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12/21/2015 6:49 am  #1


Winter Food handling

My primary wildlife fear in the back country is the dreaded chipmunk. 

Sure, bears make a grand entrance and can swipe your food but it usually is a big deal. You know what is going on. The little guys will dart in like lightning and grab something while your back is turned. I will turn back around, miss the item and pass it off as age. "Now where did I set that dang thing down". Pass it off that it is another item I left at home even though I have a hazy recollection of just pulling it out. The little terrors thus leave me hungry and doubting my faculties at the same time.

Plus their so darn cute that when they are watching me prepare food I think it is just a wilderness cooking show - they are in awe of my cast iron skills. I see little thought bubbles above their head saying "tres bien, what technique!" when in reality it is "the fat guy is about to turn his back. wait for it... wait for it... GO!"

So even when most of the big furry guys are napping I follow proper food storage.prep techniques.

My question is which is better for wolves? Hanging food or a bear canister? I find the canister heavy, but mighty convenient to store stuff secure until just when I need it. My bear bag system is much lighter though.

I think of bear as the "lone wolf" but wolves come across as a group of highly skilled and coordinated scavenger / hunters. Don't necessarily want them close to camp when traveling with a smaller individual (yes, of course, way more likely to be injured by lightning, car accident, heart attack or shock at the lines at the border). At the same time would love to hear them, see them or see tracks of other evidence of them (yes - I take pictures of scat on my vacations!)

Still adjusting to videos of hot-tenters cooking bacon inside the tent...

Last edited by tenderfoot (12/21/2015 6:50 am)

 

12/21/2015 10:25 am  #2


Re: Winter Food handling

Wolves may be highly coordinated scavengers/hunters but I don't think they've ever been recorded climbing on each others' shoulders in lupine pyramid formation. Bears are far better climbers than wolves, can reach much higher from the ground, and are far more stable and dextrous when on their hind legs.

Think about it like this -- bears hibernate in the winter, but wolves don't hibernate in the summer. They're around year-round. So if any bear proofing system wasn't wolf-proof, it would probably not be recommended for canoe season in wolf and bear country.

So either a bear hang or a canister should be fine for a trip in the middle of winter. Since you seem to prefer the bear hang system for the sake of weight (as would I, especially on an overland trip), go with that, and don't even worry if your rig doesn't meet the height and distance guidelines for a bear hang, since you're contending with smaller, more ground-bound animals.

 

12/21/2015 3:59 pm  #3


Re: Winter Food handling

"climbing on each others' shoulders in lupine pyramid formation."

Just the sort of technique I fear. Such a diversion would be just enough for me to step away from my trusty 3" Swiss army knife. Making me easy pickings for the rest of the pack creeping up from behind. (note to self: never rent "The Grey" again).

Thank you

Last edited by tenderfoot (12/21/2015 4:00 pm)

     Thread Starter
 

12/21/2015 4:11 pm  #4


Re: Winter Food handling

Hang or canister. Neither. Just a roll top dry bag right beside me in the tent. That plus a bag of extra clothes makes for a nice recliner. With very few exceptions wolves don't raid campsites. Certainly not packs of wolves. I wouldn't and don't worry about it. 

These guys on the other hand are nothing but trouble...

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-eNk5mI79orA/VnguzlB-EeI/AAAAAAAA1kw/0w6duSAsEn8/s800/P1100912.JPG


 

 

12/22/2015 11:27 am  #5


Re: Winter Food handling

Talking about destructive behaviour in wildlife. Thanks to 1 squirrel and several chipmunks, I now have 2 pop can size holes in my tent. With no food whatsoever in the tent, nor had there been any, I have no idea what they were looking for. The squirrel i knocked off the under tent in the middle of the night, with  a flash light on., so i knew what it was, but too late, hole allready created. The chipmunks attacked while gone, but saw them racing out from underneath tent coming back. Again too late, another hole. This was in Algonquin, on a wilderness site. Repairs have been made, but what a pain in the neck. Anybody out there have a good way to deter them?? 
Any ideas welcome.
Wanda S

 

12/29/2015 2:30 pm  #6


Re: Winter Food handling

I have a hole in my pfd where a chipmunk went for a granola wrapper that I forgot in the pocket. I think when people leave food out, it makes them more likely to try for tents. Perhaps there was a smell on the tent/ in the tent? I do not think there is any way to completely avoid this type of thing. Keep food smells to a minimum and keep a patch mit?

