A bear can break into your RV, however, the are many ways to minimize the likelihood of this happening. Black bears, grizzly bears, and brown bears inhabit Alaska, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, and they are also found in Canada, Asia, and Europe.
Although attacks are rare, bears usually steer clear of humans, discriminating only for food, and defending cubs and territory. However, bears are strong and intelligent animals that get hungry and curious, so it’s prudent to protect yourselves when RV-ing in areas where bears roam.
With a sense of smell seven times greater than that of a bloodhound, bears can detect humans up to 32 km away. So, the key to stopping a break-in is prevention. With enough incentive, bears can break into a house, so you should apply greater security to your RV and campsite as you would to your home. Lock windows and doors and be meticulous when it comes to moving your trash, leaving out the cookware, and your pet’s dinner to prevent unwanted guests.
How To Prevent Attracting Bears To Your RV Campsite
So, take precautions with food and waste to stop bears from coming to visit your campsite. With a heightened sense of smell, bears can sniff through materials like canvas, soft-sided campers, and even hard-sided RVs.
Soft-sided RVs such as pop-up campers are no different than a tent against a bear. In some state parks, the use of pop-up trailers is prohibited from use as it is too easy for a bear to break into those types of RVs.
· At campgrounds dispose of waste in Bear safe garbage cans before end of day
· At boondocking sites keep all waste and trash INSIDE your RV, only disposing of it when you are back on the road if there are no bear safe garbage cans
· Or keep your trash at least 100 yards away from your campsite using a bear-safe strategy of hanging your trash in a tree.
· Do not store trash outside or even on top of your RV overnight. You may think the height would deter unwanted visitors, but this is no deterrent to a hungry bear
· Don’t forget food containers, cooking stoves, and utensils should be washed and brought inside overnight too
· Dump wash water far from the campsite.
· Bird lovers do not hang out feeders from your RV as bears are drawn to the smell of nuts and seeds.
· If you are a campground with a communal trash area, do not park up near it if it can be avoided.
· If you have pets, feed them inside your RV, keeping bowls inside.
· Try to camp in a more open space, rather than heavily wooded areas and near other people.
· If there are any food or waste remnants from a campfire, do not dump this in areas around you.
· Radios and human voices are also good at keeping bears far from your campsite. When they hear people, they want to stay away. Speaking loudly like saying “Hey Bear!” Or singing will let them know that you are there, and they should stay away. Just generally being loud lets the bears in the area know you are in the area.
· Portable electric fences are also a good deterrent to keeping bears and other wild animals from visiting your campsite.
What Is Not Effective At Deterring Bears?
There are a number of things that have been tried over the years to prevent bear encounters. Many of them have been disproven with scientific studies over the years. Here’s a list of items that have proven to not be effective at repelling Bears.
· Bear Bells have proven to be not effective at all in preventing bears, they are just loud enough to let the bears know that you are in the area.
· Spraying bear spray all over everything. Bear spray has an intended use, that is when you are in close proximity to a bear, and they are coming towards you. It is not effective at thwarting bears, in fact, if it’s sprayed all over your personal items it might attract the bear due to the strong smell from the capsicum in the bear spray.
· Whistles are just not loud enough to scare a bear away.
How Can I Protect Myself If There’s A Bear In My Campsite?
Although being vigilant with the storage and disposal of food and garbage is your main priority when deterring bears. Sometimes there are chance encounters of bears does occur, where you are required to use other means to scare the bear off. The use of bear bangers, air horns, and bear spray have all proven to be effective at scaring bears away during an encounter.
Carrying a bear spray on your body when in bear country is advised. Bear bangers can be effective if the encounter with a bear is still at a distance and the use of air horns can be just as effective once the bear gets closer. Bear spray is only effective at below 40 feet so, it’s the least effective means to thwart a bear at close range.
What Should I Do If A Bear Comes Into Our RV Camp?
If a bear enters your RV camping area, coming into close proximity, do not run, this triggers a chase response, and the bear will treat you as prey and will encourage a bear to come towards you more. You will not be able to outrun a bear.
Similarly, do not turn your back on a bear, instead of a step back slowly, keeping your eye on their movements. If the bear approaches offensively, and you have bear spray then do not use this until the bear is within approximately 20-30 feet from you. Blast the spray firmly below the bear’s nose.
Are You More At Risk For Bear Attacks If You Are Boondocking?
Chances are, if you are in bear country, you will be boondocking at some point during your RV trip, but this doesn’t put you at more risk. The risk of being attacked by a bear is linked more with the precautions you take or don’t take, rather than your style of RV-ing. The same rules of being vigilant with food, odors, and waste apply in the same way as they do at an established campsite.
Understanding Bears And What Motivates Them?
Bears tend to be shy and want to stay away from human contact. They are driven by food and protecting their young. Sometimes bears are predatory and maybe hunting you as food. In general, that is not usually the case.
It’s important to understand how to read the situation of the bear’s behavior when you are confronted with a bear and know the proper actions to take. Bear behavior and awareness are beyond the scope of this article. It’s best to enroll in a local course on bear safety if you plan on spending lots of time in bear country.
How To Identify the Kind Of Bear You Have Encountered? Different species of bear behave differently. Both vary in color, but unlike grizzly bears with a noticeable hump between their shoulders, black bears have a more slumped neck and straight facial profile. Grizzlies are typically much larger than black bears.
If you are under threat from a grizzly or brown bear, the best option is to play dead. Lie on your stomach and make it difficult for the bear to turn you over by spreading your legs apart. If it’s a black bear, do the opposite of playing dead. Fight back, make lots of noise, and aim your attacks at the bear’s face.
Finally, remember that bear attacks while camping is extremely rare and largely very avoidable! Most bears will withdraw from the vicinity before you even know they are close by.