Hiking and fishing...tent or no tent???

Discussion in 'Camping, Hiking, Cooking' started by Mike Ediger, Jan 10, 2009.

  1. Panhandle Active Member

    Posts: 4,103
    Selkirk Mountains, Idaho Panhandle
    Ratings: +23 / 0
    Do you have a degree in Wildlife biology? Do have a house cat?

    You should do some research on Cougar attacks in the lower 48. I have. Like I said, you are more likely to win the lottery twice in one day than get attacked by a mountain lion. My feeling is that Vancouver Island, is well, and island. Cougars are forced into human interaction and therefore become habituated and aggressive. VI has one of the densest populations of cougar on earth. Cats are very afraid of humans. Think about it, if they weren't most anyone hiking in the woods would be an easy meal, easy. Too much human interaction turns curiosity into predation.
    Never turn your back on a cat. Never bend over and drink water with your back to the woods (this can trigger the predator instinct. Many deer are killed when drinking from a stream. If a cat is stalking you, face it and walk in its direction--- it will take off. This indicates to the cat that you’re not afraid and therefore not prey potential. Find deep water. Yes, it’s a myth that cougar don’t like water, but it is true that it’s very rare a cat will go in water where they are forced to swim. As I mentioned, they‘re looking for weakness. I will say this; whenever I take my kids in the woods, I always make them walk in front of me. That way, I appear to be the weakest link. The bottom line is----- fear is unnecessary.
  2. Gatorator Member

    Posts: 277
    Pend Oreille Valley, Idaho
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    The North half of VI has much fewer people and much more area than Northern Idaho. That being said it does have a very dense population of cats and they are the Apex predator there.

    It is not necessarily a natural reaction that Cats fear man. I think it is more of a learned behavior that includes the unknown. There is more than ample evidence that non habituated Bears have no fear of humans, only suspicion of an unknown animal. Brown Bears and Polar Bears, being the top of the food change have been know to hunt stalk and hunt man for food many many times.

    On the Queen Charlottes Black Bears are as thick as fleas on mongrels ass. There are no documented cases of Bear attacks but on some rivers the Bears outnumber the fisherman and I and many more people have had fish taken off of our lines by Bears. Nothing like hooking up a 400 pound BB with a 4x tippet.

    The Euros who work for BC Wildlife on counting fish milking the fish and such carry Pepper Spray and sometimes a big dog. The dogs are for warning not protection by the way. The First Nations people, who do the same thing all carry shotguns and laugh at the notion of a dog and Spray for protection. One needs to think about the experience level of the two groups and make you own decision on which is the better idea.

    I have never fished the Charlottes and not had a Bear within less than 100 feet at least once a day. Sometimes, many more and much closer. They don't catch there own fish like Blackies do sometimes in the Alaskan Islands but only seem to scavenge.

    As for the chances, you are right, between slim and none for sure. That's why you can't even think about it as it is a waste of time. But putting in a can of spray or, to my mind, a short barreled .44 in a shoulder holster, is cheap insurance and gives almost as much of a feeling of safety as being zipped into a tent. :D You pay Auto Insurance, even though you know you will never need it , right?

    Just remember to keep animals in you mind, just not necessarily in the front.
  3. Ed Call Mumbling Moderator

    Posts: 17,398
    Kitsap Peninsula
    Ratings: +1,356 / 9
    Ha, this guy is funny. Glad As I am has arrived on the scene. I like both his content and humor.:thumb:

    I have a good military goretex biivy sack, actually have two...anyone want to make an offer? I also prefer taking a small tent. I will either be bringing a lightweight kelty (given to me and it works great) or my two person walrus four season tent. It weighs 6-8lbs, which is heavy for something its size, but I can use or not use the super rain fly. Open or not open the huge windows, and it has a vestibule to stow all my crap if it was raining like it has a time or two in the PNW. If I'm going with someone else I will opt for the larger Walrus four season tent, room for three comfortably, two vestibules and of course that ever popular second door that aids in the escape if a large beast enters from one end (I don't believe that if a bear or cougar is coming in one door they can't modify their plan because I'm "slipping" out the back). Oh, Walrus, great tents. I think many years back they were bought out...maybe by MSR, another company I support with my vote of dollars.

