Philmont Council Contingents

Campsite Layout
Bear Procedures

Bears          safe_bea.gif (5278 bytes)

Much information (and mis-information) has been circulated about bears at Philmont.  The summer of 2001 saw an increase in the number of bear incidents at Philmont -- this was brought on by a combination of weather factors (the area was extremely dry in the summer of 2000 which limited the food for the bears) and mistakes by campers.

Bears at Philmont are Black Bears and come in a wide variety of color phases including black, brown, and cinnamon (reddish or blond).  Black bears vary greatly in size and weight.  Adult bears may vary in weight from 125 to 450 pounds and male bears are usually larger than females of the same age.  When on all four legs, black bears measure about three feet high at the shoulders and when upright on their hind legs, they may approach five or six feet tall.  Black bears are known to live up to about 20 years of age in the wild.  They are very agile, are good swimmers, climb trees very well, and can run at speeds of up to 35 mph.

Philmont initiated very strict procedures to protect campers from bears.  When these procedures are rigorously followed, crews should not have to worry.  These procedures primarily relate to three general areas:

  • Campsite Layout
  • Bear Bag Use
  • Personal Procedures