Bear bells – should you pack them or pitch them?
Hikers seem to be quite divided on the issue. I have never liked them and fine the mind numbing sound gets on my nerves. But is that reason enough to leave them behind?
It may not be but then a few remarks from our tour guide on board the boat to the Crypt Lake trailhead in Waterton National Park – which is notorious for its’ high concentration of grizzly and black bears – got me thinking and researching.
Renown bear biologist Tom Smith did some testing on bears up in Alaska. He jingled bear bells at various volume levels from behind a blind. Fifteen sets of bears totally ignored the bells. But they snapped to attention with the cracking of a twig.
And lately the thinking seems to suggest that if anything bears might be curious about the bells because the sound is unnatural.
What’s the best thing to do then when it comes to bears?
It seems that you’re better off talking loudly, singing songs or snapping sticks. I’m all in favour of that.
This comment is printed with permission of the author via email: Spencer Raymond Madden of Madden Hiking