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Travellers' questions that don't fit anywhere else This is an opportunity to ask any question, and post any notice you wish that doesn't fit into one of the other sections.
Photo by Mark Newton, Mexican camping

I haven't been everywhere...
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Camping in the Mexican desert



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  #1  
Old 18 Oct 2010
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Dealing with animals on the road

Hi

I'd love to hear any hints or tips that people have used to protect themselves from wild animals when free camping or just riding?? I know you need to keep food away from your tent to reduce the risk of Bears. Any other suggestions or stories from animal encounters?

Thanks
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Old 18 Oct 2010
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um, where will you be riding, at least give us a continent...

I'd say that in North America your biggest wildlife threat might be deer on the road, especially near dusk, and especially in the fall (I think).

Other members can probably give better info about bears, pythons, wombats, etc.
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Old 18 Oct 2010
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I'll also have to leave details of what to do about bears, pythons and wombats to others but my commonest encounter had been with dogs.

I've had them running out from farm gates, house entrances etc and it's one of the best reasons for wearing full length boots. MX types with various steel bits on the outside are pretty much bite proof!
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Old 18 Oct 2010
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well, yea deer are a problem in Europe as well, on the way to work I almost run in to one with my bike a few years back in the UK... around six a clock in the morning..., then another deer came across the road in Denmark in bright daylight... was a busy road and the deer tried to cross behind a car I was following... just a few inches before I run into this animal luckily turned around and I missed it... than beware of the Scottish highland cows if you travelling in Scotland on small country lanes... they tend to stay in the middle of the road just around a bend... don't you expect them to move... it's there lane...
Here in Germany we starting to get problems with wild hogs this days, lots of them around, even attacking walkers with there dogs along small wooded lanes and river banks...
so take care... it's a wild world out there...

ahh yea about dogs shooting out of farm gates... yea keep your boot ready to kick the bastards...
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Old 18 Oct 2010
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I've had a fox pinch the best part of my breakfast from under the flysheet in the lakes and seagulls reek havoc with my supplies in Glen Brittle, Skye, they'd pecked lumps out of my soap and punctured loads of tea bags......Sheep, hares and partridges all seem to enjoy a race and corners in the Highlands should be taken as though there's a herd of deer around them!!!
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Old 18 Oct 2010
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Australian mammals & Crocodiles

In Australia you need to be respectful of the animals and this means don't feed them. Why? it attracts the native animals until more and more animals come until they become dependent on human handouts, when this stops they starve and die. Don't feed them.

Keep you're food in a sealed container, possums especially can be very tricky, but so can Kangaroos and if in Tassie, keep all meats sealed containers up high, like in a tree.

As for Crocodiles, if you're in croc teritory, don't camp unless in designated areas. Better to be safe than sorry.

Kangaroos can be a big hazard and the best recommendation for dealing with them on the road is NOT to ride at dawn or dusk as this is when they are the most mobile.

I've seen a guy hit by a kangaroo, it isn't worth the risk, especially on a bike.

My best advice for dealing with dogs on the road (if you see them coming) is to slow down until the dog is quite close, get in a suitable gear ready to accelerate away just as you arrive at the height of the dog, fang it! Don't try to kick or swerve as you might unwittingly hit the dog and this could throw you and your bike off balance.

We hit a small black dog at 90km/h in Thailand, it bent my H&B engine bars, hit my foot, almost broke my big toe (and yes I had solid riding boots on). We were lucky it didn't cause an accident.
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Old 18 Oct 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motoreiter View Post
um, where will you be riding, at least give us a continent...

I'd say that in North America your biggest wildlife threat might be deer on the road, especially near dusk, and especially in the fall (I think).

Other members can probably give better info about bears, pythons, wombats, etc.
Actually, there are quite a few places in the US with bears. Obviously Alaska has them, and probably most of the states bordering Canada, but there's a huge bear population in western NJ (other states ship problem bears there for some reason), some in MA, NH, ME and VT too. We just encountered one a few weeks ago riding the Trans-Massachusetts Trail (blog post: [Offsite Meeting] And then there was the bear… | Corporate Runaways ) and last weekend we crossed a Bear Crossing sign on I-89 in New Hampshire. I wouldn't be at all surprised if there were many other wooded places in the US where you can run into a Bear.

The basic advice with bears is to make lots of noise so that you don't surprise them and they'll generally stay away. If you do find yourself face to face with one who seems displeased with your presence the next action depends a lot on the type of bear. I'm pretty sure, but not positive, that it's only with Grizzlies that you should actually do the "play dead" thing. With most of the other types you want to make yourself as large and imposing looking as possible and pray really hard.

In New England you also have to worry about Moose. Especially in mating season. They're not predators but they'll have no qualms about killing you if you're in the wrong place at the wrong time. I have no idea what the correct strategy is with them. A couple weekends ago there was one maybe thirty feet from our tent grunting to other moose that were milling about and mooing in the distance. Sadly, I slept through the whole thing whilst Dachary laid there scared out of here wits wondering what to do.

The owls sounded pretty cool just after sunset though.
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Old 19 Oct 2010
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I'm riding through the middle east - Turkey and Iran in areas where they have wolves / bears - in other places where they have vicious dogs

Love the fact that Owls sound cool after sunset :-)

Thanks Turbocharger for the advice on how to deal with dogs on the road, I will be wearing motorcross boots, hope this helps.

I'll also look out for the pesky seagulls!

Any encounters when camping?
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Old 19 Oct 2010
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Australia Animals on Road

Never ride after dusk or night or early morning. If in dry area, and rain showers, get green pick on roadsides, which attract 'roos and wallabies. Bird strike from eagles eating road kill is also something to be aware of out of city areas. Also need to be on lookout for emus, who run along side the road and are very unpredictable. I've been hit by birds taking off after drinking water in the potholes on the roadsides.

