Q: Will smoking a cigar or pipe keep bears away? What about the smoke of a campfire, does it attract or repel bears?—Coach Dennis Taylor; Martin, TN
A: Sorry, Coach—I’m afraid those bear-repelling ideas wouldn’t make the cut. Smoke from a campfire will certainly not keep me away. A campfire might make you feel all warm and cozy, but they’ll do nothing to scare me off. Your best best is to make sure you’re singing, reminiscing loudly about your big match, bragging about your serve, or making other noisy human sounds to ensure I’m aware of your presence. After you’re done yelling “Kumbaya,” make sure to properly pack up any remaining food items and trash and securely seal them away in a bear bag or canister.
If campfires won’t keep me at bay, it stands to reason that cigar or pipe smoke certainly won’t. I can probably detect trace amounts on the wind, but for me to really notice you’d have to blow it directly in my face, and I’m sure that’s too close for comfort—for the both of us.