10 Ways to Attract Bears to Your Campsite


Leave Your Trash Out

This cooler is no match to a hungry black bear's jaws and claws.
This cooler is no match to a hungry black bear's jaws and claws.
Aurora/Getty Images

The strong scent of trash entices bears to investigate your area. The problem is, you're probably going to create some trash, somehow, while you camp. So what can you do to make sure it doesn't lure bears? For one, don't attempt to mask the smell of trash with air fresheners, Lysol or moth balls. The smell of moth balls may not seem delectable to you, but it will double the curiosity for a bear.

You might also think it's a good idea to toss your trash into the campfire, but bears like the smell of burning trash even more than the smell of regular trash. Instead, put your garbage in airtight plastic bags and string those between two trees, at least 10 to 15 feet (3 to 4.5 meters) above ground and at least 4 feet (1.2 meters) away from any tree or post. The airtight bags should reduce the scent. And if a bear still catches a whiff, the bag will be too difficult for the animal to reach.

You can also store trash in bear-resistant food canisters, which are usually available for rent at most bear country campsites. Be sure to latch the box completely. At night, place the canister on the ground at least 100 feet (30.5 meters) or more from your campsite. That way, if a bear decides to bat the canister around for a while, he'll be nowhere near your tent.

Lastly, remember that bears can detect human scent for 14 hours after people leave a campsite, so clean up for your sake and for your fellow campers' sakes [source: American Bear Association].

As you can tell by now, scent is a big attractant for bears. So, if you really want to lure a bear, why not camp next to a carcass?