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#156511 - 10/31/11 12:19 PM Re: Dogs as bear deterrents... [Re: nighttime]
ppine Offline
member

Registered: 01/10/10
Posts: 184
Loc: Minden, Nevada
A dog may scare off animals, and it may not. Human scent is normally stronger than any dog. Humans have hunted with dogs since the domestication with wolves.

I have ridden horseback within 15 feet of coyotes and right into the middle of an elk herd. Equines are vegetarians and smell like plants and have 4 feet. Humans and a dogs are predators both usually smell like meat.

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#156867 - 11/06/11 12:31 PM Re: Dogs as bear deterrents... [Re: lori]
ppine Offline
member

Registered: 01/10/10
Posts: 184
Loc: Minden, Nevada
I just joined the Alaska Outdoors Forum. It is very interesting to hear from people who live with bears. They are very matter of fact about them. They take their dogs everywhere. They don't allow bears to change their travel plans much.

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#157091 - 11/09/11 03:54 PM Re: Dogs as bear deterrents... [Re: ppine]
ppine Offline
member

Registered: 01/10/10
Posts: 184
Loc: Minden, Nevada
After some deliberation, I have realized that I take my dogs backpacking because I take them everywhere. They do not stay home, and they do not go to kennels. We rarely fly anywhere. They want to be with their whole pack. Yhey are used to the bush.

Yesterday I saw a video of a large grizzly, ie over 500 pounds, that walked into a fish camp in Alaska after a bunch of salmon were put out on the bank. The bear was obviously interested in the fish. Several people came out with a Schnauzer and some 15 pound mutt. The two little dogs chased the large bear out of the camp at a run.

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#157131 - 11/10/11 01:12 AM Re: Dogs as bear deterrents... [Re: ppine]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By ppine

Yesterday I saw a video of a large grizzly, ie over 500 pounds, that walked into a fish camp in Alaska after a bunch of salmon were put out on the bank. The bear was obviously interested in the fish. Several people came out with a Schnauzer and some 15 pound mutt. The two little dogs chased the large bear out of the camp at a run.


I've also seen videos of grizzlys happily eating out of people's hands without harming them.

I've also seen videos of grizzlys running away from kids and cats.

Doesn't make it a good idea.

I've met grizzlys *lots* when hiking. I'm not afraid of them. but I respect them and give them space.

A dog in grizzly country is a liability. Sorry. I love my dog, I won't take him there. It'll just up the chances that the bear, and me, and my dog, end up hurt in an encounter. Sure, the bear might run away, or the bear might stand his ground. and then the dog going after the bear turns a relatively safe situation very dangerous.

Black bears that get hunted with dogs, possibly a different story - with a good big dog. I still would not take a dog into an area with lots of bears.

if I were *hunting* bear, totally different story. if I were carrying a gun with the intention of shooting a bear, totally different story. I'm not doing that while hiking. so, no bear liability dog for me.
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#157185 - 11/10/11 11:14 PM Re: Dogs as bear deterrents... [Re: phat]
ppine Offline
member

Registered: 01/10/10
Posts: 184
Loc: Minden, Nevada
Phat,

Check out the discussion on Alaska Outdoors Forum on dogs in the bush. Alaskans are around bears all the time, and they almost always take their dogs.

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#157190 - 11/11/11 12:19 AM Re: Dogs as bear deterrents... [Re: ppine]
aimless Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2838
Loc: Portland, OR
Alaskans are around bears all the time

I think you maybe missed the fact that phat is also around bears all the time. He's from British Columbia, which is pretty much as bear-infested as any place in Alaska, except perhaps the Kenai. He has many decades of experience with bears. I would think he doesn't require a dose of chatty Alaskans to tutor him in bear behavior.

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#157193 - 11/11/11 12:29 AM Re: Dogs as bear deterrents... [Re: aimless]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6372
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Actually, phat is from Alberta. He hikes in the Canadian Rockies which are prime bear habitat, with most of the area being national parks where both black and grizzly bear are protected and therefore unafraid of either dogs or humans.

