Before setting up my campsite in a small patch of Crownland forest outside of Magnetewan, I ate dinner, brushed my teeth, and hung all of my scented items (food and toiletries) in a tree 100 m away. I was quite tired, and sleep came easy.
At around midnight, I woke up and heard huffing noises in the distance. I quietly grabbed my headlamp, bear spray, and whistle. I sat and listened again to determine how close this huffing sound was. It sounded like the bear was not that close to my tent, so I blew my whistle, gave the good ol’ “hey bear, yo bear”, then clapped my hands a few times. Nothing more was heard, but I was now frightened and going back to bed is difficult at that point.
A few minutes later the same level of huffing sounds were heard in the distance, where I repeated the yelling exercise and hand clapping again. The sound eventually went away, but this time I shone my headlamp into the distance, but nothing was observed. I did hear some noise, but it was distant for the most part. It is hard to really discern actual and make believe noises after and incident like this.
I went back to sleep, and woke up safe and sound hours later. Nothing more was heard after waking, and no sign of bear presence was observed around my tent, or the food stash when I went to retrieve it. I guess I did everything right, but my lack of knowledge about bear behavior still makes me wonder. Maybe I could have done something different?
While eating breakfast on the side of the road across from my campsite, two ladies walking their dogs told me that two sows with cubs are in the area, so I should be extra vigilent when walking along the road. I wonder if one of these sows were associated with the bruin I encountered in the night? I will never know, but I am just glad that I am being bear smart while I am doing this walk.
While in North Bay, I phoned the MNR and spoke with a bear technician to get an opinion, and some tips on how I can improve my living with the bears this summer. We talked at length, and the conversation was incredibly helpful. Thankfully, my manners on the trail (cooking food and hanging all scented items >100 m away from camp) is an acceptable and bear safe practice. My bear encounter was most likely a bear investigation, rather than a threat.
My next post will be about the walking the Nipissing Colonization Road and the Rye Cemetry.