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Q: Will my farts attract a bear? Don’t laugh—I’ve always wanted to know.—Kasi, via email
A: Oh boy—I usually treat this forum as a place for people to get sincere answers about the behavioral habits of myself in the wild. But this is the goofy question I get almost more than any other. I think maybe it’s time to let the hot air out of this one.
While there is some small evidence grizzlies could occasionally be attracted to fecal matter, there is no evidence that human flatulence would attract me. No scientific tests have been attempted to this bear’s knowledge. Why not, you ask? The phrase “vanished like a fart in the wind” is perhaps a truism best applied here—I can only imagine the difficulty in testing this (not to mention getting funding).
Even the most potent gas events will dissipate quickly—perhaps not quickly enough for your tentmates, but quickly nonetheless. The smell doesn’t linger long enough to be more of a factor than your own human smell (which I can already detect) or any food or scented items you might have on you (which you should know by now to stow).
As for noise, I’m more likely to be attracted by your tentmate’s anguished screaming at your baked-bean byproducts.
So as far as I can tell, go ahead—let ‘er rip. If you wake up murdered, you can be sure it won’t be my fault.
Got a question for the bear? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.