I generally don't hike in grizz country (except for Wyoming's Wind Rivers where grizz have recently turned up even in the southernmost parts of the range), but I don't worry about my dog. I always keep him on leash or at heel behind me on the trail. He's wimpy enough that he wouldn't try to chase a bear anyway--he's scared to death of the neighborhood cats!


Edited by OregonMouse (11/11/11 12:30 AM)
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#157195 - 11/11/11 01:07 AM Re: Dogs as bear deterrents... [Re: OregonMouse]
aimless Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2838
Loc: Portland, OR
At least I located him on the correct continent. blush

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#157197 - 11/11/11 01:21 AM Re: Dogs as bear deterrents... [Re: aimless]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6372
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
And in the correct country! Besides, I'm sure he goes over the divide into BC quite a bit, as well as hiking the West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island! laugh

In fact, a couple of years ago he was here hiking in the Columbia River Gorge with several other TLB members! We need to schedule another TLB hike somewhere! The one suggested for Colorado (to be hosted by Food/Ringtail) didn't work out, but the one we had here was a great success,


Edited by OregonMouse (11/11/11 08:00 AM)
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#157228 - 11/11/11 01:25 PM Re: Dogs as bear deterrents... [Re: aimless]
Heather-ak Offline
member

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 597
Loc: Fairbanks, AK
I'm more scared of moose than bear. See a lot more of them too. Moose kill dogs - at least once a winter I hear about a moose stomping a mushers line of dogs (while they are pulling the sled.)

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#157246 - 11/11/11 08:32 PM Re: Dogs as bear deterrents... [Re: Heather-ak]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Everything I read about moose (mooses? meese?) says (more or less) "really, really, really big deer with a bad attitude." grin
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#157249 - 11/11/11 09:44 PM Re: Dogs as bear deterrents... [Re: TomD]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Correct, I'm from Alberta - Altough I trek into BC a lot.

Now as for moose, they don't scare me much, but I eat a lot of them. Bulls in the rut can be agressive, but are basically dumb as posts then. Both cow moose and cow elk however can be dangerous when they have calves with them. Their survival strategy for milennia of wolves is to stomp anything that threatens baby until it doesn't move. Always best to give a cow moose or elk with a baby space.
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#157250 - 11/11/11 09:45 PM Re: Dogs as bear deterrents... [Re: OregonMouse]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By OregonMouse

In fact, a couple of years ago he was here hiking in the Columbia River Gorge with several other TLB members! We need to schedule another TLB hike somewhere! The one suggested for Colorado (to be hosted by Food/Ringtail) didn't work out, but the one we had here was a great success,


Maybe you could all cross the border and we could all do West Coast Trail..
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#157255 - 11/11/11 10:52 PM Re: Dogs as bear deterrents... [Re: Heather-ak]
JPete Offline
member

Registered: 05/28/09
Posts: 304
Loc: Eastern Ontario
Without suggsting that this is funny, I had to laugh because in something like 65 years of spending time in the back country pretty regularly, the only critter that has ever attacked me was a bull moose (in season -- late fall in Maine). Best, jcp

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#157263 - 11/12/11 11:58 AM Re: Dogs as bear deterrents... [Re: JPete]
ppine Offline
member

Registered: 01/10/10
Posts: 184
Loc: Minden, Nevada
Moose are definetly not to be messed with. Nor are elk or buffalo. This Sept I was elk hunting in NE Nevada near the Idaho border. The herds were scattered and spent most of their time in the deep riparian stands of aspen and willows. I played ring around the rosy with a large bull in a willow thicket at 25 yards. He was not intimidated by my presence, and made some demonstrations to that effect. I felt like the muzzleloader in my hand was more for protection than anything.


