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Backpacker Magazine – Online Exclusive

Ask A Bear: Can You Smell My Marijuana?

Our resident bruin expert answers all your questions in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

by: BEAR


Q: Living in a medical marijuana state and being an avid backpacker leaves me in a quandary. Do you like the smell of my medicine, or is it natural enough to not pique your fancy? —RTH, via email

A: Is it a coincidence that 14 of the 16 states that allow medical marijuana have swaths of bear country? Why did Jerry Garcia and Co. choose an image of me dancing to promote the dead on t-shirts and bumper stickers everywhere? Alls I'm sayin' is I'm sensing a connection, here, man...

All right, back to the real, bro. Though there aren't very many case studies establishing my attraction to cannabis, it's probably fair to say that I could be attracted to the smell of your wacky tobacky. While you are right that it exists in my natural environment, many strains of dried and processed pot often possess an even stronger, more intense fragrance than the variety growing in the wild. If I can smell a dollop of toothpaste in your bag or leftover chocolate on a wrapper, I can most certainly detect a whiff of your super-odoriferous Afghan Kush.

While we're not certain that the smell serves as an attractant, don't take the chance: Stow it with all your food items at night in a canister or bear bag, and try to opt for a wake-and-bake over hotboxing overnight in the tent.

—BEAR

Got a question for the bear? Send it to askabear@backpacker.com.

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ALL READERS COMMENTS

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Mar 01, 2013

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Tommy Chong
Aug 01, 2012

Smoking dope, boozing, drugging... all relly dumb things to be doing out in the woods.

Keep it up, prove Darwin was right.

Luke
Jul 18, 2012

Hello ANONYMOUS, there are many legitimate medical conditions which still allow you to hike. Chronic pain, asthma, arthritis, etc. Educate yourself before you open your ignorant mouth. I'm also curious, are you opposed to consuming drugs which unlike marijuana are actually dangerous to your health, highly addictive, and in the widely available form have very few medical purposes (i.e. alcohol) while backpacking?

keeping it safe
Jul 18, 2012

I am medicinal marijuana patient (who suffers from panic attacks and insomnia for those of you closed minded folk) in one of those 14 -16 states and I frequently backpack. I use the odor proof bags to seal the medicine and store them regularly with my food in bear proof containers with no problems. I would also suggest medicating in open clearings just to know if there are any furry friends close by. Happy hiking to all!

Anonymous
Jul 16, 2012

Hummm, in need of medical Marijuana, but somehow healthy enough to hike. Keep smoking then maybe you'll really need it!

Luke
Jul 16, 2012

Dear, editors, can you please remove the close minded spam below. Thanks.

