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Can Bells Attract Bears?

I've seen bells marketed as a way to notify animals that you are in the area. Could use of the bell actually attract predators that are used to hearing bells on livestock?

Question:

I’m preparing for a trip in bear/mountain lion country.  I’ve seen bells marketed as a way to notify animals that you are in the area.  Could use of the bell actually attract predators that are used to hearing bells on livestock?

Submitted by - Suzanne, Cheshire, CT

Answer:

Bells, like Coghlan’s Bear Bell (left) have been tested by experts to determine if they really let bears know you’re in the area, so the animals will therefore avoid you. Black bears seem more alert to bells than grizzlies. In all cases, there has not been an incident where bears were attracted to the sound of bells—on humans or livestock. I feel safe saying bells will not attract predators. I am not sure, however, that they work very well. If you use them, be sure they are loud enough to be heard over wind, running water, etc. The sound of a group of hikers talking or singing probably works better than bells. I have not seen any research into how well bells work with lions.

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