Keeping the bears away
In bear country, hanging your food, garbage, and scented items such as toothpaste, chapstick, sunscreen, deodorant, and toiletries is absolutely necessary. This easy and simple precaution will dramatically reduce your chances of a bear encounter and keep rodents and other small critters from pillaging your stores as well. Most camping areas in southwest Montana are near trees large enough to support a bear bag, but in areas without large trees, a bear-proof canister is recommended (in Yellowstone, at least one of these methods is required). The key to a successful hang is to get your bear bag at least 12 feet off the ground and 10 feet away from the nearest trunk. Bears can climb! You’ll need about 75 feet of rope, but lightweight cord will work and needn’t weigh you down.
How to Hang a Bear Bag
- Tie one end of your rope to the base of the first tree and throw the other end of the rope over a branch 15-20 feet off the ground.
- Throw the loose end of the rope over a branch (15-20 feet high) on an adjacent tree that is at least 20 feet away.
- After attaching your food bag to the middle of the rope that now spans the two trees, pull the line taut. This will position your bag out of reach.
- Secure the loose end of the rope to the base of the second tree.