Thread: Colden bears
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Old 06-09-2021, 07:36 PM   #2
DSettahr
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Join Date: May 2007
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My experience has been that the height of the nuisance bear activity around Lake Colden is usually in June/July. I think by August enough berries/nuts have ripened that they are often able to find food elsewhere- but that also assumes a healthy crop of berries and nuts that season. September is usually fairly quiet as far as bear activity goes- but that's never a given. Adherence to the regulations- and proper use of the bear canisters- is essential during the entire timeframe which bear canisters are required.

As a reminder, Ursacks are not (and never have been) compliant with the DEC's bear canister regulations- it must be a commercially produced, hard-shelled container specifically designed to store and protect food from bears. The see-through blue canisters (BearVault brand) are strongly discouraged- they have failed repeatedly in the High Peaks. The failure of these canisters in part contributed to the situation last season in which Lake Colden had to be closed to all camping for a period. (I know some outfitters in the High Peaks area will rent alternative model canisters for free if you show them a BearVault.)

Bringing a bear canister is only half the battle. Proper use of the canister is equally as important- and a lot of visitors to the Lake Colden area don't really know how to properly use them. All food, trash, toiletries, and alcohol must be store in the canister (I mention alcohol specifically because this has been an ongoing stumbling block for many who've failed to store beer and bagged wine in canisters- alcohol is high in calories and bears actually really like it). Keep the lid on the canister and secured at all times- proper use of the canister is to open the canister, take out only the food you need for that specific meal and then immediately reseal the canister. This minimizes the amount of food that is accessible at any given time.

What a lot of folks end up doing that is really bad is they leave the canister open and unattended- or worse, they'll take out all of their food to sort and organize through it, essentially providing the bear with a five course buffet when it shows up. Part of the issue also is that visitors aren't able to fully comprehend the consequences of failing to properly store food- most assume that in the worst case, they'll be forced to hike out hungry. The reality is far more dire: With each food reward, bears are encouraged to act increasingly aggressive over time. The situation last season involved a bear that was ripping tents open, climbing into occupied lean-tos, etc. Unfortunately, the aforementioned camping closure only ended when this particular bear was euthanized. So the ultimate consequence of failing to carry and properly use a canister is a legacy of dead wildlife as a direct result of our actions... hence the phrase, "a fed bear is a dead bear."

rbi99: I'm sure that you are probably well versed in most of the above and this is more information than you really needed, but undoubtedly there will be others perusing this thread who will benefit from reading what I've written above. It seemed like a good topic to go as in detail as possible in my response.
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