How to protect your campsite from wild animals

One of the greatest fears of campers is having a bear pay them a visit or a snake crawl up to them at night. However, smaller wild animals like squirrels, foxes, and rodents are even a bigger nuisance. Camping is an amazing adventure until you begin to encounter wild animals near your campsite. But do not forget that you are the one occupying their territory. Therefore, there are several precautions you have to take to protect your campsite from wild animals.

Select an Appropriate Campsite Location

You have to know where wild animals make their homes so you can select the right location for your campsite. Typically, choose a flat, open, and elevated area. In an enclosed campsite, wild animals are not able to easily retreat when they encounter campers and may act aggressively.

Use Repellents

Before camping, you should research which wild animals occupy that area. That way, you’ll know what animals you’re trying to repel. Common repellents for some wild animals include:

Rodents – squirrels, mice, moles, and chipmunks

Rodents are generally not skittish about approaching people and ransacking food supplies. Common rodent repellents usually contain garlic, sulfur, vinegar, and ammonia. Light repellents also deter nocturnal rodents like flying squirrels, rabbits, rats, and beavers.

Canines – Foxes, wolves, coyotes, and jackals

Most of these animals try to stay away from humans as much as possible. So, they are unlikely to attack you at your campsite. However, if you see one of them, especially a coyote, do not run away. Instead, you should haze the coyote. Hazing methods include shouting while waving your arms, using horns and bells to create discomforting sounds, throwing small projectiles at it, and using either scented or physical repellents.

Birds

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Birds are mainly attracted by food crumbs. That’s why you should maintain cleanliness around your campsite. You can also make use of bird repellents like scare tape.

Bears

Bears are generally afraid of sounds. High-pitched noises from human voices is a deterrent. Consider leaving a radio on before you sleep. Flashing lights are also a good way to repel bears.

Properly Secure Your Food

Wild animals are constantly seeking food. What’s more, many of them like bears and foxes have a very keen sense of smell. To ensure that wild animals stay clear of your campsite:

  1. Avoid cooking food with a strong scent.
  2. Do not eat inside your tent. Food scent can linger for too long if it’s in an enclosed space.
  3. Ensure that no leftovers are left lying around. Properly secure all leftovers in odor-proof containers. Tiny crumbs of food can attract birds and even squirrels. Leftovers can also attract flies, toads, and mice.
  4. Store your food supply in a locking cooler. Thereafter, hang it on a tree to keep it safe from raccoons, bears, and foxes.
  5. Wash all cooking utensils immediately after you use them. Dirty pots and pans attract insects, mice, and squirrels that can contaminate it with their poop.
  6. Do not wear your cooking clothes to sleep. Clothes you wear while cooking usually absorbs food scent, and should be stored in an airtight bag to ensure a wild animal doesn’t catch its scent.

Aside from raiding our campsite for food, we do not want wild animals around for other reasons. First, they are wild animals, and largely unpredictable, so we want to minimize our encounters with them. Also, they are carriers of several diseases that can be transmitted to humans. To ensure your general safety, protecting your campsite from wild animals is a must!

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