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I am worried about bears and wolves when camping so I'm looking at portable electric fences.

Are they effective and more importantly just how dangerous are they?

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3 Answers 3

Are you sure this is a good idea at all? If you need an electric fence to keep animals from your camp, then (in my opinion!) you must have done something wrong. As for wolves, did you ever hear of a single case where wolves would attack a camp site? Bears are a different beast, but again: I suggest doing everything to prevent the situation, not to solve it with an electric fence. Don’t sleep where there might be bears. If you do, keep the traditional precautions – don’t keep the food at the campsite, don’t cook at the campsite, try to pick a place away from possible animal paths.

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I second the wolf comment. Wolves are 100% not a concern as far as I've ever heard. For bears, follow the above advice, and in major bear territory put your sleeping, cooking, and food storage (Bear hang or container) sites at least 100 yards from each other (a big triangle), with your tent being upwind from the food. I am curious whether anyone has used an electric fence, though. It doesn't seem necessary or particularly humane. –  Greg.Ley Mar 29 '12 at 21:43
    
It's not as simple as bear territory vs non-territory. Bear attacks have been seriously increasing in the area where I am going camping. The authorities are not dealing with it and the bears are wandering into populated areas. Do you honestly think that bear attacks are completely avoidable in this situation? –  Gil Mar 30 '12 at 11:04
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I don’t. I would simply not camp there. –  zoul Mar 30 '12 at 11:29
    
I am sorry but that's a non-answer and it does not belong here –  Gil Apr 7 '12 at 8:09
    
"You're doing it wrong and should best reconsider" is absolutely a valid answer, whether or not it is what you want to hear. –  Stephen Touset May 5 '12 at 2:19

Actually, electric fences with an attached alarm are pretty common when camping in Svalbard (lots and lots of polar bears). Yet, this unfortunately has the sole purpose of buying you some extra time to get your rifle and can only be considered the last of last resorts. Additionally the failure rate seems to be rather high.

In any case I don't think you'll need one in 'standard bear' country, just use common bear caution when setting up your camp and definitely pack your food in a bear canister. And those camping in polar bear country, well....

By the way I totally agree that wolves do not pose any threat at all (as long as you don't bring your pets).

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The alarm aspect is interesting. In some places where bear hangs and such are a challenge, I've seen people pile up pots and pans and such to make an "alarm." Works with small animals, too, but comes with a cost. –  Greg.Ley Apr 17 '12 at 21:33
    
I thought those were tripwire systems that set off bear bangers or similar pyrotechnics? They don't deliver an electric shock to the bear...? –  Roddy Jul 25 '12 at 15:15

They stop my horses and cows just fine. My chickens, not so much :)

In all seriousness, small critters will just get through, and could be as much of a nuisance as a bear.

Also, I'm not sure I'd want to test an electric fence against a bear. Remember, part of the effectiveness of the fence is the shock that deters - but bears can be pretty persistent when they really want something. Very few creatures tend to tell bears, "No".

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