5 Smells That Repel Bears & 5 Smells That Attract Bears

Categorized as Camping Tips

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When you’re out in the woods for the very first time these questions are very general – how to keep bears away from the campsite? How to keep mosquitoes away? The list of such questions is too long.

Can we do something about this wildlife? No, we can’t because the earth is not only for human beings. Our mother earth has no such discrimination. If you’re reading this article then you have some fear of bears. Let’s respect their own freedom and we ourselves take some precautions so that they don’t bother us,

I have a separate article on how to keep black bears away from the campsite? So today we’ll only talk about the smells that repel bears and the smell that attracts bears. If you’re aware of such smells then you can camp or hike safely from the fear of bears.

I can’t guarantee you that only smells are enough to protect you entirely because even mosquitoes have developed some immune to sprays and smell as time passes. But yes these will help you to not get caught easily by them.

Smells that repel bears
Janko Ferlic from Pexels thanks for this beautiful photo

Table of Contents

Smells that deter or repel bears

Bears have a divine nose which is very powerful in recognizing any type of smell. If they can smell their favorite scents effortlessly then they also will smell the scents that they ain’t fond of.

Let’s trigger such smells and use them to repel bears.

  • Neem oil seems to contain something that bears don’t like.
  • Bears don’t like the smell of anything that has a pine scent. Use pine sol or pine oil to repel bears. If you’re using pine sol then mix 1 cup pine sol with 1 cup of water inside a spray bottle. If you’re using pure pine oil as a bear repellent then mix 6 to 8 drops of pine oil to every cup of botter you have inside a spray bottle. 
  • Spray the prepared pine oil solution inside your garbage, spray it on a cloth attached to your backpack and place a sprayed cloth near your food, and also spread some solution outside your tent.
  • Soak a cloth in cider vinegar or ammonia and hung it on the windows and doors of your tent, RV, car, etc.
  • The smell of Lysol also repels bears.
  • Bear pepper spray can be used to defend yourself from the bear. Please don’t use a strong spray because bears are also alive and they also cry and feel pain. Use any type of spray only when you don’t have any other option left to defend yourself.

Smells that attract bears

The list of some smells that are very attractive to bears:

  • Your remaining meal
  • Perfume
  • scents
  • Deodorants
  • Garbage
  • Any that has a sharp odor like fragrance soap, clothes, etc.

Read the FAQs for Extra Bears Safety

Does bug spray attract bears?

It depends on the spray you’re using. Generally, the bug spray that has a good odor seems to attract bears.

Does picaridin attract bears?

According my information bears have no interest in DEET or picaridin.

Does citronella attract bears?

All citronella products have a strong scent which can attract bears. You may be using citronella to mosquitoes but if you’re in Black Bear Country then please don’t do the mistake of using citronella.

Are bears attracted to mint?

Yes, bears are attracted to mint. The wardens of many state parks suggest not have mint gum or mint toothpaste in your tent because bears can smell it and go for it which may cause trouble for you.

Does human poop attract bears?

Both urine and poop are known to attract bears so keep your bathroom a little away from your campsite. Use the leave no trace method to be safe from attracting bears.

Can bears smell fear?

The record shows that bears have no problem with your fear but black bears can attack for any reason. So don’t do any mischievous thing near a black bear. At last, fear is not a solution to any problem. Keep your mind calm in such a situation and find a way to get away from the eyes of angry bears.

Can bears smell packaged food?

Bears have a great nose that can smell anything no matter how packed it is. So the best is to keep all your food far from your tent.

Can bears smell water?

If the water bottle is not kept near food then you don’t have to worry but if a person is eating and drinking water from the bottle at the same time then it can attract bears as the water bottle now has some scent of food.

How strong is a Bears smell?

Bloodhounds have a 300 times better sense of smell than dogs. A bear sense of smell is 7 times better than the bloodhounds.

Can bears smell menstruation?

This question is not yet completely answered since 1988. However, there is no evidence that bears are attracted to menstrual odors. According to a report of Yellowstone National Park, In 1983 the free-ranging polar bears detected and consumed food scent samples and used tampons, and ignored non-menstrual blood and unused tampons. This shows that polar bears seem to attracted to the odor related to menstrual blood. But this is not so with the bears that roam in North America.