When you decide to go camping, you are basically moving into animals’ territory. You are bound to run into the wildlife while staying in the wilderness and this contributes to the great outdoor experience! While it is true that you want to enjoy all the sights and sounds that come with the wilderness, it does not mean that you should allow the animals to take over your campsite. Unwanted wildlife can be destructive and scary and it can end up ruining your camping experience. Fortunately, there are tips that can help to prevent the unwanted guests along with the damage they bring with them.
Choosing the best camping location
Before you decide to set up camp, you need to assess your surroundings. Look for tracks that indicate the presence of wildlife. If you notice tracks in or around the campsite where you want to set up, you need to evaluate if they were left by an animal that could be a threat. While deer track are not likely to be much of a problem, the same cannot be said of wolf or bear tracks. Signs of the dangerous animal’s presence could mean that they visit the campsite looking for food. If you are concerned that the animal may return, talk to the campground manager or park ranger or move to a different campsite!
Do not feed the wildlife
One of the biggest mistakes that first time campers make is that they feed the wildlife. You might think that it is harmless to feed the cute squirrel or chipmunk hanging around, but this might actually attract larger animals. Any food that is left behind by the smaller animals acts as bait to lure larger animals. Make sure that you clean up the area around your picnic table after every meal and remember that even the smell of food can attract the unwanted wildlife. Make sure that you obey signs that caution against feeding the wildlife!
Be careful about food scents
Any time you are out in the wilderness, you should remember that scents are more powerful than you might think. Make sure that you keep all food in airtight and animal proof containers. Remember that smells can get out even if the container does not leak. Wild animals have a very strong sense of smell and they can easily smell food in plastic bags and they often rip the bags to access the food. Bears and raccoons that hang around campsites are capable of opening plastic food containers and coolers. If you are not sure whether your containers are animal proof, leave them locked in your camper or truck.
Keep everything clean
Anyone will tell you that cleanliness is an important defense against animal and pest control. Keeping things clean will help to deter the unwanted wildlife. Clean up after meals and get rid of wrappers, drippings, food scraps and garbage that can attract hungry animals. Make sure that you put items away in the approved garbage cans that are located away from the campsite. Any items that you cannot dispose of right away should be placed in an airtight container and locked in the camper or vehicle trunk. Avoid throwing garbage into a campfire as it smells like food while burning. Clean the cooking equipment and surfaces that the food might have touched to eliminate any smell of food.
Be careful of other odors
It is important to know that animals are not just attracted to the smell of food; they will also want to follow unknown smells. Most perfumes, colognes and beauty products contain pheromones that are designed to be attractive. They attract not just humans but also different animals. The curiosity of the unknown smells, even those of soap and deodorant, can attract different animals to your campsite. To keep away unwanted nighttime visitors, avoid using strong scents while out in the wilderness and put away any clothing that might have the scents.
Dealing with curious animals
You need to know that most animals are simply curious and they are likely to wander into your campsite just to check things out! All your careful cleaning, packing and planning may not necessarily work to keep the animals away. New sounds and structures will draw the animal’s natural curiosity and as long as it does not enter your campsite, you should treat it with respect. Remember that in this case you are the invader. You can move to a more secure area and make sure you avoid sudden movements and loud noises that can scare the animal. Unless the animals pose danger to you, you should learn to enjoy their presence as much as possible.
When planning your camping trip, it helps to talk to a wildlife expert so that you can find out all you can about wildlife. You can get some additional tips about keeping the animals away from your campsite. You can purchase products like bear spray that will help to keep you safe. Remember that it is never a good idea to engage wildlife unless you have no choice.