grizzlies sniff the backpack tent inches from my face on two separate occasions years apart....scaring the heck out of me, and the other one or two guys that were in the tent with me. No mauling though.
 

Straight Arrow

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Gallatin Gateway, MT
What I do worry about is one destroying my camp when I'm out hunting ....
A friend had his backcountry camp ransacked as he was out bowhunting. However, the unfortunate griz consumed everything it could get ahold of ... including a can of coleman fuel, which was a fatal mistake. FWP, the sheriff, and the griz death investigators visited the camp and determined the endangered bear fatality no fault of the hunter, as the griz was stupid enough to consume coleman fuel.
 

Bluejeep

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Billings, MT
They also can smell money and seem to select items to destroy based on their price tag.
Whew! At least I'll be safe in that department.

I hunt solo. I like the freedom I have in the choices I make and it gives me time to decompress. With that, I always leave a hunt plan with my wife. This includes a planed date to be home by, and a call search and rescue date and time. This will also be the first year I will be using an InReach and both her and I are looking forward to that.

I used to hunt in an area that had a very healthy black bear population and always kept a very clean camp. I have had a few run-ins with them, including a few in camp. In one camp encounter I ended up firing my weapon to scare the bear off, only to have it return about 20 minutes later. Another crack from the rifle and he just ever so slowly turned and headed back in the bitter brush. I called it a night right there and went to bed, sleeping with the rifle across my lap. As far as I know he didn't come back that night.

I will be carrying spray and of course my rifle. I have no issues using the spray if something comes into camp, the rifle would be a last resort. I was mostly wondering how everyone did their overnights in grizzly country. From what it sounds like, it's going to be no different for me camp wise, just maybe a little more jumpy at night for a bit.

Does anyone know if you have to report the use of bear spray? I would think it would be a good idea either way.
 
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