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I'm parking rig at a house in the woody area, but still city. They said bears are seen once in a while. It is in the PA area. Do bears break in the RV when people are inside? Any experience with bears?

I guess these are brown bears.

Thanks

Edited by slackercruster
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Many, many years ago when camping in Smoky Mtn. Nat'l Park we had a tent camper and a convertible.  During the night we felt a bear put his paw on the canvas tent part.  The next morning we had muddy bear tracks across the hood, top of the convertible and off the trunk.  During our stay we were eating at the picnic table and a bear approached. We banged pots and the bear laughed.  He had our nice lunch as we watched from a distance.  He finished off with our cooler contents.  Another day we spotted a bear sitting at a campsite with his back against a tree.  He had ripped open a can of pork n' beans and was enjoying his snack.  Back then the highlight of a camp trip was going to the local dump and watch the bears come in at dusk scrounging for food.

Nowadays, with strict bear regulations in the parks one rarely sees a bear in a campground - even in Yellowstone, the grizzlies are only seen from the road and they're fairly far back.

We volunteered in Rocky Mtn. Nat'l Park and in the group site was a large group of boy scouts.  They had just returned from a hike & were sitting around the campfire.  They knew the rules about storing all food, toothpaste, etc. in the food lockers at the site.  However, one scout had a candy bar in his backpack & had tossed it into his tent.  A bear came by & tore open the rear of the tent & grabbed the backpack and ran.  Rangers were called. The bear was tracked nearby.  A ranger thought she had a blank in her rifle. She shot at the bear to scare it away but it was a live bullet. She had killed the bear needlessly and she had to endure a long investigation and charges against her.

Lessons learned.  Bears have a keen sense of smell.  If you're in active bear country most campgrounds will have food storage lockers.  Use them.  Always read the rules regarding bears and abide by them.  Bears are after food; not people. 

Now, for you, it sounds like you're in town.  Did the home owner say they actually come near the homes or are they seen on the outskirts?   If you're parked at someone's home, ask to store your food inside the home.  Wash all dishes.  Fry bacon outside, if possible. Don't dump dish water on the ground as there may be food particles or smells from grease in it.  Chances are you won't have a problem.  The home owner may even have bear spray that you could borrow but I doubt you'd need it.  If they're used to roaming near the house and they know there's no food available they, most likely, would not bother your RV although they may come by and sniff.  Keep a couple pots nearby to bang.  Sometimes it works.

Now...... enjoy your visit!   😁

Edited by 2gypsies
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Over the years we have spent a lot of time in areas with a bear population and in general, bears are seldom a problem for RVs unless you are in an area that bears have become familiar with people as a food source. Years ago, Yellowstone NP had people feeding bears and bears eating from the garbage dumps and trash barrels. At the time it was also a problem in some areas for bears bothering campers in the campgrounds, but since the trash barrels have been bear proofed and people and bears kept apart, that has become much less a problem. Several years ago we spent the summer at Moosehorn NWR which has the highest density population of black bears in the US. Our campsite was on the edge of a meadow, about 1/4 mile from the HQ. Bears were around most days but rarely close to our RV and never did they attempt to get inside. We were advised not to leave any kind of food items or cooking utensils outside when unattended and we didn't hang bird feeders from the awning. The only encounter we had was one time in the middle of the night when a bear chose to rub his back on the edge of our motorhome. We were inside asleep and the motion did wake us up, but we never actually saw the bear.

Bears are attracted to things smelling of food, like a grill used to cook burgers or steaks on and left outside for the night. But if you keep a clean campsite you should have no problems.

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The bear that visited our hike-in campsite in the woods many years ago stuck his nose in my backpack. There was no food in there but there were toiletries that probably smelled good. Mint toothpaste needs to get put in a safe place with the food; in this case that would have been hanging from a tree limb away from the tree trunk.

BTW, banging a pot with a spoon did not faze that bear.

We have also seen bears near our cabin in the woods but have never seen one in a residential area--even in the small town near those woods where Dave's parents lived.

