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#107019 - 11/22/10 12:29 PM Effectiveness of Bear Bells?
DianaB Offline
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Registered: 02/17/10
Posts: 1364
Loc: California
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How effective are bear bells at warning off other (predatory) wild animals? We live near a big regional park and last night I learned that a friend of a friend was walking her big gsd/ridgeback mix off leash in a heavily wooded area. I don't know if the dog was out of sight, or how it happened, but the dog was grabbed by some kind of wild animal and carried off. The owner heard only one single cry and then they were gone. His remains have not been found and this was about 2 weeks ago (RIP dear dog). We have lived in the area over 6 years and have heard of a few mt. lion sightings.

Richard takes Siena there all the time and they can get deep into the woods if they are doing anything more than a couple mile hike. Richard is the type who is not afraid of anything and thinks the chances are slim this would happen to us. Me, on the other hand am a big worrier. But as I know he will continue to go there (sometimes running at night on his own too without the pup (she likes to chase skunks)).

We own a couple of bear bells that we use when we go to Tahoe or something, but never locally. Is this a good (or bad) idea to put on the dog or human (or both)? I doubt Richard would wear the bell if he is on his own, though. I tend to think the bell draws attention from the animals (esp. if predatory), but honestly, I know nothing about this kind of thing. Thoughts.
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#107028 - 11/22/10 12:38 PM Re: Effectiveness of Bear Bells? [Re: DianaB]
Diana Offline
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Registered: 02/16/10
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I was taught whenever I was out in bear country, to walk and MAKE NOISE! Talk loudly, clap, bells, just make it crystal clear that a loud, obnoxious, clumsy human is schlepping around the woods. I too would have thought that all that noise draws attention. I think the goal is to prevent surprising an animal into fight/flight and thus an attack. If an animal is out to predate and not just hanging about, I think you'd need to have a gun.

How scary to have your dog carried away like that.... I sure hope the killing blow came swiftly. frown
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Renji - 12ish M GSD x chow rescue

"German shepherd dog breeding is working dog breeding or it is not German shepherd dog breeding." -v. Stephanitz

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#107036 - 11/22/10 12:49 PM Re: Effectiveness of Bear Bells? [Re: Diana]
DianaB Offline
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Registered: 02/17/10
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Loc: California
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Yes, very scary. Our daycare provider is the one who has the friend who lost the dog and they go there all the time with the dogs. Even she said she's not sure she can ever go there again off leash. Is it better on-leash?? I suppose for control perhaps.

Understood about the gun. Good point (we don't have one!)
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Diana - owned by Siena Rose (Oct 29, 2006 - Mar 30, 2018)
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#107044 - 11/22/10 12:59 PM Re: Effectiveness of Bear Bells? [Re: DianaB]
LauraHolder Offline
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Registered: 07/23/10
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Loc: Southeastern Wisconsin
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I have no advice since I leave in the city, but will be curious what other people suggest! We've gone camping in northern Wisconsin where there are some black bears and we used bear bells as a precaution and always had the dog (Fanny) leashed with us when we are hiking around. I'm a loud person by nature so I'm sure that helped deter any wild animals (and fellow humans smile ).
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The Fur-Kids:
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#107050 - 11/22/10 01:15 PM Re: Effectiveness of Bear Bells? [Re: LauraHolder]
Islandgsds Offline
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Registered: 02/17/10
Posts: 1969
Loc: Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Ca...
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On Manitoulin Island they stopped the spring bear hunt about 10 years ago and now there are alot of bears to the point of hearing cases of nusience bears at least three or four times during the summer. This year it was my turn.

We had a bear skulking around the camp all summer and I always keep the bear bells on the dogs. I attribute the fact that they are playing around camp in the bush yet there has not been any problems.

The only time I had an encounter up close with the bear was when I was going to go for my daily walk with the girls. We got to the end on the lane to go onto the road when Larka stopped so suddenly in front of me I almost fell over her. I looked up to see what she was looking at in time to see the bear heading up the escarpment on the other side of the road.

Now in all fairness, the wind was strong and blowing cross ways so neither the dogs or the bear could have smelt the other. Also the sound of the wind was enough to rush voices away so I doubt the bear could hear the bells. It was only when visual contact was made that the bear luckily retreated.

That is the only true encounter I had with the bear this summer. I've seen it 3x when I turned a curve in the road, but mostly I just smelt it up on the ridge walking parrelel with us. I say that it is largely due to the bear bells that warn of our approach.

It also warns small creatures such as the squirrels of the dogs coming. So it gives everyone a fair chance.

