With summer here, many of us eagerly await that first weekend under the stars, sharing our favorite campfire meals with special friends. Sometimes, however, it’s the uninvited guests that we have to worry about.
When it comes to marauding critters in camp, we as campers are our own worst enemy. We’re the ones that bring the food into an environment where the quest for same is an instinctive part of each animal’s struggle for existence.
Frequenting popular camping spots, such as in designated campgrounds, we have conditioned animals into knowing that this area produces food whenever those weird upright creatures are around. They leave their food out, smeared on their clothing, and spread about the grounds like the leaves of autumn. We have educated many animals into knowing right where the food will be as we set up camp.
Keep Camp, Self Clean
Camp kitchen etiquette typically demands that your kitchen and food prep area be kept clean and at least 50 yards from your site. Utensils, prep area, extra food — everything involved in meal prep’ — should be thoroughly cleaned before being put away. You might think that tiny smudge of food on the thigh of your jeans is nothing, but with animals whose smelling is 100 times better than ours, you might as well be grilling a juicy steak over a bed of mesquite coals!
Children repeatedly wipe their hands on their clothing. Those items should be stored in odor-proof containers. Tossing them in the dirty clothes pile in the corner of your tent invites a late night visit.
Bear barrels and other bear-proof containers are a good idea, especially when used in conjunction with other clean camp practices. Hanging your food in a bag high above the forest floor may make you look and feel like a backwoods Jock, but in reality they are not that effective. Bears know what’s in the bag from too many prior experiences. They can push over trees, rip off branches to which the rope is applied, even untie knots in some cases (more a point of poor knot tying than clever bears I would guess).
Use common sense and keep your campsite tidy — after all it’s you who is the guest in the woods.
Source Excerpts: guide.sportsmansguide.com/tips/camping-101-is-your-camp-critter-secure/
by Tom Watson