Edited by ppine (11/12/11 07:39 PM)

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#157280 - 11/12/11 07:19 PM Re: Dogs as bear deterrents... [Re: rabbitearscarver]
Franco Offline
member

Registered: 04/05/04
Posts: 997
Loc: Australia
A very interesting book that touches many times on the subject is Polar Dream by Helen Thayer.
The short version is that her dog saved her life several times fending off polar bears.
BUT it was a husky that had a natural instinct to cope with the situation.
(IE not a pet, it was an Innuit working dog used to polar bears)
The interesting part is how very differently the dog behaved with different bears.
Franco

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#157404 - 11/14/11 03:45 PM Re: Dogs as bear deterrents... [Re: Franco]
ppine Offline
member

Registered: 01/10/10
Posts: 184
Loc: Minden, Nevada
Franco,

Polar bears can make even experienced explorers tremble. I have no experience with white bears, except for reading about Arctic explorers and canoesists on high latitude rivers. After living with Barren Grounds grizzlies, even for months, it is common for these intrepid types to dread going north into the range of polar bears.

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#157409 - 11/14/11 04:18 PM Re: Dogs as bear deterrents... [Re: ppine]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
I have heard the Inuit/Polar Bear realtionship described as "mutual predation."

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#157484 - 11/15/11 01:39 PM Re: Dogs as bear deterrents... [Re: oldranger]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
This isn't to anyone, just a statement. I know what to do about black bears and taking my dog into those areas doesn't concern me. So far she has responded well to any exposure to black bears and listens to my commands. But I am certainly not using her as a defence against them. However, grizzly and wolf territory she is not familiar with and I am not willing to put her at risk of getting killed. Having her there could also exacerbate the situation when what we need is to be cool.

Besides that, there was one night where a bear ran by our camp and she was so tired she just slept through it all. For that matter, the wife and kids slept through it all as well.

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#157499 - 11/15/11 05:48 PM Re: Dogs as bear deterrents... [Re: ppine]
midnightsun03 Offline
member

Registered: 08/06/03
Posts: 2936
Loc: Alaska
When it comes to bears in Alaska, there's alot of different issues. Sure, we're used to sharing the trail with both blackies and browns. Most of the time in Anchorage they are pretty good neighbors. But sometimes they aren't. A dog isn't going to deter a grumpy bear, although it might alert the bear to human presence in time for the bear to take off before the human is in sight. But a bear guarding a kill isn't going to care whether there is a dog, a wolf, a coyote, or a 15 year old on a mountain bike, they are going to be aggressive. We don't hike with dogs to deter bears, we hike with dogs because we like to hike with dogs. Maybe because bears are just a "normal" part of the scenery they all seem to play pretty well together in the sandbox. But if you were to take a dog into an area that it is not familiar, with the potential of meeting a bear, with which it is not familiar, the dog might get itself hurt.

You really can't compare bear behavior in Alaska to bear behavior anywhere else. I've said this before and I will say it again. You can't even compare bear in Anchorage to bear in Kenai or Kodiak or in the Brooks Range. Bear behavior is based on how well it is thriving and how hungry it is and how plentiful food is at any given time. When food is late in arriving we have alot of incidents with bears. When berries and fish arrive on time, fewer incidents. You can not make assumptions about bear safety from reading a forum. We learn to hike with all of our senses - you have to be alert at ALL times. I can't tell you how many times I've had a black dog run up behind me and scare the crap out of me because out of the corner of my eye he looks like a juvy blackie, and they can be more dangerous than you'd think (like any teenager, they tend to act like they think they are invulnerable). You rarely walk through the woods without seeing wildlife because you have to keep your senses on alert at all times. We behave differently because of the bears, but it is so innate that when we talk about it we sound almost flip about the dangers. But believe me, most of us who hike in AK, with or without dogs, take something else as deterrent (bear spray or gun depending on one's feelings on the matter).

MNS (who is not currently in AK, but still looks for bears!)
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#157627 - 11/17/11 01:18 PM Re: Dogs as bear deterrents... [Re: midnightsun03]
bermuda ern Offline
newbie

Registered: 11/12/11
Posts: 11
Loc: Maryland
I took my three year old pit bull out for a 3 day trip at Green Ridge State Forest in Maryland the other weekend because I thought she may finally be up to the task. She still isn't used to carrying her food on her so I had to, but she is conditioned very well to hiking 8 hour day hikes over steep terrain with me since we live right on the border of a great state park.

