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  1. #1
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    Default deterring things that go bump in the night

    What's the best way to ward off large predators at night while camping/backpacking in the woods? What keeps them at bay in the black of night, and not chomping down through you and that thin wall of nylon?

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    Senior Member JivinJeffJones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Risen View Post
    What's the best way to ward off large predators at night while camping/backpacking in the woods? What keeps them at bay in the black of night, and not chomping down through you and that thin wall of nylon?
    Fire? Ring of salt? Silver?

    The only large predators we have in these parts live in or near the water, so they're easy to avoid.

  3. #3
    Phantonym
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    Quote Originally Posted by JivinJeffJones View Post
    Fire? Ring of salt? Silver?
    No, no, apparently it could be...human hair.

    Can Hair Be Used to Keep Wild Animals Away?

    Keeping animals away may have a lot to do with the human scent in some circumstances. Wild animals that have not become accustomed to the scent of humans may make a quick detour should they smell an unfamiliar aroma in their otherwise natural habitat. At least this seems to be the reasoning behind what some folks believe.

    One simple way to distribute the human scent was by hair. After getting a home haircut or a trim, hair could be thrown outside around areas that animals were unwanted. Loose hair though could be blown away by wind making hair scent a temporary thing. To help keep hair from flying away it could be put in a bag with some holes punched in to allow the smell out. Some people used old worn out socks or pantyhose for this purpose.

    People that didn't have home haircuts could ask for the clippings from a barber or hairdresser.

    What kind of animals would this work on?

    In order for this to work you have to think about domesticated and non-domesticated animals and do you live on the outskirts of town, in the country or in the city.

    Domesticated animals in the country or city are used to human scent since they are around it pretty much all the time. You wouldn't see a cow run away from a human that feeds them or find that the neighbor's cat is staying out of your garden after you've chased it out countless times.

    Animals that are unfamiliar with human scent are the ones that will likely stay away at least for awhile. These types of animals are probably going to be found in the country or rural areas where there aren't many humans. Animals such as coyotes, wolves, foxes, rats, mice, wild rabbits or deer will ordinarily fall under the undomesticated sort.

    Putting out food for wild animals in any situation especially if they are hungry can draw them in no matter what.

    A couple of ways other than tossing hair onto the ground you can do is to hang strands of hair from trees or try scattering hole spread socks filled with hair.

    If you aren't trying to keep animals away, consider tossing hair outside for birds to build their nests with. For extra hair, clean your combs and brushes. There's always going to be some strands that fall out every time you brush or comb your hair.
    Source - Can Hair Be Used to Keep Wild Animals Away?



    If that doesn't work out that well but you're still alive the next time you're on a camping trip, consider this:

    Bears are always on people's minds but in actual fact, animals you should be worried about are Mice, Red Squirrels and Raccoons.

    Black Bears are extremely timid and really the only times they are dangerous is when you corner them or do something threatening. Bears keep their distance and are not a problem. To keep all animals out of your food and your tent, do the following.

    # Keep ALL EDIBLE FOOD in a cooler with a locking lid. Then wrap the cooler a couple of times with rope just for added protection. Then hang the cooler at least 7 feet off the ground.

    # Never bring any food into your tent at any time, which includes candy, gum or toothpaste. Bears go nuts over the smell of mint or peppermint, which is why park wardens always tell people to keep their toothpaste with their food.

    # Any food left over from dinner should be either burned or put back in your cooler.

    # Always wash your pots, pans and dishes before and after you use them. At night, mice come into your camp to look for food. Their feces can carry many forms of bacteria, which can make you sick.

    # All animals hate the smell of fabric softener so bring lots of fabric softener sheets and put them everywhere. Put them in your knapsack, your tent, in your sleeping bag and even in your cooler. This is extra protection and will help mask the smell of food and keep curious animals away.
    Source - How To Keep Bears Away From You Campsite

  4. #4
    Oberon
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    Keep any and all food away from your tent... likewise all your garbage.

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    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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    Holiday Inn

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    Quote Originally Posted by oberon View Post
    Keep any and all food away from your tent... likewise all your garbage.
    This.
    Everybody have fun tonight. Everybody Wang Chung tonight.

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    Don't pet me. JAVO's Avatar
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    Sky: Good research, and interesting about hair being a deterrent.


    First, most large predators generally view humans as a large predator. This is less likely to be the case where the animals have special protection and are used to human interaction, such as in national parks.

    A tent is only a slight barrier to an attack. At least you'll (hopefully) hear ripping of nylon 1 second before ripping of your own flesh. Many sleep out in the open or just under a tarp, even in grizzly country. I've slept in the open or under a tarp many times without any problems other than the distraction of wanting to stay awake to watch for interesting wildlife or shooting stars. I did once hear a coyote howl from about 20 yards away while sleeping under a tarp which startled me and made me do a quick searchlight style scan of the woods before I could go back to sleep!

    Keep anything with a food or a pleasant smell away from camp at least 100-200 yards downwind. This includes anything used to cook with, deodorant, soap, toothbrushes, and toothpaste. Hang all of this in a tree using one of the common bear bagging techniques or a bear-resistant container. Remember that black bears are expert tree climbers. It's important to do this even if the largest predator is a mouse or raccoon just because you don't want to lose your food or get a hole chewed through the tent or backpack.

    If a large predator does come into your camp, it's likely just curious or hoping you left some food laying around. Loud noises will likely scare it away for good.

    In the very rare case a large predator does attack at night, it intends to eat you, especially if it's a black bear. Grizzlies are more aggressive, and may be attacking just because you're there. Playing dead is the best all-around advice for a grizzly attack. From my reading, the most effective weapons to deter or end an attack are (in order of effectiveness):

    1. Bear spray (large canister of pepper spray)
    2. Sturdy, long stick (questionable in effectiveness against a grizzly)
    3. Firearm (questionable in effectiveness against a grizzly unless you get a well-placed shot)
    4. Large blade (good luck to you in hand-to-hand combat with a grizzly )

    Edit:
    I should add that the only victim of a predator attack I've encountered is a bag of tortilla chips lost to raccoons. A whole pack of the snarling beasts snatched it from a picnic table when I was loading the food back into the car after a late dinner in the dark while car camping. Then, they taunted me by munching on the chips half the night right outside my tent!

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    Good tips here, especially about the food. What about the habits of mountain lions and how to keep them away?

  9. #9
    Don't pet me. JAVO's Avatar
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    I'm not really that concerned about mountain lions when sleeping. I try to stay alert for them while hiking because it seems that's when most people are attacked. Plus, where I hike, mountain lion sightings are about as rare as bigfoot sightings. Children or smaller adults are the most vulnerable. Feline predators try to disable the victim as quickly as possible with a powerful bite to the skull or neck/spinal cord, so protect those areas instantly if attacked. Fighting back with anything and yelling seems to be effective.

    Here's a good research article:

    Beier's List of Mountain Lion Attacks

    Interesting descriptions of attacks:

    List of Mountain Lion Attacks On People in California

  10. #10
    Senior Member Nonsensical's Avatar
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    Mark your territory.

    what I mean is...piss around the perimeter of your camp site.
    Is it that by its indefiniteness it shadows forth the heartless voids and immensities of the universe, and thus stabs us from behind with the thought of annihilation, when beholding the white depths of the milky way?

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