All in all I would never consider going out with out the bear bells, it might not be 100% but any edge I have of warning that I"m coming is good. If I"m in really heavy bear country I would also recommend bear spray and one of those really loud air horns on a can (can't think of the proper name).

I'm so sorry to hear about your friends dog. And that does sound like a cat attack.
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Sandra
Loki 8/23/08,& Augie, bday-11/13 Gday-3/14,
Larka 1/4/06-8/16/17 Palla, 7/16/06-6/10/16 you were the tree that gave me shelter, the rock that gave me strength, for ever in my heart, until my journey has run its length. I will always love you.

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#107053 - 11/22/10 01:22 PM Re: Effectiveness of Bear Bells? [Re: Islandgsds]
Islandgsds Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 02/17/10
Posts: 1969
Loc: Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Ca...
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As for attracting perditory animals. Unless the animal is sick and can't find a meal by natural means then you shouldn't have a problem.
But in a normal situation, they would rather flee then fight. Why would they risk injury and the potential loss of hunting ability?

Best to find a game warden in the area you are planing to travel in and ask advice if you are unsure of an area. They would best be able to advise as to any problems.

I hate bears! They scare the heck out of me!
I've come across mountain lions twice when I lived out in BC many years ago and both times was an incredible experience. Maybe I was just lucky.
_________________________
Sandra
Loki 8/23/08,& Augie, bday-11/13 Gday-3/14,
Larka 1/4/06-8/16/17 Palla, 7/16/06-6/10/16 you were the tree that gave me shelter, the rock that gave me strength, for ever in my heart, until my journey has run its length. I will always love you.

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#107056 - 11/22/10 01:25 PM Re: Effectiveness of Bear Bells? [Re: LauraHolder]
mspiker03 Offline
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Registered: 02/15/10
Posts: 508
Loc: Nor Cal
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*Most* of the bears in Tahoe want nothing to do with the dogs. That being said, we do carry bear spray (most of the time) when we go hiking (that we got when we were in Wyoming and was concerned about grizzlys, etc.). I am actually more concerned with coyotes and having them surround us in a pack - I have heard a couple of stories about this happening up here. My DH is more of a fan of the gun thing, and he will probably get one at some point now that we live in Tahoe and are out hiking all the time.
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#107069 - 11/22/10 01:47 PM Re: Effectiveness of Bear Bells? [Re: DianaB]
BowWowMeow Offline
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Registered: 02/11/10
Posts: 4748
Loc: Buffalo
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Bear bells work great but it's unlikely it was a bear that walked off with that dog. That's very un-bear like behavior. More likely it was a mountain lion.

And I don't care how tough your DH thinks he is, walking there at night is especially dangerous. The only way to protect yourself from a mountain lion is if you see it first and can convince it that you are bigger and tougher. Best thing to do is to walk in a group. I also wouldn't walk any dog there off leash after something like that happened.
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Rafi, the german malaroo, age 9.5ish
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#107077 - 11/22/10 02:06 PM Re: Effectiveness of Bear Bells? [Re: BowWowMeow]
SLEACHY Offline
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Registered: 02/22/10
Posts: 1593
Loc: NJ
Likes: 33
Quote:
I also wouldn't walk any dog there off leash after something like that happened.

Agreed. Whatever it was (sounds like a mountain lion to me too) now knows it can take dogs and I wouldn't put my dogs at risk. I like the idea of bear bells to warn the bears but not sure if that would deter or scare off a big cat.
Every week, I take a group of client's dogs out for a hike. I feel safety in numbers! We are noisy hikers too. With a GSD and a lab or 2 crashing thru the underbrush and a mini doxie barking his way around, bears can hear us coming from a mile away. I am always paranoid that something will snatch the doxie though. He is small enough for a large hawk to take. paranoid
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#107101 - 11/22/10 02:44 PM Re: Effectiveness of Bear Bells? [Re: SLEACHY]
Kayos Offline

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Registered: 02/18/10
Posts: 11662
Loc: McAlester, OK
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When we lived in Oreogn I would go walk at the nearby state park. The game warden warned me several times not to let the dogs off leash as there had been many mountain lion sitings. I never saw one myself and I am glad of that.

I would think that noise and lots of it would alert wildlife and most of them should naturally flee from you. I would use the bear bells and consider a long line instead of off leash.
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PTE,AC,URO3,AG2,UCD Xtra!Xtra! v. TeMar CDX,GN,RE,CGC,TC,HIC, Bh "Havoc" 6/4/07
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