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Discussion in 'HortForum' started by Sundrop, Jul 19, 2011.
Have a bear picking all the fruit in my garden. Any ideas?
An electric fence will do the job.
Nice! Likely to be a Black Bear. Get some photos!
Keep any dogs indoors while it is around.
An electric fence in my garden settings is not a practical solution.
Do you have a garden Michael? Probably not a fruit garden. Flower garden? How would you feel if someone/somebody consistently picked up all your flowers before they unfolded and were ready to enjoy? Would you consider it nice, too?
For the North Shore, but links and resources should be relevant to your situation as well: Bear Awareness
Well...you're gardening in bear country, and don't want/can't have an electric fence; if you're rural, you might consider that it's converted your flowers and fruit into meat, and harvest accordingly. Black bear's quite tasty...a lot like pork. Can't really see any other solution for you, other than those already suggested. Maybe a dog would help.
Another resource from the Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management ("a non-profit, grant funded site that provides research-based information on how to responsibly handle wildlife damage problems"): Black Bears
We have bears that visit to eat apples from the tree that came with the property we have on the Sunshine Coast. I think it is very important to remove this fruit as soon as it is ripe or preferably before. I have avoided planting any other fruit trees on the property. If you are in bear country and cannot protect the garden with fencing, it is better not to grow food. Bears will become habituated to this food and thus habituated to human closeness. It creates a dangerous situation for you and your neighbors.
Dogs are also a big danger in bear country. No dog could defend itself from a powerful bear. Dogs have been known to provoke bears then flee when they attack. The scared dog runs home or back to the campsite followed by an angry bear. Not a good situation.
Although a rare occurrence, a woman was killed by a black bear in BC this year and a man was recently mauled by a grizzly. These are powerful animals that should be treated with respect.
I'm curious why an electric fence is not practical in what must be a fairly rural setting. I use an electric fence every year in a city lot in Burnaby. I set it up only when racoons start to damage the fruit that needs to be protected, typically sweet cherries and grapes. It consists of three strands of wire on temporary wooden stakes that surround the area of interest to the racoons. For a cherry tree, the fence only needs to surround the trunk of the tree a few feet away, using only 4 stakes. For a bear, two strands, or possibly a single strand, of wire would work. The fence is electrified through a simple timer that turns it on only during the night. The local cats, including our own, quickly learn to avoid or jump over the fence. A bear fence would be high enough that cats would be able to just walk under it. The fence is removed as soon as the fruit has been harvested, so it's present for only a short period of time.
Thank you all for your advice.
I decided to try a gentle persuasion method to make the bear feel reluctant to come here. Placing several welcoming mats (http://www.bearsmart.com/becoming-bear-smart/home/bear-deterrents) in strategically chosen spots and a motion detector making noise and flashing lights upon activation are part of the plan. I also think the advice to place outside a battery operated radio tuned to the CBC (they broadcast all night) turned on every second or third night, so the bear will not become accustomed to the sound, is a good one. Have also a little container of Wolf urine, which, I was told, is very effective in keeping bears at a distance. With all those tools (and one more I don't want to tell about here, because it could be misused) I consider myself well armed for the battle. The only problem now is my neighbour, who has lured the bear to this area with his garbage in the first place, and now says that the bear doesn't bother him, he just claps his hands when he sees it and the bear goes, and that he has the same right to keep his garbage where he pleases as I have to grow a garden. I don't know about the rights, but I believe we often talk too much about our rights and not at all about our responsibilities.
It is a fairly rural setting!
I already have a double fencing, both fences designed to keep animals (other than bears) away. I have never had a bear problem until a new neighbour mowed in next door.
First I put a fence around my edible garden to keep deer, elk, cats and dogs away. After deer started to jump over that fence I added another fence, taller and stronger, around about 1/3 of my property. That allowed me to expand my edible garden and start creating a "forest garden" or may be rather "a garden in a forest". I planted berry bushes and a peach tree inside the new fence but outside of my old edible garden. Inside of my new fence there are many native shrubs and trees growing now together with my berries and the Peach. My berry bushes don't grow in one spot, they are planted here and there to create a natural like settings. My new fence runs among trees and bushes and can't be electrified effectively without clearing up the shrubbery and the trees it runs through. May be this explains why I considered putting an electric fence rather not as an option for me. The way you put your little fences gives me "a food for thought" though.
Here are two pictures of my second fence that may give you better idea about the settings. Now the trees and shrubs along the fence are even bigger. Could you post some pictures of your fences, Vitog?
I think you should report your bear and neighbor to the local Conservation Officer.
I already did. They brought a trap here. On the picture you can see my bear's "business card" (bottom-right) he placed a couple of meters from the trap, probably to show his respect for it.
Sundrop, since you already have a fence around your garden it would be very easy to add a couple of strands of electrified wires to it. All you have to do is nail a couple of plastic insulators maybe 2 and 4 ft from the ground on the outside of each fence post and then run your wire in a single continuous run. You might have to experiment a bit to find the most effective configuration, and I would expect it to be broken by the bear's reaction the first time or two. The wires are easily repaired by just tying in a bridging piece where the break occurs. The bear would soon learn to stay away from the electric wires. You would probably have to prune back the foliage around the fence to avoid wires' touching it. Any contact between foliage and electrified wires drains power from the electric fence. Note that electric fences are usually designed for a mile or more of wire, so you can add as many strands of wire as you want.
I don't have any photos of my fence; and it won't be up until the grapes are ripening, which will be really late this year. Anyway, it's very simple and not much to look at, just a series of stakes with nails in them to support the wires. It's only two feet tall for racoons, and I don't use the plastic insulators even though I have a boxful. I've been using the same power unit for over 30 years, and it had been used for quite a while before it was given to me.
I lived on a 30 acre blueberry farm in Port Coquitlam (north/east) with an apple and pear orchard. We had FIVE male bears that lived on the property and they would not leave no matter how much noise or abuse we sent their way. They got drunk on fermented pears and slept in a cedar grove about ten meters from the front door.
Any-how, conservation would have nothing to do with relocating or setting traps on our farm. They were understaffed and "had no time" they said.
The black bears in this case posed no danger. There were no sows. They were just annoying and damaging to the fruit trees.
Did you know that bears "hiss" like a cat when you scold or taunt them?
I wonder if a bear is removed from an area whether or not another will take over its territory? We have had a "regular" for the past few years who will run when the dog barks. I think that it is a male as there are never any cubs along and we co-exist as I am concerned that he may be replaced by a sow plus cubs.
A word of warning - never to stand under a tree after treeing a bear as not only do they hiss they also urinate. I had a very surprised and rather smelly black lab last year!
Your neighbour seems to be as much a problem as the bear. Has the conservation officer spoken to him? I understand that Whistler has no garbage pickup in order because of bears being attracted to problem garbage "putter-outers".
We have problems with racoons taking the grapes and they will not back down when challenged. I also fear that they might have been responsible for the loss of my cat.
Have no suggestions to add as all of mine have already been covered.
Up on the North Coast we play CBC radio to keep the bears at bay.
There is something about Jian Ghomeshi that Grizz hate, I don't know if it will work on Black bears but its worth a shot and it's free.