police
Jul 12, 2012

your a hippie dumbass bears dont eat those but we arrest them

police
Jul 12, 2012

your a hippie dumbass bears dont eat those but we arrest them

police
Jul 12, 2012

your a hippie dumbass bears dont eat those but we arrest them

police
Jul 12, 2012

your a hippie dumbass bears dont eat those but we arrest them

police
Jul 12, 2012

your a hippie dumbass bears dont eat those but we arrest them

police
Jul 12, 2012

your a hippie dumbass bears dont eat those but we arrest them

police
Jul 12, 2012

your a hippie dumbass bears dont eat those but we arrest them

police
Jul 12, 2012

your a hippie dumbass bears dont eat those but we arrest them

police
Jul 12, 2012

your a hippie dumbass bears dont eat those but we arrest them

police
Jul 12, 2012

your a hippie dumbass bears dont eat those but we arrest them

police
Jul 12, 2012

your a hippie dumbass bears dont eat those but we arrest them

police
Jul 12, 2012

your a hippie dumbass bears dont eat those but we arrest them

police
Jul 12, 2012

your a hippie dumbass bears dont eat those but we arrest them

police
Jul 12, 2012

your a hippie dumbass bears dont eat those but we arrest them

police
Jul 12, 2012

your a hippie dumbass bears dont eat those but we arrest them

police
Jul 12, 2012

your a hippie dumbass bears dont eat those but we arrest them

police
Jul 12, 2012

your a hippie dumbass bears dont eat those but we arrest them

police
Jul 12, 2012

your a hippie dumbass bears dont eat those but we arrest them

police
Jul 12, 2012

your a hippie dumbass bears dont eat those but we arrest them

police
Jul 12, 2012

your a hippie dumbass bears dont eat those but we arrest them

police
Jul 12, 2012

your a hippie dumbass bears dont eat those but we arrest them

police
Jul 12, 2012

your a hippie dumbass bears dont eat those but we arrest them

police
Jul 12, 2012

your a hippie dumbass bears dont eat those but we arrest them

police
Jul 12, 2012

your a hippie dumbass bears dont eat those but we arrest them

police
Jul 12, 2012

your a hippie dumbass bears dont eat those but we arrest them

Alita Alexander
Jul 12, 2012

I live in the NW and there was a story in the news last year about a bear who was drinking everyone's beers at their campsites during the night. The Rangers tried a couple beers before realizing the Bear preferred one beer over another. So the Rangers finally put that beer into a big cage thingy to catch the bear and move him to another safer location; for him and the campers. The Bear drank all the beers the Rangers supplied and fell asleep inside the 'cage'. So either the Bear can read or he can smell the difference in the beers right through the unopened cans of beer! Pretty amazing! Now you want to know which beer the Bear preferred? Rainier Beer... See news story http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2002008625_webbeerbear18.html

BigWoollyMammoth
May 09, 2011

HELLO!!!

Has anyone answered the question? Are you saying that your ganja should be stored in the Food Lockers at night?

AT1988
May 03, 2011

On the John Muir Trail last year we did not put our weed in the bear cannister--big mistake. When a bear entered our campsite, he went right for the baggie.

Bears view pot as a food item, and it should be treated accordingly.

Jeff
Mar 29, 2011

i thought the question was whether it attracted bears or not. the question wasn't whether we all thought this guy should smoke grass out in the woods.
ps. it's easier to get some weed and a pipe into your pack than it is a bottle of booze. plus it'll keep you from forgetting your lighter

Max D
Mar 25, 2011

I don't think its the weed that may attract the bears. I think its the huge bag of cookies that will get consumed after the doobie that will bring Yogi running.

DG
Mar 25, 2011

RIP Owsley "bear" Stanley, 3/13/11, BTW

Colorado TY
Mar 25, 2011

If they can smell things such as toothpaste at 1000 yards away. They can prolly smell the natural human scent you put off, your weed, your socks and prolly your boogers. I'd be willing to bet that bear can smell gunpowder too... If not he better. On the other hand animals of prey really have a fear for humans just for that reason. Scare the shit out of him and smoke a joint. Be sure to extinguish all fires tho in honor of the bear of all bears... SMOKEY!!!! Only u can prevent forrest fires and we need all the help we can get out here.
Colorado TY

idk
Mar 24, 2011

@fred lol you just spent your time reading a post that obviously doesn't have anything to do with you. then posted the same thing 4 times. Maybe you should take your own advice.

idk
Mar 24, 2011

it definitely attracts groundhogs and they could have rabies. I personally would watch out man.

Diver
Mar 24, 2011

Let's see, bears can smell food, deoderant, toothpaste, shampoo, garbage, etc., sometimes from thousands of yards away. What makes you think that they can't smell weed? This is one of the dumbest questions I've seen here - thanks for the laugh. What's wrong, jcn - going through withdrawls? Lighten up...

smokapotamus
Mar 24, 2011

PS sarie four the spehling and grahamer bad werd missteaks

smokapotamus
Mar 24, 2011

What's up Bear! I figure you can smell just about anything, and anything you're not used to smelling would be interesting to you, even the smell of me. So I agree that I keep the kush in with the food ready to ditch for when you get curious, I have a job and can get some more, no problem.
I wonder if those people with the negative feelings on weed would feel the same way if alcohol was illegal and and weed was legal. Would they then say that there is no use for alcohol?
Do some people only know whats good and bad because of laws set forth by government?
Do some people know what is good and bad from personal experience?
Do some people let other people do what is right for there own selves with out having to try to correct them with their own judgements?
Should this be a discussion on wether or not the bear can smell my White Widow?

