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

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

  1. Dan Nelson

    Dan Nelson Hiker, Fisher, Writer, Bum

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    Actually, cat biologists will tell you that its the young and inexperienced that are the problem. Old, mature cougars have established territories and they don't typically deviant from those. They all tend to hold large territories and kill of interlopers. Young cats are still trying to establish themselves, so they tend to move around, looking for opportunities. They also more readily tolerate other young cougars living nearby. In short, then, but killing off the mature, established population, you invite a denser population of cats. That means they have to work harder for food (more 'cats at the table' means fewer rations for each) so they are more likely to push into the urban fringe and eat cats and dogs.

    As for the hunting 'bans' -- more cougars and black bears are killed per year AFTER than hound bans than before!!

    From WDFW: Cougar harvest has steadily increased since dogs were banned by I-655. The increase is probably most attributed to the overlap between cougar seasons and deer and elk seasons, and the relatively low cost of a cougar transport tag. The changes made in an effort to maintain harvest at levels similar to when dogs were used have been successful. The reduced cougar tag and overlapping seasons made purchasing a cougar tag more attractive for deer and elk hunters, and the sales of cougar licenses increased from less than 1,000 annually prior to I-655 to about 58,000 post I-655. This in turn created a situation where the majority of the harvest is now by deer and elk hunters that harvest a cougar incidentally during their deer or elk hunt.
     

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  2. Dan Nelson

    Dan Nelson Hiker, Fisher, Writer, Bum

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    Work! (heh, heh). Research for various books/magazines.
     
  3. Gatorator

    Gatorator Member

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    That is exactly my point. Hound hunting for Bears and Cougars was selective. With only one tag a hunter would only shoot a mature animal, thus freeing up a large territory to a number of young animals. Also, by treeing a number of animals, the fear of man and dog was instilled into the animals and they were less apt to come calling into the yard looking for dinner.

    With everyone and his brother holding a tag, Cougars and Bears are now a target of opportunity. The first one seen is shot, those usually being the younger animals as the older and more mature ones hold territories that are harder to access by foot hunters and are more likely to be smarter as to what man is.

    Most of the problem animals, Bears and Cats, are young animals that are looking for a home territory of their own in urbanish or rural areas.

    It is interesting that when the hunting by hounds was banned their were an estimated 20,000 Cougars in WA. Now, with Cougar harvests at all time highs, and average age of harvested Cougars at an all time low, their are estimated to be over 30,000 Cougars in Washington.

    Someone was lying at some point.
     
  4. Dan Nelson

    Dan Nelson Hiker, Fisher, Writer, Bum

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    The problem is, when that "mature cougar" territory is near human habitations, and then you kill that big, dominate animal, you go from one cougar in the neighborhood to 8 to 12 in the neighborhood! One cougar adept at hunting deer, to nearly a dozen that are fighting for space and prey, so they turn to domestic dogs and cats. THAT's the only cougar problem in Washington -- far better to kill 6 or 8 juveniles, then one big "trophy!"

    Also, hunting with hounds makes cougars (those that live) afraid of dogs, NOT HUMANS. There is no fear-of-human response in cougars that are hunted: if they are treed by dogs and let go, they fear dogs. If the are hunted as a secondary target by deer/elk hunters, they are dead if they encounter humans, so no way to pass on the "fear of human" traits.

    Bottom line is, this is a complex issue and generally speaking, most management practices fail to meet their goals. Best idea would be to let the animals self regulate -- dominate cats (of either sex) will kill younger, smaller cats to protect their terrritory. With fewer than 4,000 cougars in the entire state (best estimates are 2,500-3,500 statewide -- compared to 35,000 black bears) there IS NO COUGAR PROBLEM in Washington.

    That's my measured opinion, anyway, and the opinion of scores of biologists and wildlife managers I've interviewed and worked with.:hmmm:
     
  5. Trent

    Trent Ugly member

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    Back to the hiking, fishing and tent thing. I like the idea of a hammock, never thought of them before. With a rain flap, they look like a good way to go, no puddles. They also appeir easy to use and set up (less parts then a tent). Plus the possibility of a good wind could make it like sleeping in a rocking chair, only lying down. Thanks to the guys who brought up the hammocks, I'll have to look into them.
     
  6. Randall Dee

    Randall Dee Castaway

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    The majority of my hikes are usually by some water source for fishing, and that in and of itself can increase the likely hood for condensation. The tarp I use is silicone impregnated nylon (silnylon) and they are prone to collecting condensation since it is not a breathable fabric. But when pitched with lots of ventilation, it's not an issue.
     