 

1/03/2016 6:48 pm  #7


Re: Winter Food handling

Speaking of wild canines climbing, I watched a video last year of a coyote coming across a bobcat that caught a goose. The bobcat was probably 20' up in a tree with the goose when the coyote spotted it. That coyote began climbing the tree......went all the way up and grabbed the goose from the bobcat. I would never have believed it, but there it was on youtube....

Moonman.

 

1/20/2016 11:26 am  #8


Re: Winter Food handling

I've never had a problem with chipmunks though I've always figured they must be scheming about it constantly.  The only animal problem I ever had was...ok, there were two.  One was leaving a backpack at one end of a portage to go back and retrieve the canoe.  I returned with the canoe, and there are four or five raccoons trying to figure out how to get into the pack.  Stinkers.  They were pretty bold too.  If I was there they took off, but if you backed off even twenty feet they were right there.  I had to wait for my buddy to return to we'd have a guard.  The other one...ok, well, I took my wife camping once.  First night I heard something outside the tent, and of course it sounded like saskwatch.  Bear?  Maybe, but probably a smaller varmint.  So I thought I'd do a big swipe at the side of the tent and scare it off.  I back-handed the side of the tent as hard as I could, but I didn't feel nylon.  I felt the nose, mouth and teeth of my wife...oops.  She yelled out "OUCH!!!", and I yelled out "SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY SORRY".  We didn't hear another sound for the rest of the night.

 

5/09/2017 10:02 pm  #9


Re: Winter Food handling

tentsterforever wrote:

Talking about destructive behaviour in wildlife. Thanks to 1 squirrel and several chipmunks, I now have 2 pop can size holes in my tent. With no food whatsoever in the tent, nor had there been any, I have no idea what they were looking for. The squirrel i knocked off the under tent in the middle of the night, with  a flash light on., so i knew what it was, but too late, hole allready created. The chipmunks attacked while gone, but saw them racing out from underneath tent coming back. Again too late, another hole. This was in Algonquin, on a wilderness site. Repairs have been made, but what a pain in the neck. Anybody out there have a good way to deter them?? 
Any ideas welcome.
Wanda S

Out of curiosity, did you have your toiletries in the tent with you? Not food, but the scent can still attract wildlife. 
 

 

5/10/2017 6:13 am  #10


Re: Winter Food handling

We have a medium sized duffle bag that has all our food. It fits on the toboggan well. Generally we have it around camp while we are there. At night it's often just outside the tent, in eye sight, so we can scare away squirrels in the morning if they come. When we go on a hike or snowshoe, we often bring the bag with us and drop it somewhere away from camp. My reasoning is that the squirrel is looking around the site, but not100 feet from it. No problems yet.

We always leave our tent door wide open (cold tent) and the duffle that has all the cooking equipment is also open to make it easier for the animals to look inside instead of chew through.

We don't worry about other animals in the winter.

 

5/11/2017 10:20 am  #11


Re: Winter Food handling

tenderfoot wrote:

My primary wildlife fear in the back country is the dreaded chipmunk. .

Chipmunks, squirrels and a lone raccoon are the only issues I have had with food pilferers.

I know chipmunks drive my dog crazy. She'll chase them around the camp at the beginning of a trip and ignore them by the end, deflated by her failure to catch them.
I remember one trip a couple of years ago when a little beast had the irreverence to eat her kibble. I swear she almost gasped when she first spotted it munching away at her bowl.  It was amusing to watch it sneak in when Corky was otherwise distracted, fill it's cheeks with 5 or 6 pieces of kibble and make it's escape.
Algonquin TV!
 

Last edited by Algonquintripper (5/11/2017 10:25 am)


Dave
 

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