Bear deterrents such as rubber bullets, bean bag rounds, noisemaker and flares, livestock guardian dogs and motion-activated lights and alarms have had success in certain applications, while electric fencing has proven the most effective tool in keeping bears out of most anything.
As bears climb trees with great ease, common backyard fences are not bear deterrents. Watch a YouTube video of a bear climbing a fence near Wolcott, Colorado.
Passive deterrents (such as electric fencing, unwelcome mats and motion-activated alarms) automatically provide negative feedback to bears when they approach your property or specific attractants – chicken coops, bee hives or fruit trees. Unlike other deterrents, they are always working. Others are manually deployed (bear spray, rubber bullets, and noisemakers) to deter or temporarily modify unwanted bear behavior.
Deterrents can be effective with certain bears, and in certain instances, but tend to be wholly ineffective while a food source remains – with the exception of electric fences and the like. Although bears can become accustomed to certain types of deterrents over time, such as motion-activated lights and alarms, efforts can allow time for the food attractant to be removed.
OTHER BACKYARD DETERRENTS
Never put yourself in harm’s way, but the more stressful a bear’s encounter with you is, the the less likely it is to return. A simple recommendation to discourage bears from lingering in your yard is to have a pail of rocks that you can throw. Other deterrents include:
• Critter Gitters: motion and heat-activated alarms that emit a high-decibel alarm, with flashing lights. Available on amazon.com
• Scarecrows: motion-activated sprinkler system that attaches to garden hoses to chase off unwanted visitors. Available on amazon.com
• Yelling and banging on pots and pans
• Boat air horns
Unwelcome mat photo courtesy: Linda Masterson
Electric unwelcome mat photo courtesy: Kevin Wright, Colorado Parks and Wildlife