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Bear Aware: Making Noise on the Trail.

Any interesting takes on how to make an appropriate amount of noise on the trail when travelling through bear country? I've seen everything from bear bells to bluetooth speakers blasting music. Any unique ideas out there?

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Re: Bear Aware: Making Noise on the Trail.

Hi @REI-JohnJ; maybe not unique, but just talking or singing/humming is a good option, and it’s a uniquely human sound (so bears don’t think it could be a nonhuman animal). Just as an aside, a cheap bear bell substitute can be made with a few washers/nuts on a lightweight string or thread. 

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Re: Bear Aware: Making Noise on the Trail.

Hi @REI-JohnJ; maybe not unique, but just talking or singing/humming is a good option, and it’s a uniquely human sound (so bears don’t think it could be a nonhuman animal). Just as an aside, a cheap bear bell substitute can be made with a few washers/nuts on a lightweight string or thread. 

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Re: Bear Aware: Making Noise on the Trail.

Thanks! I appreciate the call out of a 'uniquely human sound', I hadn't thought of it in that way before!

At REI, we believe a life outdoors is a life well lived.
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Re: Bear Aware: Making Noise on the Trail.

simplest method - keep a few hikers a short ways in front of you, that's what we did recently in Yellowstone, Glacier and Grand Tetons

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Re: Bear Aware: Making Noise on the Trail.


@REI-JohnJ wrote:

Any interesting takes on how to make an appropriate amount of noise on the trail when travelling through bear country? I've seen everything from bear bells to bluetooth speakers blasting music. Any unique ideas out there?


The National Parks rangers are advising hikers in bear country to be alert for bears and take extra precautions to avoid an encounter.

They advise park visitors to wear little bells on their clothes so they make noise when hiking. The bell noise allows bears to hear them coming from a distance and not be startled by a hiker accidentally sneaking up on them. This might cause a bear to charge.

Visitors should also carry a pepper spray can just in case a bear is encountered. Spraying the pepper into the air will irritate the bear's sensitive nose and it will run away.

It is also a good idea to keep an eye out for fresh bear scat so you have an idea if bears are in the area. People should be able to recognize the difference between black bear and grizzly bear scat.

Black bear droppings are smaller and often contain berries, leaves, and possibly bits of fur.

Grizzly bear droppings tend to contain small bells and smell of pepper.

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More seriously, please don't carry bluetooth speakers and blast music. Most of us go hiking in the wilderness to escape that sort of noise intruding into the environment.

The best thing you can do to avoid bears is to hike in groups of at least four people. I was given this advice by a Parks Canada warden after a grizzly had been reported near a popular trail in Banff National Park. According to him bears won't confront groups of hikers. Apparently there's never been a report of a bear attack on groups of at least four hikers.

See: Safe travel in bear country - The mountain national parks

...Wanderer
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