Bear Resistant Canisters
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Many black bears, particularly those in the Adirondack High Peaks Wilderness, have become adept at obtaining food that is hung by back country campers. Bear resistant canisters are a highly effective means for preventing bears from obtaining food. When bears are unable to obtain food from back country campers, not only will campers have a more enjoyable back country experience, but the bears will return to looking for natural foods in the forest.
Bear resistant canisters are required in many National Parks where they have proven to be highly successful in reducing negative human-bear interactions. The canisters have been proven to even resist grizzly bears.
NYSDEC Regulation Requires The Use of Bear Resistant Canisters by Overnight Users in The Eastern High Peaks Wilderness Between April 1 And November 30. NYSDEC encourages campers to use bear resistant canisters throughout the Adirondack and Catskill backcountry.
Bear Resistant Canisters Facts
- Canisters are solid and non-pliable.
- Canisters are usually made of a hard plastic, but metal or another material may also be used.
- Non-rigid containers or sacks are not considered bear resistant canisters under the regulation.
- Canisters weigh 3 to 5 pounds.
- Canisters typically are 8 inches by 12 inches in size.
- Canisters can hold up to 5 person days of food when properly packed.
- Bear resistant canisters are available for purchase or rent from many local, national and web-based outdoor recreation stores.
Packing a Bear Resistant Canister
- Pack all scented items (food, toiletries, and trash) in the canister.
- Pack materials in sealed plastic bags or containers to reduce odors that will attract bears.
- Choose foods that are compact, compressible and high in calories.
- Do not take more food than you will need.
- See Packing a Bear Resistant Canister for more information.
Using a Bear Resistant Canister
- Ensure that the canister lid is secured.
- Carry the canister in the backpack or strap it to the outside.
- Nylon carrying cases are available for some canisters.
- Place reflective tape on the canister to assist in locating the canister in the dark.
- Label the canister with your name and contact information in case it is lost.
Storing a Bear Resistant Canister
- Canisters should be stored at least 100 feet away from the campsite.
- Wedge the canister between rocks, under logs or just lay in a shallow depression.
- Do NOT hang canisters, bears can still carry off your food.
- Do NOT store canisters in carrying case, as bears will be able to carry it away.
- Do NOT store canisters near water, canisters are not watertight and do not float.
Benefits of Properly Used Bear Resistant Canisters
- Prevents the loss of food to a bear, thus preventing hungry campers and shortened camping trips.
- Reduces or eliminates the occurrence of night time visits by bears to your campsite.
- Reduces or eliminates the occurrence of damage to expensive camping equipment like backpacks and tents.
- Eliminates the need to locate the proper tree for a tree hang.
Documents about Bear Resistant Canisters
Would you like information about bear resistant canisters for your own use or to distribute through your business, school or organization? The following documents may be downloaded, copied and distributed:
- Bear Resistant Canister (Fact Sheet - 14k pdf)
- Packing a Bear Resistant Canister (Fact Sheet - 9k pdf)