A shocking bear prevention tool

The latest in a series of ecology-related articles by Recreation, Fish and Wildlife students at Selkirk College in Castlegar

Courtenay Ferguson (left) and Sarah Fassina are second-year Recreation

For a long time ranchers have been using electric fences to confine livestock so they won’t go looking for greener pasture. But how about keeping hungry predators out? With a similar system but with a stronger kick, electric fencing is now considered a more effective strategy to help us to keep hungry bears out of our backyards.

In the Kootenay’s, bears are a common sight especially to residents who have fruit trees or gardens. The problem here is that bears are becoming accustomed to these human-populated areas, knowing they will be able to get an easy meal. Whether you have animals, a garden or compost, electric fencing is a shockingly simple, cost friendly, and effective way to prevent and discourage bears from coming onto your property.

An electric fence can be set up as a permanent or temporary structure. A few posts in the ground and a couple of bare wires going from post to post and hooked up to an electrical source. The electricity can come from a battery, a regular electrical outlet, or even from a solar panel, which would be the most environmentally friendly option. The fence functions like an open circuit in which electric pulses are sent to the wires. The moment the bear touches a charged wire, the circuit closes and the animal gets shocked. Since bears are fast learners, you can be sure they’ll understand that it’s better to find food somewhere else than risk being shocked again.

This is an important point; bears will learn where to go and where not to go. Another option to deal with problem bears is to remove them. If you remove the problem bear, soon enough there will be another bear to take its place. Teaching a bear means you don’t have to worry about the problem returning, you have an educated resident bear that will keep any other new bears out of the area and keep them from going after what you have behind the electric fence.

A homemade electric fence is an investment of $350 to $500, depending on size, that is cost effective to protect our goods as well as the bears. It’s fairly straight forward to set up and relatively easy to maintain. According to Bear Aware and electric fencing specialist Gillian Sander, although it is relatively easy to set up, it is very important to install it properly.  An improperly installed fence will allow a bear to avoid the shock or provides an ineffective shock.  For this reason, help and advice are available from many of the electric fence suppliers as well as the Bear Aware experts in your area.

People are starting to change their attitudes towards dealing with wildlife, being proactive instead of reactive. Gillian feels folks in Creston and Kaslo have learned to automatically install an electric fence as soon as they decide to have fruit trees or animals. Bear Aware specialist Joanne Siderius offers electric fence loaners to Nelson residents so they can familiarize themselves with this system. Since electric fencing has demonstrated to be so effective and affordable, all the communities in the Kootenays should consider it as a realistic option to stop tempting the bears with our backyard succulents.

For more information and contacts visit www.bearaware.bc.ca where you will find a list of electric fence suppliers and easy-to-follow instructions on how to set up a functional electric fence.

Courtenay Ferguson and Sarah Fassina are second year Recreation, Fish and Wildlife students at Castlegar’s Selkirk College.

Just Posted

South Slocan woman killed in Friday crash

Police continue to investigate cause of fatal crash

Castlegar’s Stanley Humphries School’s got talent

Talent show to be held Feb. 21 at Brilliant Cultural Centre

What’s Up: Things to see and do on Family Day

There’s plenty of fun to be had across the West Kootenay this coming long weekend!

Province announces $23 million for upgrades at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital

West Kootenay-Boundary Regional Hospital District Board has yet to review the provincial proposal

Selkirk College Saints score pair of crucial wins

Stellar goaltending and timely goals lead to victory over the Vancouver Island University Mariners.

Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, resigns amid SNC-Lavalin furor

Butts categorically denies the accusation that he or anyone else in the PMO improperly pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould

Ammonia leak shuts down curling club in Nelson

It’s not yet clear when the leak was detected

Lost a ring? This B.C. man will find it for you

Chris Turner founded The Ring Finders, an international directory of metal detector hobbyists

Poverty coalition has high hopes for B.C. poverty reduction strategy

Funding allocation expected to be released with 2019 budget

East Kootenay mine deaths prompt safety initiatives

Teck produces educational video, introduces new procedures after contractor drowns at Fording River

‘How did we get here?’: B.C. mom of transplant recipient worries about measles outbreaks

Addison, 7, cannot get a live vaccine because she has a heart transplant

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for public inquiry over SNC-Lavalin questions

Vancouver member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last week

Canadian airlines waiting for guidance from Ottawa over X gender option

Major U.S. airlines said they will change their process so passengers can identify themselves along non-binary lines

Moose Hide campaign takes message to Canadian schools

Campaign launches new K-12 education platform

Most Read