Think Twice Before Trying This Pee Hack For Keeping Animals Away

If you are preparing to spend time camping in the backcountry, you may have gotten some tips from others on how to stay safe from predators during your time out in the wilderness. Unfortunately, while there is plenty of good information out there about how to avoid bears, mountain lions, and wolves in the wild, there are also plenty of myths being spread alongside it. One particular myth that needs to be dispelled is the belief that peeing in and around your campsite will "mark your territory" and keep predators away. Unfortunately, according to Backpacker, this is not true, and new information points to the fact that peeing at your campsite might draw predators to you instead of scaring them off.

This was discovered by one Redditor who explained on the camping forum of the website that their friend once made the mistake of peeing next to her tent only to wake up to find a wolf had come into her camp and sprayed over the urine during the night. The camper then had to spend "the next day cleaning wolf spray off her tent in a river." While this is a funny story, it can be an eerie feeling waking up knowing that a large predator was right outside where you were sleeping. So, what is it about human pee that attracts predators in the first place?

Theories on why pee sometimes draws predators

While the presence of human urine will not always bring a predator to your campsite, there are a few theories for why the scent may seem interesting enough for them to stop by. Firstly, certain predators, like bears, are naturally curious and may simply want to check out a new smell in their territory. Also, human urine contains high levels of minerals and salt which has been known to attract wild animals, including bears and mountain lions that may ingest the urine to make up for minerals they are lacking in their diet.

However, overall, whether or not a predator is attracted to human pee seems to depend on a lot of factors that we don't yet understand, including the person's diet, the presence of other predators in the area, and the time of year. So, to be safe, the best option is to always relieve yourself away from your campsite — but how far away is far enough?

The National Park Service typically recommends picking a bathroom area around 200 feet or 75 paces away from your camp. Some other websites also suggest further distances of around 100 yards. However, no matter where you choose, you should always make sure you know the way there and back and can reliably navigate the journey at night.

Other ways to keep predators away from your campsite

Besides making sure that your bathroom is far away from your campsite, in order to keep yourself safe in the backcountry you also need to be careful about food storage and preparation. While most people know about the importance of bear canisters and proper food and garbage storage while in bear country, many don't know that you should not prepare or eat your food at your campsite. Instead, the NPS recommends that you make a separate cooking and eating area around 100 feet from both your campsite and any water source. This will ensure that any lingering cooking smells are far away from your sleeping area in case any curious critters stop by.

You should also always carry bear spray while hiking through bear country and research the area before you leave to fully understand what other predators you may encounter. This is important because what you should do if you run into a wolf in the wild versus running into a bear is very different and it's important to be prepared for different scenarios.

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