June 10, 2023

Does Bringing Garbage Cans Inside Really Deter a Hungry Bear?

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Those that insist that bear encounters, i.e. those that raid garbage cans, bird feeders, bar-b-cue grills and even bust down garage doors, are “rare” and that people should bring their garbage cans, etc. inside so bears won’t get into them. But does this really prevent a hungry bear from following the scent of the food source? I don’t think so. It may deter a not-so-determined bear from breaking down your door but I don’t think locking up your smelly goods does much to prevent a bear from detecting odors.

In a recent article found in NorthJersey.com, bears can leap tall buildings in a single bound, have x-ray vision and……well, let’s just say bears can detect odors from 18 miles away and polar bears can whiff a seal through 3-feet of solid ice.

Bears are even better smellers than dogs. Black bears have been known to walk a straight line for 18 miles to a food source they’ve sniffed out and silver tip grizzlies can detect an elk carcass at the same distance. A three-foot thick ice floe is not enough to shield the scent of a submerged seal from a hungry polar bear’s nose.

So, lock up your garbage and put it behind 3 feet of concrete – that’s just so the bear can break through it.

And, if you really want to ward off those “rare” bear encounters, by all means “look big.”