When you are camping in nature you run the risk of attracting nature, so here are 3 tips to animal proof your campsite. Make sure you are doing everything to keep you and your group safe from wildlife.
- Store Food Out Of Sight And Smell
Animals are usually attracted to your campsite because they can smell you before they see you and they want to investigate. Products exist to help stop bears from breaking into your food supplies called bear canisters or bear boxes. Keep your food double-locked, inside an odor-proof bag and then put that inside one of these bear-proof containers for your best chance of eliminating odors that attract wildlife. Finding a place that is suitable for storing is just as important. Keep it away from your tents and the center of camp, so if a bear does come looking you are not in the line of fire. Hanging food in trees can be a good location if the tree is suitable. This means it has a branch that is 20 feet off the ground and 8 feet from the trunk. A vital part of treeing is that you are finding a branch that is not directly overhead of the campsite, as bears can and will climb trees. A bear cub can climb a 70-foot tree in roughly 10 seconds, adults slightly slower, so treeing will not eliminate a problem but it will often keep your food away from camp. If there is not a tree suitable for storing food, you can hide it in the woods away from camp. Remember, the most important part of storing food while camping is keeping it away from camp and eliminating the odor.
- Stay On Top Of Your Garbage
You always want to leave a campsite as if you were never there. This is both for ecological reasons and safety reasons. Keeping nature unpolluted to the best of your ability will keep that campsite usable for future campers and will keep that ecosystem from becoming unsuitable for the wildlife that inhabits it. Garbage also can and will attract animals to your campsite. The smell of garbage will attract curious animals, so store it the same way you store your food. Keep it in an odor-proof container, or if the area you are in allows it, you can burn food scraps. A common rule in the Boy Scouts that you can make handy is to cook at least 200 feet from your camp to keep the attracting smells away from where you will be sleeping at night. Your food waste is as important as the food you will be eating, so make sure you are handling it accordingly.
- Manage Your Own Smell
This advice might sound weird, but animals are curious enough to investigate the foreign smell of scented deodorant or soap. An unknown smell from you is very interesting to an animal who has never smelled it before. Using unscented deodorant and soap is a good way to eliminate these odors. If the deodorant you have is scented, use it in the morning so that by the time you are going to bed it has worn off. Make sure you change out clothes that have any scented soap or deodorant on them before bed and store them in an odor-proof container. If you smell like the environment you are in, you will be more masked and less interesting to a wandering bear.
These 3 tips, when combined with your common sense, will help you to avoid inviting bears and other wildlife into camp. Bears are not the only thing you need to keep your food away from, squirrels and chipmunks are just as likely to break into your stores and leave you hungry.