Linda Sand

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Close as we ever came to any bear trouble was when we stayed in Copper Harbor on the northern edge of the Keweenaw Peninsula of Upper Michigan . 

One evening a man came around giving a bear alert and for everyone to stay inside . Soon after , a good sized bear meandering down the middle of the road was reported . No damage of any sort involved . 

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I used to have a house in a subdivision in the mountains.  One year a sow and her two cubs hung around and knew which days were trash pickup days - they would spend the night knocking over everyone’s trash cans when they were on the curb.  They didn’t seem to bother any of the RVs that were parked in people’s front or back yards (mine was in the front), but then we weren’t cooking in the RVs.  I left canned goods (don’t smell) in the trailer but no other food.  And yes, there were days and nights I slept in the trailer for various reasons.  Since my trailer was there for storage, I was more concerned about mice and squirrels getting in than the bears.

Several years ago, on my first big RV trip, I camped at Lake Louise.  They have a section for renters that is behind an electric fence, but the rest of the campground (for hard sided RVs) was open.  When I arrived, a ranger came around and said there was a grizzly that lived nearby and to make sure we didn’t leave anything out around the trailer.  I continue to camp the same way, rarely leaving much out overnight and I’ve had very little problem with critters.

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Oh boy, another chance to tell my bear story.  Volunteering with the Forest Svc. in New Mexico I had one trying to get in a window with me standing on the inside  hitting it in the face. These were crank out style windows and I was not cooking. In fact I had just woke up and was still in my underwear.  It took a gunshot out the window into the dirt to get it to leave.  Of course this is not a common ocurrance although at that site and time they were around. I had a mother and 2 cubs under the trailer going after acorns and some other incidents.  There are some good youtube videos about bears that might enlighten you.  I stumbled on a cool one the other night with a big bear breaking in a substantial door on a house.  Some have learned to open unlocked vehicle door.

It sounds kind of off but Black Bears can and are often different colors. To my knowledge all bears in Penn. are Black Bears no matter the color. In Penn they can be pretty big. There is a species of bear that are called Brown bears and are very large and to my knowledge mostly in parts of Canada and Alaska.

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My Mom and Dad were tent camping in the eastern Sierras in CA once and during the night a bear came into their camp ground. My Mon had left an empty ice chest on the picnic table. She got scared and ran to the car locking herself inside. My Dad got a good laugh. 

I volunteerd one summer at Sawtooth NRA in Idaho. People who rented cabins were always putting up bird feeders that attracted bears. At least one a week we would get a call to report a bear nearby. 
 

Kirk, when I volunteerd at Custer State Park, I think you were at Angastora at the time, I awoke to the rocking of my fifth wheel toy hauler. I grabbed a flashlight and went outside. Shining the flashlight under the rig I saw a big Bison underneath rubbing his back on the underside of the rig. I just left him alone and went back inside. I don’t know which is worse a bear under the motorhome or a Bison. 

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My step-father ran what in Maine are called "sporting camps" - cabins back in the woods with dining facilities, and fishing and hunting. (For those of you who know Maine we had Tim Pond Camps in Eustis and Chairback Mountain Camps in T7R9 NWP - the latter is now Appalachian Mountain Club's Gorman Chairback Lodge and Cabins.  I spent several years working in those camps.  One year I wintered over and ran a trap line up in the Hundred Mile Wilderness.  There were lots of bears.

Bears will do a lot of things to get food, especially when it is in short supply in the wild or it is something they particularly like.  The more familiar they are with people, the more they are likely to invade people space.  If you leave food out they will come to it.  If it is inside it depends upon how hungry they are and how familiar they are with people in that area.  During a particularly bad drought year I remember a bear trying to get into a neighbor's cabin (read neighbor as being six air miles away on the far side of Barren Mountain.)  The occupant shot the bear as it was climbing through a window.  That sort of invasion is rare but not unheard of.  So, yes, they will invade structures.  The more substantial the structure the less likely they are to do so.  I had one night on the AT in NH in a tent with a bear sniffing about.  It can be scary.