I greatly underestimated her ability to sleep outside though. She was quite nervous for a few hours in the tent and was growling at every passing critter she could here in the night. At about 9, a black bear wandered down the hill into our camp and started ambling about and sniffing. If my ears are as good as I think, the bear was anywhere from 10-20 feet away from the tent and seemed pretty darn curious. Needless to say my dog was scared. I keep my camps immaculately clean and haven't had a bear approach camp since I was like 15 in boy scouts. My only explanation is that the bear was curious about the dog and was drawn in by her scent and sound. Nerve-racking.

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#157650 - 11/18/11 03:49 PM Re: Dogs as bear deterrents... [Re: phat]
OldScout Offline
member

Registered: 03/17/03
Posts: 501
Loc: Puget Sound, Washington
I'd be up for doing the West Coast Trail. (or, as my kid says, "I'm down with that.") In fact, my hiking buddy and I were talking about the West Coast Trail a couple of weeks ago and talking about how we needed to learn more about it. I had intended to contact Phat to get the particulars. OldScout

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#157661 - 11/19/11 10:09 AM Re: Dogs as bear deterrents... [Re: OldScout]
BradMT Offline
member

Registered: 08/23/04
Posts: 148
I didn't see it mentioned, but here in Montana Grizzly country, the other thing to consider is wolves...

A wolf WILL KILL your dog if they come into contact with it. Period.

Side note to dog-hikers... if you're on NF land please leash your dog. It's the law and it's the courteous thing to do.
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#181699 - 01/04/14 04:04 PM Re: Dogs as bear deterrents... [Re: BradMT]
Stu Jordan Offline
newbie

Registered: 01/04/14
Posts: 1
I know this is an old thread, but...

Live in the Ozark National Forest. Specifically where the game office drop off bears that are written off as "trouble makes" caught near residences.

Last March I was charged by a rather large, male, black bear...the only thing that saved my bacon was a dog named Doo. Not "Scooby-Doo", but "Doo". Then there are the dozen or so encounters where the bears came into my yard that Doo ran up a tree. Then there was the time a bear busted out two of my windows. Bears here are not afraid of people.

Long story short...a dog is a must. If you walk in brown/griz country...I'd take at least three. Don't have to be big dogs. Funny thing is...black bears can count. They tend to think twice with one dog, but two dogs....they will take cover rather than advance. Three dogs...no worries.

Half guard dog and half hound is a good bet. Best of both worlds without them straying too much. With that said you don't want the "half-hound" to be red-bone, blue-tick or anyother hound adept at running 20 miles a day. You will loose them in short order. A mild hound like a "water-dog" (lab/weimeraner) mixed in with a BIG guard dog (mastiff/dane).

Any LARGE pure bred guard dog will do, but they cost money while muts are typically free. Even a single teacup poodle is better than nothing...assuming you can out run the dog of course. A single pitbull will work, but you can't run more than one cause they'll fight your other dogs if not kill them.

With my experience with black bear...I'd never test my luck with brown/griz...

Stu


Edited by Stu Jordan (01/04/14 04:26 PM)

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#181703 - 01/05/14 04:58 PM Re: Dogs as bear deterrents... [Re: Stu Jordan]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3865
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Originally Posted By Stu
Bears here are not afraid of people.


First off, Welcome to the Forums!!!

It's nice to have another Ozarker here. What part of the NF do you live in?

Stu, you're the only person I've ever heard say that black bears are a problem anywhere in the Ozarks. I've spent a lot of time in the Ozark NF, weeks wondering around each side of Push Mountain Rd, weeks within the Richland Creek Wilderness and the Buffalo River Wilderness areas, and a lot of time in others parts of it too.

I know a lot bears are killed in Arkansas each year. 431 were killed in 2012, and that same year there were 130 reports statewide for nuisance bear calls logged by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, which I consider pretty low.

I'd love for you to chime in on the discussion going on here in the Backcountry Health & Safety Forum.

I've been telling people here just about the exact opposite of what you're saying, and you seem to have a lot more experience with black bears here than I do, so I'd like to hear more about those experiences, as I'm sure others would too.

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