    Pan, when I hike with my family, be it all of us or any combination I always let them "lead". It makes them feel good, and it makes me feel good too. I think that being in the back also makes me the weakest link and at my size I'm hopeful the big cat will think twice about pouncing on my fat ass. If one were to do something ahead of me to one of them I hope my reaction time will be better not having it happen in a scuffle behind me. We also make enough noise to announce our presence, but not too much to truly spoil the adventure.
  4. UptheCreek Member

    Posts: 132
    Spokane, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Last summer I got up early to fish and to get to the spot I wanted to fish, I had to walk about 3/4 of a mile on a mountain ridge with a pretty steep descent. As I came around a corner, I must have startled a couger that was hanging out waiting for the first rays of sun to hit him. The noise of the fast moving stream below must have masked the noise I make while I was walking. Anyways, the couger walked just a few feet and stood there not more than 20 feet away. All I had with me was my rod so I yelled at him. He didn't even flinch. Without thinking, I slowly bent down and grabbed the first loose rock I could find and threw it at him. I hit him in the rear end and he ran about 20 feet down the hill and stopped again. I grabbed another rock and threw it in his direction, and it crashed through the brush and scared him off. Needless to say that woke me up and I went on down to the creek to fish, but I never could shake the feeling that something was watching me. I have been the woods quite a bit growing up and that is the first time I have ever seen a couger in the wild. Having a gun, pepper spray, tent or something is probably only going to give you a little more confindence out in the wild. Remaining calm and aware while you are in the woods will go much further, but with that being said, I don't have any problem with someone carrying a pistol for a just in case something goes really bad type of moment.
  5. cuponoodle breakfast gritty

    Posts: 1,651
    Arlington
    Ratings: +305 / 0
    I usually have a lot of respect for what you post, so I'm a bit surprised to see you posting bullshit. Find a houndsman and ask him about chasing dogs through the snow. Ask him about chasing dogs through terrain nobody would ever choose to go through. Ask him about long nights in the woods looking for lost dogs. Ask him about missing work on monday to find dogs that he couldn't catch up to on sunday.
  6. Mike T Active Member

    Posts: 849
    Gig Harbor, WA
    Ratings: +54 / 1
    :rolleyes:
  7. martyg Active Member

    Posts: 981
    The world at large
    Ratings: +74 / 0
    When guiding I don't use a tent as I am the last one to bed and the first one up. When out for pleasure I take a tent. My lightest and largest in a Missing Link for Cascade Designs. It weighs 3 pounds, sets up with trekking poles, and will fit two adults and a dog. During raining / buggy weather they are well worth the weight. I think that the Missing Link is about $200.

    Why is everyone so paranoid about bears? We have them all around the neighborhood and I trail run every day. Did anyone catch this 605 pound bear shot on the KP? Did anyone catch the 400 pounder that was shot as well? Why don't you just stay home and watch video games?

    Attached Files:

  8. Ray Member

    Posts: 340
    Post Falls, ID
    Ratings: +21 / 0
    I use a Hennessey Hammock on all of my backpacking and river trips. It weighs less than two pounds and packs down to the size of a cantaloupe. It’s fully enclosed and I don’t need level ground to set up camp. The lack of a ground footprint makes it ultra low impact. My backpack goes underneath and stays dry, and I can dry out clothing under the rain fly. The asymmetrical shape allows me to sleep flatter, and I am comfortable sleeping on my back and on my side. On a side note, I do use a sleeping pad for insulation underneath my body.

    [IMG]

    [IMG]

    [IMG]
  9. Panhandle Active Member

    Posts: 4,103
    Selkirk Mountains, Idaho Panhandle
    Ratings: +23 / 0


    I don't hunt, but also don't condemn it. The houndsman I know sit on the back of their flat beds drinking. When their dog’s collars alert them that they’ve treed something, they hike in and shoot. I can just imagine the fear of a cat or bear being hunted down by hounds.; trying desperately to get away, only to be shot when finally exhausted scared and cornered. For me that is just fundamentally wrong, but to each their own. Bow hunting, for me, is true sport--real hunting.
  10. Mike Ediger Active Member

    Posts: 1,400
    Spokane, WA
    Ratings: +152 / 8
    I love the seeing wildlife, that is part of why N.ID mountain creeks are my favorite type of fishing. When I went fishing in AK I took about 20 pictures of fish and about 200 of the Grizz. Just about every trip to the NFCDA I get to see moose, elk, deer....saw one cat and my buddies have seen bear and a wolf; so that is a big reason why I go up there. I was simply curious as to who uses a tent and who doesn't and why. It was a bit unnerving to have Yogi sniffing around my feet as I slept, but I only used that story as a starting point to ask the question. I am not looking to start blowing Boo Boo away just for being curious.
    You have all given me some great ideas and it a tent is only weighing a few pounds, that makes a big difference. Most of the time I return back to my Pathfinder and sleep in the back, but I want to do some longer hikes and my 15 lb Big 5 two man (which only sleeps one) simply doesn't get the job done.
    For those of you who use hammacks, are they hard on your back? It seems being bent in half all night might get uncomfortable?
  11. UptheCreek Member

