I just learned how far a bear can smell and that means I may not be packing a lunch next time I go hiking in Wyoming.

Our weather is now officially decent enough to get our hiking habits back into action. Out of curiosity, I decided to do some research into how far bears can smell. My jaw dropped when I learned how powerful their noses really are.

I decided not to trust just one source for this information. Section Hiker estimates that some bears can smell an animal carcass from 20 MILES AWAY. Incredible. There's another pets website that states bears have the greatest sense of smell of any land mammal. They mentioned that it's not unusual for a grizzly to find a carcass UNDERWATER.

Yellowstone Bear World confirms the same 20 mile numbers about bear smelling abilities as stated above. They add that their capability is 1,000 greater than a human. I'm gonna take their word for that. Good tips also about sleeping at least 100 yards away from where your food is stored while camping and never wearing clothes you've cooked or eaten in while sleeping.

It gets even better. There's a harrowing bear story on Trip Advisor where a campground in Yellowstone had two bears who were attracted because they smelled this:

The bears then went into a tent that had some fruity flavored lip salve

Note to self: when you go hiking, be OK with having chapped lips.

The Wyoming Game and Fish "Bear Wise Wyoming" is a good read if you are new to bear country. I'm re-reading after my newly learned facts about how far away bears can smell me.