Does anyone know of passive, enduring ways to deter Black Bears from entering an area? Hopefully an ecologically friendly way. The area is a homestead in forest with livestock and an extensive garden area and berry patches Thanks!
TL;DR: Block the bears so that they do no wander into the area, and don't leave anything in the area that smells good.
Block the area, essentially like a funnel
Funnels are used in hunting. Even if you're not hunting, the idea of directing animals where you want (and away from what you don't want) is still useful to you.
A funnel is any natural or man-made object, change in terrain or obstacle that “funnels” deer through a specific location. Here are a few of the most common “funnels” that you might find…
- Narrow stream crossings
- Fence rows
- Saddles or benches on a ridge
- Fence crossings
- Thin strips of heavy cover that cross relatively open land
The linked article is about dear, and when I Google the topic all the results seem to be about dear, but the concept is used elsewhere too.
The idea is not to create a barrier which is impassable by the animal. That is unlikely. The idea is merely to create an obstacle that the animal will avoid because defeating the obstacle is not worth it.
In your case, put up a fence, some bushes or trees, or anything else that blocks animals' entry and does not arouse their curiosity.
Do not give the animal a reason to enter
Do not keep anything in or around the area that would make the animal curious or interested in entering. A predator that hears sounds which could be prey may enter to verify the sound they hear. Anything that smells something good or which it associates with food is likely to do everything it can to defeat all obstacles.
If the bear thinks there is food in an area, then it will go to great lengths to acquire it, even at the risk of getting stuck in a closed dumpster. I've heard stories of it happening, and here is a video of it:
Do not eat in the area. Do not leave food in the area. Do not leave trash in the area. Do not cut aromatic types of wood in the area. Do nothing to cause animals to think that anything interesting could possibly be beyond your barrier.
If you must have something the bear wants, include something to scare it
If there is no way around it and the area definitely will include things that attract bears, then you need to scare them away.
If you are always personally available and are willing to slightly forego the "passive" requirement, you could install some security cameras to alert you to trespassers, then you can go out and scare the bear away yourself. Be careful not to put yourself in a compromising situation where the bear can get at you. This has the added benefit that it will help with all types of trespassers, even humans.
If you are not available to scare the bear personally, try dogs.
Black bears usually run away when dogs chase them. Even the smallest breeds of dogs have scared black bears away. However, bears learn to ignore dogs that are tied up or in pens. Ely researchers watched a yearling black bear forage and rest 100 yards from a dozen barking, tethered huskies.
So a small group of dogs would seem to be useful for this. Just be careful they don't run from the bear straight back to you and leave you face to face with the bear. Read the rest of the linked page for more info.
So keeping several dogs in the area and keeping the dogs contained by perimeter fences seems like the best way to go.
Whatever you do, do NOT spray the area with bear spray to use as a deterrent. That is not how it works.