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Bears in suburbia

1873 Views 10 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Santa Caras
Yesterday I was very surprised to see a huge mature black bear shuffling down my street and then disappeared into the neighborhood. My concern is that the bear may have smelled my hives and may return. My hives are located in the back yard which is surrounded by a five foot metal fence; can a mature bear climb a fence this high?
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They can and will! time for you to protect your investment and get an electric fence. Bear are very tenacious animals. You have to teach them that there are better places to forage and nothing teaches better than 10,000 volts of persuasion.
Sure, they can climb the fence. Black bears can climb trees when they're motivated to do so. Keep your eyes open and think about fencing them in as described above. I have a yard that I gave up on a couple of years ago. The owner kept telling me he would put up an electric fence but never did. I think I lost hives three times there before I pulled out. Once a bear figures out where the food is, they remember it and tend to come back.
5 feet of fence is nothing to a bear. Electric fences are mostly psychological in nature and are not physical barriers. My latest electric fence has the top wire at 36 inches. I don't have the 10,000 volts mentioned above but there is enough of a charge to make a bear think twice.
I've got a 15KV neon sign transformer here but that may be too much. A major problem here is that I also have two dogs and a cat that frequently visit the bee yard and as I recall an electric fence permit is nearly impossible to get in my town. Maybe I'll just start with a motion detector and a few ancient flash bulbs.

trottet- The bear probably wandered down from your area!
Electric Pence permit? I've never heard of such a thing. But then ​I don't live in NJ. Get yourself a regular fence energizer rather than MacGyver something together.
Pete, very possible. Its bear country by me. I used to like seing them. Then I started keeping bees.
I had to run an (extra) lower wire last year. A young bear was sneaking under my wire. I have a 20 mile charger on a 25 yard enclosure, so the "jolt" is substantial. It appears that once they get one pop, they're trained (30 years of experience, here).

The big resident boar is likely pushing 36" at the shoulder (three independent sightings said 4 feet - which I suspect is an exaggeration, but the "400#+" is probable).

Regardless, all the older resident bears seem to have learned that the taste of honey isn't worth the memory of getting knocked on their collective Be-arses, when they were younger. I have no doubt a wandering newcomer might go through it like butter, but it hasn't happened yet. The neighborhood dog pack alarms everyone when the bears are around, and "backup plans" (ie "bear medicine") let us all sleep with relative ease.
Andrew D- Here in north NJ one needs a permit to break wind.
>can a mature bear climb a fence this high?

I think they can just knock it down as they walk right through it...
an electric fence permit is nearly impossible to get in my town.
I've learned sometimes it's better to ask for forgiveness than permission! Sides? who's gonna complain? the bear?
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