When in bear country practice bear safety.  Various people here listed steps to take to avoid bear problems. That is good advice.  Bears are lazy and will seek the food supply with the most calories for the least work.  Don't feed the bears or they will be around forever.  Secure your food.  Remember that garbage is food.  Trash in which food was contained (empty cans, candy wrappers, cough drops, breath mints etc.) is food.  Crumbs from eating outside is food.

Oh yeah, as noted above, black bears are found in PA.  Brown bears are bigger and more aggressive than black bears.  Grizzly bears area subspecies of brown bear.  Grizzly/Brown bears are found in the northern Rockies, western Canada and Alaska.  Really big ones are found where salmon are readily available such as in the the nearer Aleutians. Hikers attach bells to their packs in grizzly country.  The joke is you can tell grizzly poop from black bear poop because the former contains bells.

Wayne & Jinx
2017 F-350 diesel, dually
2006 Carriage Carri-Lite 36KSQ

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In 1969 my grandparents lived in a small house up Cedar Creek Canyon just outside Ruidoso, NM. My parents, sisters and I were visiting them that summer along with an old friend of theirs, Felicitas Duarte. Felicitas happened to be the secretary to our senior senator who, a few years later, would become a member of the Senate Watergate Committee. Several of us were sitting at a picnic table on the breezeway between the house and guest house after supper while my younger sisters made s'mores on the coals left on the grille.

My grandparents had been telling Felicitas about the problems they'd been having with the bears knocking over the trash cans, tearing up the cushions on the glider and chairs out front, and generally making messes. Felicitas wasn't believing it. All of a sudden, I looked to my right to see a bear's nose on the picnic table between my right elbow and Felicitas (she was seated at the end of the table and I was on the corner). I guess the bear had smelled the hamburgers or s'mores and, in the darkness, had come up the steep creek bed behind the house. Felicitas immediately started saying - rather loudly - "I believe! I believe" and crossing herself. My grandfather, who was suffering from arthritis and cancer that had metastasized to his lower spine, came out of the kitchen door and chased the bear away with a flyswatter. Afterward we joked about not being sure whether Felicitas was re-professing her faith in Jesus or finally believed the bear stories... perhaps both.🙂 

Edited by Second Chance
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I spend a lot of time outdoors year round in heavy bear country at Lake Tahoe and adjacent NF and  BLM land so far no encounters.  When on  hiking trails I do carry bear spray primarily for aggressive dogs and just in case of aggressive bear or mountain lion.  Other options available. Happy Camper.

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Edited by NamMedevac 70
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Grew up in Pennsylvania and camped there a lot. Have family that still owns cabins in the PA woods. The bears are Black bears and have a tendency to get into trash, garbage, BBQs and anything that smells like food if given the opportunity. Years ago, the bear hunting season in PA was suspended. The number of nuisance bear complaints rose each year until the hunting season was reinstated. Northern New Jersey has a high bear population which spills over into Northeastern PA. The governor of NJ recently suspended bear hunting on all state lands, so the bear population in those areas is likely rising and I am guessing the number of nuisance bear incidents is also. He plans to end all bear hunting in NJ after the 2020 season. If the area where you are leaving the RV is a sanctuary of sorts where no hunting can occur, I would be more concerned about them causing problems near human residences. Not sure what PA does these days about enforcing rules to help prevent bears from becoming habituated to humans. As someone else mentioned there are a number of smaller critters like mice, squirrels, woodrats and even raccoons that will find there way into vehicles and buildings and cause substantial damage.

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We were once denied entry into a campground in a national park because we were camping in a tent trailer and there had been a bear sighting there. We were referred to a safer campground.

Linda Sand

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In 78 years of camping/RV'ing, I've had black bears wander into my site on several occasions. I've always taken appropriate bear precautions with food, etc., and I learned early on that yelling and arm waving usually results in the bear immediately continuing to do whatever it pleases until it wanders off in its own good time. Now those pesky raccoons can be a whole different story. Those critters can get down right nasty if you rile them up!

