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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!

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    Are you talking about a suburban or semi rural neighborhood, or about an area where you are camping? – ab2 Aug 27 at 16:24
  • Related previous question. – Weather Vane Aug 27 at 19:17
  • It's a homestead in forest with livestock and an extensive garden area and berry patches. – JKHolmes Aug 29 at 21:26
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Two parts.

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.

What is a funnel?

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
  • Valleys
  • 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:

Bear stuck in dumpster, later let out by sheriff deputies

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.

(from bear.org)

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.

Don't

Whatever you do, do NOT spray the area with bear spray to use as a deterrent. That is not how it works.

  • Thanks, but I was hoping for something a little more proactive - I know all the regular bear safety regarding camping about food and noise etc. This is to keep them away from a homestead with some livestock and a large garden area and hopefully berry patches nearby. It's situated in the deep forest where the bears are common, and we don't want them deciding that the homestead is a buffet for them. So something scent based or the like for area denial, I could always fall back on electric fences I suppose. – JKHolmes Aug 29 at 21:24
  • @JKHolmes Added a section to accommodate your situation. Scents might help at first, but I think the bear would eventually overcome that deterrent. Using something to force them out is probably the only way that will continue to work long term. So see the new section in my update; I think it's your best (and possibly only reliable) passive option, short of setting traps, but that comes with a whole new set of problems, including legal issues. – Loduwijk Aug 29 at 21:42
  • Dogs. Doh. Why didn't I think of that one? Dogs roaming the homestead with an invisible dog fence should work just fine. Thank you for the info, and for the kick start my brain obviously needed lol. That would also work for deer as well I'm thinkng... – JKHolmes Aug 29 at 22:01
  • @JKHolmes For deer, if they come to eat your berries, you could just eat them instead. – Loduwijk Aug 29 at 22:55
  • @JKHolmes Dogs should also help with other predators. I've been having problems with foxes and raccoons killing my chickens. If I got a guard dog, it could protect them. I refuse to get a dog though, so I've been reinforcing the chicken coop and trying to get them locked away every night before the predators come out. They keep getting in though, so my next upgrade will make the coop almost bunker-like and will block underground digging too. – Loduwijk Aug 29 at 22:59

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