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5 Ways to Attract Bears to a Campsite

Do you want to encounter a bear in nature? Traditionally, one of Mother Nature’s fiercest mountain predators wandered the backcountry in search of berries. But thanks to many irresponsible campers, bears wandering around sniffing out their next meal are becoming more and more drawn to that greasy bear-friendly “Happy Meal” of chips, Cheetos, and cheese chunks at your campsite. If you really want to have a bear wandering through your campsite early in the morning, keep on reading.

(disclaimer: we do NOT endorse inviting bears to your campsite—they’re huge, unpredicable animals and if provoked can turn your camping trip into a nightmare)

Use Your Clothes as a Dishtowel
True stories sometimes make the best stories. This one time at a camp a guy ate a bag of potato chips. He wiped the chip grease on his Goretex pant pockets and decided to take a nap. The man found a hammock, placed his hat over his eyes and rested peacefully underneath a tree. Thirty-minutes later he woke up to a strange and moist lapping sensation around his baby-making zone. What he thought would be a woman’s eager mouth ended up being the slithery and sly tongue of a bear enjoying the leftover chip grease on his pants. What’s the lesson? Your clothes are not dishtowels and food stained clothes attract bears.

Cook Where You Camp
To a bear, nothing smells better than a fire-roasted ballpark frank wafting through the wind. It’s the type of scent that makes campers dream of bathing in a vat of ketchup and wiener grease. Cooking next to your tent is a surefire method for a bear-in-tent invasion. The smoke produced from the fire contains the scent of the food, which covers the tent’s material. Unfortunately, Smokey the Bear has no self-control over binge eating.

Get a Front Row View
Instead of paying twelve dollars to see the latest National Geographic documentary, camp for free with a front row ticket to “The Real Bear World.” Park your tent adjacent to a salmon-dense river. Don’t forget your documentary and self-defense tool—the selfie-stick—for all your near-fatal filming. Near these rivers, adrenaline seekers might encounter pissed off mama bears trying to feed their kids, which never ends well for anyone who gets too close. For a guaranteed 10 million views on YouTube, wear Bugles on all ten fingers and jump rock to rock hunting for salmon. You may lose a hand, but at least you’ll become rich from Youtube ads.

Pee Where You Sleep
A bear’s sense of smell is seven times stronger than a bloodhound. If you’ve ever smelled coffee, alcohol, or yesterday’s beetroot salad in your urine, bears can smell every donut and drip of hot sauce you’ve eaten from miles away. There’s no understanding why, but bears ogle over human piss. Pee away from camp. Walk away, and do not pee in the wind. Nothing is more fragrant than a succulent mountain man sautéed in a Pringle-scented vinaigrette of human piss. Also, pee “downstream” away from camp. Urinating above camp risks a stream of pee trickling, at turtle speed, back to camp.

Leave Traces and Trash
Lazy campers leave traces of trash, food, and hints of human existence. Bears follow their noses to their next meal, so be aware; smoke and scented things attract curious bears. Use airtight containers in camp, clean up your trash, and hang food and trash at least 100 feet from camp (300 feet to be super safe). If the bear decides to play piñata, bust out the margaritas because the camp is bear-free.

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