Rob Z
Mar 24, 2011

Granted I hike in summer when Bears aren't desperate, but I've never had issues with keeping my meds in the sealed bottle they came in. Very poor response Backpacker, you should not have bothered if you didn't have a worthwhile answer. I believe the dancing Bear was inspired by Owsley Stanley aka The Bear.

jay
Mar 24, 2011

i bring mine into any and wilderness, backpacking, climbing whatever im doing. you know, if a bear wants my stash, he can have it. its in my pack along with my food. so food or pot, im not fighting him over it. and as for chiefing the tent up, well i opt to sit out and enjoy the view and the night before crawling to bed.

WakyBakey-EggsnBakey
Mar 24, 2011

You guys are funny, but I have to say, that marijuana is not a drug, it is a plant (aka hemp). What reasonable person could look at distilled alcohol and all the problems that it can cause and think "Yeah, that's cool." But then think "Marijuana is a dangerous drug!"

Puuhhleeeeze...

Not that everything that is "natural" is safe, but hey, neither are a lot of things that we all enjoy doing. My $0.02-

Sue
Mar 24, 2011

When I first saw this I asked myself the question..is this black bear or griz territory ? If it's the later it's proably too late and the drug induced high might be more merciful as you chance getting mauled to death. OMgoodness what a question. ANYTHING that attracts bears is foolish.

the buckaroo
Mar 24, 2011

hey bear...don't let the luddites throw ya. It is your wilderness where waking & baking rules supreme.

Those with their panties in a bunch should seek relief. Remember, don't be a bogart.

LD
Mar 24, 2011

Come on guys, give the Bear a break.
As for your "Medical Weed" LOL, the great outdoors should be enough of a high. Now, if you are suffering from cancer and just finished your chemo, you should probably stay home to let things settle. If you have glaucoma, then there are other meds that you can use to effectively treat the increased pressure in your eyes.
Now, if you are smoking just for the high, give it a rest and try enjoying the view. The high you will get will far surpass that of weed and won't attract Bears! Oh, and by the way that natural high is legal in all 50 states.

Alex S
Mar 24, 2011

@Tom Wendel. You are very very mistaken. I encourage you to read a book entitled: The Pot Book. It is filled with incredible amounts of scientific reports written on marijuana. It is enlightening and for the most part very objective.

Tom Wendel
Mar 24, 2011

There isn't a single legitimate medical use for marijuana that's been established using the same type of clinical study that we use for all other medications!

DirtyHippieBrian
Mar 24, 2011

Great question, and WTF is up with the spelling? I'll tell you what, Mr. Bear hit the bong before righting the post, that's what. (Get it? "Righting"?)

LA
Mar 24, 2011

I always thought that smell on a rapper was coke, not chocolate. hmm. ;)

lonesomegeorge
Mar 23, 2011

ha-haaa...I asked this question many months ago on the backpacker forum.....got all kinds of answers....you really ought to include that thread in this discussion...

Brandt
Mar 23, 2011

Marijuana is the safest drug with actual benefits for the user as opposed to alcohol which is dangerous, causes addiction, birth defects, and affects literally every organ in the body. Groups are organizing all over the country to speak their minds on reforming pot laws. I drew up a very cool poster for the cause which you can check out on my artistís blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2011/01/vote-teapot-2011.html Drop in and let me know what you think!

DG
Mar 23, 2011

Never knew your last name was Owsley!

Lonnie L. Jones
Mar 23, 2011

Uh, bear...I can totally appreciate the spelling might not be your strongest point, but when you say "leftover chocolate on a rapper..." do you mean the smell of chocolate emanating from a rap artist, or do you mean from the wrapper the chocolate was wrapped in?

What timing
Mar 23, 2011

I actually pondered a similar question just a few days ago but it more related to what would happen if a bear got a hold of some medicinal brownies... and would the side effect of munchies result in a bear looking for a snack in the form of the person who made said brownies?

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