Be wary of "flat dogs" (crocodiles) in northern areas, although they are being reported further south each year on the east coast - some have been reported south of Fraser Island last summer. Dingoes and wild dogs can be a problem in alpine and desert areas outside of the dog fence.
In some areas, the roads are unfenced and cattle/horses/camels can wander at will. In cooler months they will sleep on the bitumen (tarmac?) as it has absorbed heat during the day. I have been lucky several times not to hit black angus cattle at night!
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Old 19 Oct 2010
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The most dangerous animals for the motorcyclist in N America are deer on the road.
More or less unpredictable and devoid of any traffic sense they can dart out into the road and flatten you .
They are more active during the hours of twilight and darkness , so don't ride at night !

When one crosses the road in front of you ,be vigilant for the second one that will rush over the road to catch up with it's pal .

Generally speaking ,if they are startled deer will run in the direction that their head is pointing ,but they will also veer across the road if they are already running .If that happens ,always aim for the arse end ,chances are that the deer will be gone by the time you reach that piece of road .
Always look out for bushes that provide cover ,because it's the ones you can't see that are the worst danger .

Moose are another danger because their coat hair is non reflective and they are virtually impossible to see at night until it's too late .They have slow reflexes and won't make any attempt to get out of your way .They are like a cow on stilts and twice as stupid .Once again ,don't ride at night !

These animals like to loiter on the side of the road to lick salt from the gravel that was used on the roads in the winter .
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Old 19 Oct 2010
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Ah, night riding. I've managed to avoid all the deer, elk, caribou and other grazing mammals....but in Texas I once hit a bat at speed. Made me appreciate my full face helmet, it did. On other occasions I've come near to crashing due to insect attack--in France once a population of biting ants crawled in through jacket vents and gaps, forcing me to stop and do a series of elaborate, frantic dances to get jacket and helmet off and squash the little guys. Yellowjackets and bees sometimes get unaccountably irritable when pinned inside a helmet....and there's that Dane I met who had been bitten by a scorpion while crossing a Central American border.

What was the question again? Something about bears? I don't worry much about bears, and on the evidence they don't worry much about me. I've had a few encounters while camping, but I've had far more damaging encounters with ravens, mice and raccoons. Keep a clean camp, don't share a tent with your food (or toothpaste), and try not to camp along riverbanks in the middle of wildlife corridors when in bear country. And if rebuilding your MSR stove on a picnic table, don't leave all the disassembled parts lying around where a raven with a sense of humor might scatter them in the snow, then perch nearby laughing at your attempts to find each essential o-ring, snap ring and jet.

Much overblown, this bear danger. People die from plague they catch from prairie dogs or hantavirus from mice droppings, and the other day I guy was killed by a mountain goat on a trail I've walked. If I let the fear of prairie dogs dictate my lifestyle I'd be a boring, fat old man.

Hope that helps.

Mark
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Old 19 Oct 2010
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Originally Posted by markharf View Post
Ah, night riding. I've managed to avoid all the deer, elk, caribou and other grazing mammals....but in Texas I once hit a bat at speed. Made me appreciate my full face helmet, it did. On other occasions I've come near to crashing due to insect attack--in France once a population of biting ants crawled in through jacket vents and gaps, forcing me to stop and do a series of elaborate, frantic dances to get jacket and helmet off and squash the little guys. Yellowjackets and bees sometimes get unaccountably irritable when pinned inside a helmet....and there's that Dane I met who had been bitten by a scorpion while crossing a Central American border.
The most dangerous animal I've encountered so far has been a monarch butterfly. Flew straight at me, hit my chest, was forced upwards into my full face helmet by the wind where it proceeded to flap its way up my cheek to my eyes while i was frantically digging in through my visor and trying not to hit the truck headed for me. ( I think it's dead now. ~ There's no way it's still healthy ~ It's not my fault though - masukomi's adventures ) I've got a better fitting helmet now, and always wear a buff on my neck.

There was also a flying ant that managed to sneak into my helmet when i took it off and crawled into my ear canal while riding. That was fun....

I've almost had a dog get my foot, but, other than insects the only thing I've killed is a water fowl of some sort that flew across the road at wheel height, then just as it passed in front of me, changed it's mind, attempted a 180 in the direction i was headed which brought it right in line with my front wheel, which ran right over it. Happened too fast to even figure out what it was before it was dead. Poor bird.
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Old 19 Oct 2010
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I've been bitten by dogs on the ankles a couple of times, one time I was in jeans and sneakers, it hurt quite a lot for such a small nip.

When camping now I keep pepper spray close, never needed it but it's so cheap so why not and I know the dogs will annoy me one day, I look forward to unleashing the fury when this happens.
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Old 19 Oct 2010
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Bears.

Wildlife in Canmore, Alberta - Grizzly bears & black bears
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Old 19 Oct 2010
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For animals in Turkey and Iran, I'd guess that your biggest risk would be the usual domesticated animals that strike fear into the hearts of motorcyclists while riding - cows, goats, sheep, dogs, etc. that are known to wander aimlessly into the road and can cause mucho damage when struck. Best avoidance tactic is to stay aware and ride slow through villages and the such.

While camping, probably not too much to fear from wild animals as the population has taken care of most of the edible ones. (Unlike good old B.C. where I ran down a perfectly good deer the other week (with a truck luckily) and a friendly bear tore the door off the shed recently to get at old pile of stuff that must have smelled something like food.)
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