  7. Gary Dills

    Gary Dills 3 weight to 10 weight

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    I've used a Walrus tent for more than 8 years. Great tent...wife likes it too. Packs well, even on my Harley (why I bought it). A tent a an investment, a good one will last and can be repaired. REI and backpacking specialists are the best resource.
    I laughed at your story though. Brought back some memories of hunting with my nephew, high up in the Sierras. We set up camp along a beautiful creek. Slept under our tarp the first night. In the middle of the night Mr. Bear came along awakening my nephew...I continued snoring...I'm not sure how much sleep he got the rest of the night. Next day, bear sign, big prints, (est. size over 450 lbs) fresh berry droppings about a foot high. Never saw the bear. A few days later, we ran into a biologist. He told us that we must have been visited by the bear they had darted and helicoptered in from Yosemite to get rid of the nuisance. Lol. A great story to tell my grandchildren. I love the wild!!!!
     
  8. Keith Hixson

    Keith Hixson Active Member

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    I prefer a backpack tent. If you want to stay dry and cut down on the wind chill use a tent. I do some Mtn Climbing. I always use a high quality backpack tent. You can't use a tarps up high, they blow away. Also, I like a tent, better to keep the bugs away and drier than a tarp.

    Keith
     
  9. Bullwhacker

    Bullwhacker Member

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    I would imagine the feeling is not as bad as being ran until exhausted by a wolf pack then gutted alive or just lying there watching as a wolf eats your hind quarters. Contrary to Disney movies, there is no such think as nontramatic death with mother nature.
     
  10. jcnewbie

    jcnewbie Member

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    For those of you interested in guts 'n gore, I can tell you how "cat dogs" are trained. The owner/trainer goes out at night into various neighborhoods and captures domestic cats with guile OR nets....whatever. They then take them to a remote (usually) location, turn the cats loose and give 'em about a 1-3 second start then cut the dogs loose. The cats never make it to a tree because the dogs tear 'em to shreds as the "hunters" stand around cheering and high-fiving each other.

    It doesn't take long for the dogs to get the idea - the only difference being, the cougar will tree and even sometimes even tear the shit out of a dog or two. One even killed a dog after being shot 3 times with a .357 and jumped out of the tree right onto the dog....broke the dogs neck with one bite. Justice? Makes me wonder sometimes! Somehow I feel like cheering for the cougars.

    Incidentally, many cougar kills/attacks on humans have been old sick & weak cats that realize they can only survive by killing the weakest, dumbest thing in the woods - us! Trust me on this, killing & eating humans is an acquired taste and not generally an important food source for young strong cats. However of course, as humans push ever deeper into cat territory (to once again restate the obvious!) their precious little Taco Bell's and Poodle-Poos will be fair game in the need for food. Oh yeah, and every now 'n then another idiot human will make the startling metamorphosis into cougar poop.

    I still cheer for the cougar and always go into the woods fully prepared -- not that it would matter 'cuz I'll 'prolly never see 'im if it wants me for dinner anyhow.....:beathead:

    Jc
     
  11. jcnewbie

    jcnewbie Member

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    You may be young enough for a hammock but I am not and really never was. There is only one position, on your back, bent at the waist at extreme angle, no rolling over on your side or your stomach - one position all damn night....very, very uncomfortable AND where do you put all your gear? On the ground under your hammock of course! Better not be even the slightest smell of food anywhere in your gear my friend!:eek: Or hang it all from a high tree branch?:rolleyes: Perhaps.
    Whatever....I'm sure there are some that can do this....not me though, been there, done that! Good luck!

    Jc (I'll take a tent everytime!)
     
  12. Ray

    Ray Active Member

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    Hannibal Lector? Is that you?
     
  13. Randall Dee

    Randall Dee Castaway

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    Please pass the fava beans............
     
  14. Mike Danahy

    Mike Danahy @#)$%# river otters!

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    For recreation, I always take a tent. I may not use it, but I like to know I have the option. I don't mind the weight, and the lady and I can both fit in it, unlike a bivy or hammock.

    I have used a hammock, though it wasn't one really designed for backpacking (I bought it bocas del toro), and I slept horribly.

    For work I have a bivy, and a tarp in case it really pours. More due to weight and space constraints than preference. Though I have no complaints, they work great for me.

    However, outside of work most of my trips involve the girlfriend now, so the tent is really the only option if I can't sleep out under the stars.
     
  15. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    Go to a bullfight in Madrid, Rhonda or Sevilla and root for the bull! Odds solidly against the bull, but every now and again there is a need for emergency medicine.

    I still vote for the tent. My vote only counts for me, good luck on casting your own vote. Too many advantages in my mind, the weight is the only disadvantage. I bet I can even set up my tent in pitch darkness as fast or faster than you can hang your hammock. It is all about what you use, prefer and get comfortable with.
     