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On 3/17/2021 at 5:10 PM, fpmtngal said:

I used to have a house in a subdivision in the mountains.  One year a sow and her two cubs hung around and knew which days were trash pickup days - they would spend the night knocking over everyone’s trash cans when they were on the curb.  They didn’t seem to bother any of the RVs that were parked in people’s front or back yards (mine was in the front), but then we weren’t cooking in the RVs.  I left canned goods (don’t smell) in the trailer but no other food.  And yes, there were days and nights I slept in the trailer for various reasons.  Since my trailer was there for storage, I was more concerned about mice and squirrels getting in than the bears.

Several years ago, on my first big RV trip, I camped at Lake Louise.  They have a section for renters that is behind an electric fence, but the rest of the campground (for hard sided RVs) was open.  When I arrived, a ranger came around and said there was a grizzly that lived nearby and to make sure we didn’t leave anything out around the trailer.  I continue to camp the same way, rarely leaving much out overnight and I’ve had very little problem with critters.

In 2012 they had fenced all the CG.

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10 hours ago, Dutch_12078 said:

In 78 years of camping/RV'ing, I've had black bears wander into my site on several occasions. I've always taken appropriate bear precautions with food, etc., and I learned early on that yelling and arm waving usually results in the bear immediately continuing to do whatever it pleases until it wanders off in its own good time. Now those pesky raccoons can be a whole different story. Those critters can get down right nasty if you rile them up!

Your experience and ours seem to be pretty much the same. We camped for years in the backcountry of Wyoming with bears for neighbors and were never bothered but we also followed the rules for camping in bear country. We also hiked or rode horses into wilderness areas with no roads. Like you, in our experiences raccoons have been far more aggressive and challenging. I do have some raccoon stores that match the bear stories told here. 

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Kirk, way more raccoons around than bears and bears and raccoons are both smart.

noteven I have seen that one on youtube multiple times and I can't resist watching it again every so often.  In hosting in some picnic areas here we have had some similar situations.  1) 2 couples finished eating at a picnic table and put all there food leftovers either in bearproof trash cans or car and proceeded to play cards at the table. It was getting dusky and a bear had quietly come to within about 4 -5 feet away from the table and did not even notice it until some folks coming bac to their car so it at told them about it.  Must have been  a heck of a card game.

Same area a bear came down towards the table and they left everything at the table. They called the ranger station who called me to investigate.  I was on my little Honda 250 and met them in the parking lot. They quickly explained and the lady said, "I left my cell phone on the table, can you get it?"  I couldn't help myself and asked why are you afraid it will use up all your minutes.  I did end up getting it back before it called anywhere out of her roaming area. 

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When volunteering we had multiple encounters of racoons going into the big dumpsters soon after they were emptied when there wasn't much garbage in there.  They couldn't get out being that low in the dumpster and they would scream terribly during the night.  We had to put a long sturdy tree branch that we saved just for that purpose leaning in the dumpster so they could climb out.  It was rarely just one. The whole family would be in there.  They'd climb a nearby tree & jump in.

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38 minutes ago, 2gypsies said:

When volunteering we had multiple encounters of racoons going into the big dumpsters soon after they were emptied when there wasn't much garbage in there.  They couldn't get out being that low in the dumpster and they would scream terribly during the night.  We had to put a long sturdy tree branch that we saved just for that purpose leaning in the dumpster so they could climb out.  It was rarely just one. The whole family would be in there.  They'd climb a nearby tree & jump in.

Something like this ? 

 

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Couple decades ago as tent campers we were in Sequoia National Park at the beginning of the season, a VERY cold time with only 2 campsites used.  Park hosts stressed the possibility of bear traffic during the night & came around at dusk spraying ammonia around vehicles, tents.  They had showed us the dusty bear paws inside the door of the bear box.  Just the week before all bear box closures were transitioned from chains/hooks to toggle bolts: deemed more bear proof.  Due to the cold we were hunkered waaaay down inside our sleeping bags & wearing watch caps with fleece scarves.  We slept snug as bugs in a rug. And woke to discover many more bear prints as well as new scratches on the OUTSIDE of the box!  The other campers witnessed this...praying the bear would not head towards our tent.  Whew, we dodged a big one there.  

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