    Posts: 132
    Spokane, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    That hammock ray showed looks like it would work great. If I wanted a lightweight tent/sleeping area, that would be the one for me.
  12. Ray Member

    Posts: 340
    Post Falls, ID
    Ratings: +21 / 0
    I spend 20 to 30 nights a year in my hammock, and sleep 10x better in it than on the ground. The asymmetrical shape allows you to sleep diagonally, flattening out the sag. Don't get me wrong, there's still sag, but not so much that I can't sleep on my side in the fetal position.
  13. Randall Dee Castaway

    Posts: 372
    Cascadia
    Ratings: +16 / 0
    Mediger....there is a misconception that when you sleep in a hammock that you are bent in half in a banana shape. Not true, because you sleep diagonal to the center line. This allows you to lie pretty flat. But because you're sleeping bag gets compressed underneath you, you need to still sleep on a pad for insulation or better yet, get an underquilt that attaches to the bottom of your hammock. I sleep great in a hammock and if it rains I don't worry about puddling under my tent.

    If you really get interested in trying one out, there is a hammock forum with lots of great info. Making a homemade hammock for backpacking is stupid simple. If you go to China Mart (Walmart), you can find ripstop nylon for $1 a yard and make one for about $4. I've made plenty and my son and I use them when we hike. Also, lots of really great info here.

    Attached Files:

  14. Mike Ediger Active Member

    Posts: 1,400
    Spokane, WA
    Ratings: +152 / 8
    Having never slept in a hammock I was concerned about sleeping like a bananna, so I am glad to hear that it isn't a big deal.

    Speydude. Your pics look great. Thanks for the links, although I am a bit amazed that there is an entire forum simply to talk about hammocks. I didn't realize there was so much to talk about.

    Speydude or Ray: Does the underneath side of the hammock cover get condensation or sweat when it rains or in a heavy dew? It is pretty tight in there and if it did sweat that could be quite uncomfortable. The high quality tent from Big 5 that I have is completely wet on the inside many mornings.
  15. Ray Member

    Posts: 340
    Post Falls, ID
    Ratings: +21 / 0
    I've had some condensation on the underside of my rain fly, but not the underside of my hammock. Of course, on clear nights, I don't use the rain fly.
  16. Randall Dee Castaway

    Posts: 372
    Cascadia
    Ratings: +16 / 0
    Hehehe, I hear ya. I'm sure there's lots of forums for lots of stuff besides fishing that we would never think of. That hammock forum use to be a sub category on a backpacking forum and they splintered off. There is actually a bit of a learning curve to hammocking. Mostly on getting the right sag when you set it up.

    As far as condensation, I've never had a problem in the hammock. If you use a pad, you might get a little if you sweat on your back.
  17. Mike Ediger Active Member

    Posts: 1,400
    Spokane, WA
    Ratings: +152 / 8
    I meant condensation under the rain fly, not under the hammock. Sorry for the confusion.
  18. Dan Nelson Hiker, Fisher, Writer, Bum

    Posts: 807
    Puyallup, WA
    Ratings: +333 / 5
    iagree
  19. Dan Nelson Hiker, Fisher, Writer, Bum

    Posts: 807
    Puyallup, WA
    Ratings: +333 / 5
    That might be your problem. Bears have acute senses of smell, but poor eye sight. Having food without 100 feet of your camp is like chumming the waters for sharks -- they smell the food, but can't quite find it, so they mill around the general vicinity. Hang your food 150-200 feet DOWNWIND of camp. I've enjoyed more than 1,500 nights in the backcountry (up to nearly 200 nights per year a few years back) over the last 20 years and only problems I've had with nighttime critters were a direct result of poor camp hygiene. Food too close (brings in mice and raccoons as well as bears -- and they are generally WORSE than bears cuz they automatically chew hell out of your gear). Worst problem, though, was mountain goats, attracted to salt from urine on the rocks just behind the tent. Nothing like the sounds of three or four mountain goats tripping over tent guylines, crashing into each other and the side of your tent, to bring you out of a sound slumber.
  20. Mike Ediger Active Member

    Posts: 1,400
    Spokane, WA
    Ratings: +152 / 8
    Good to know. I thought 30 feet or so was far enough away.
    And 200 nights a year, what were you doing...job or purely recreational? If it is pure recreation I want your job.