  16. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    Interesting thread. I've never been concerned about a cougar in my sleeping space, and no bears have gotten too close - - yet. Most of my hiking is in western WA, so a tent is practical insurance because of rain and bugs. I've used a light tarp a couple times, and probably need more practice because the very light drizzle wafted by a light breeze managed to land on my sleeping bag. I've only used the ground cloth and bedroll approach on the dry side, in the Pasayten and in Yellowstone, and it worked great there. My critter concern is not cougars and bears, but skunks, maybe snakes, chimpmonks, mice, and other gear chewers.

    I carry a 50' cord to hang my food from a high tree, but what do you veteran hikers do when the highest hang point is less high that what you can reach, standing maybe on a rock or something? Twice I've camped in alpine meadows where bears were sighted, and there wasn't a tree taller than me. And on Alaska float trips, the streambank willows are all less than 15 or 20' tall. We just put the covered grocery tote 50 yd. down the beach from our tents (aka bug havens) and hoped for the best. Fortunately the food was always still there the next morning.

    Most of the places I hike are inhabited by murderous numbers of bugs. Even with maximum DEET and permithrin, I think I'd go nuts at night sans tent.

    I've only recently learned about hammocks for backpacking. The notion appears interesting, but I have to roll from my back to my side during the night. I'm not certain that I could obtain a restful sleep.

    Sg
     
  17. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    Sg,

    When the limbs are too high I use something to tie the cord to and launch it up high. A nalgene bottle works well because of the lid teather. When the trees are too short to matter up high a hard canister is the trick. Put it far away from you and water sources and it should be fine. I've never had bears locate mine but the racoons will bash it around, get frustrated and then leave it alone. Some places require "bear canisters" now. You can teather them to a tree to keep them from getting knocked too far away.

    I'm surprised that there have not been any cliff hangers posting about sleeping in their harnesses or something crazy. I knew two guys that liked to do that sort of stuff...not me!
     
  18. Freestone

    Freestone Not to be confused with freestoneangler

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    Salmo, I have a variety of backpacking hammocks. My 2 Hennessy Hammocks are my favorites (2lb 12oz & 1lb 15oz). I too sleep on my side and because the Hennesy's are cut asymmetrically, it is no problem. In traditional hammocks one may be folded into a V-shape but in the Hennesy's, one can lie almost flat and/or lay on their side. I'll admit, sleeping in a hammock took some getting used to but it is great for ultra-light, low impact trips. I've used mine in some real buggy places, like Beaver Creek on Ross Lake, and it was great. There were swarms of mosquitoes, maybe the worst I've ever encountered, but permethrin spray on the netting works wonders.

    However, there are now tents on the market that weigh less than my hammocks. These tents are highly specialized for the ultralight backpack crowd and there are trade-offs. My lightest tent is heavy by ultralight standards, 3 lbs 3oz for a 2-man tent , but I'm lusting after a 1 man tent that weighs 16.2oz! Heck, my bivy bags are heavier than this. I have numerous tents, tarps, bivys, and hammocks and take which ever best suits a particular trip. However if I could only have one, I would have to go with a lightweight 2-man tent for overall versatility.

    Here are some links to some really light tents/shelters:
    http://www.gossamergear.com/
    http://www.sixmoondesigns.com/
    http://www.bigskyinternational.com/

    For an alternative to bulky, heavy bear canisters, consider an Ursack with odor-proof Aloksak O.P. Saks inside. http://www.ursack.com/ursack-catalog.htm. The Ursack can be tied to a tree, rock or anything too heavy for the bear to haul away but with the odor-proof bags inside and careful food handling, the bear may not even find it. Obviously it should be placed well away from camp.
     
  19. jcnewbie

    jcnewbie Member

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    Oh dang! You've found me out......:eek:

    Jc:D
     
  20. jcnewbie

    jcnewbie Member

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    Freestone,

    I have tried & tried numerous hammocks in my extensive hiking, backpacking & hunting/fishing career but have never heard of the "Hennessy's" you refer to. Asymmetrical design you say? Interesting idea....where could I research this product? No help with Google....Irish whiskey, English pubs, bars, restaurants etc.!

    Incidentally, have you ever noticed that you have to get up at least once, maybe more, in the middle of the night to tighten the lines on your hammock or search out a sturdier anchor tree to keep your butt off the ground?

    I've found it much more difficult to find two adequate anchor points for a hammock than a flat (enough) spot for a tent.

    I guess this all boils down to what works for you, and you, and you! I know what works for me.....after much trial & error. Good luck!

    Jc
     

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