From time to time a question appears on touring mailing lists, newsgroups and forums about how best to handle bears. This particular question is one that has occupied my mind from time to time as well.
When the question is posted a number of replies usually appear talking about hanging your food from trees, separating your cooking/eating area from your sleeping area and often a reminder about never eating in your tent.
A very good resource that has so far served me well is a book called "backcountry Bear Basics" by Dave Smith. The ISBN number is 0-89886-500-x. This book covers all of the topics mentioned above as well as many more.
After reading the book you will have a much better understanding of bears, their habits and their environment. The book also covers many of the "myths" that have arisen over the years and an actual discussion around the real number of bear attacks etc that have been experienced. An entire chapter also discusses guns and pepper spray.
Cooking and food storage are another topic that receives a lot of attention. In addition to the normal directions on how to hang bags from trees the book also discusses the concept of cold food instead of cooking and covers off Bear Resistant containers as well which is nice to see since I use a Bear Keg myself when touring.
So far my bear encounters have been limited to sighting bears crossing roads etc while I'm on the bike. I would like to believe that this book has gone a long way towards helping that to remain the case!
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