Electric fencing is a relatively simple, cost-effective and long-term solution for protecting bear attractants that cannot be easily removed or otherwise contained. Temporary or permanent designs can be adapted to a variety of situations – chicken coops, beehives, fruit orchards, hunter camps, grain sheds, livestock enclosures, landfills, campgrounds and homes (see electric unwelcome mats) – and are relatively easy to maintain and economical to build. Solar-powered energizers have made it possible for electric fencing to be used in more remote areas where access to power may be unavailable. See photo examples of electric fencing.
“Electric fences have been the greatest achievement in terms of reducing chicken, beehive and sheep depredation.” — Mike Madel, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks
Electric fencing is a passive deterrent, in that it is working 24/7 – whether you’re around or not. Modern electric-fence energizers have been shown to be safe for children, pets and do not generate enough heat to start vegetation on fire.
Design, construction, maintenance and inspection will determine the effectiveness of an electric fence.
How the fence is grounded is an important consideration, but most crucial is the joule rating of the energizer. To effectively deter bears, you will need an energizer with a joule rating at least 0.7 and one that produces a minimum of 6,000 volts. Local vendors for electric fencing and technical assistance.
Bear Smart Durango assists county landowners with up to $100 in electric fencing materials and help with design and install, if needed. For more information on the Electric Fencing Incentive Program, go here.
The City of Missoula, Montana allows for residents to use electric fencing in deterring bears from beehives, fruit trees, livestock, compost, gardens and more. To see the ordinance go here.
More info on electric fencing to deter bears:
How to install an electric fence Youtube video courtesy of Russ Talmo, Defenders of Wildlife, Montana.
How to electric fence for bears Youtube video courtesy of Gillian Sanders, Grizzly Bear Solutions, BC, Canada.
Building a simple t-post electric fence Youtube video courtesy: Florida Fish & Wildlife.
- Living with Predators Resource Guide: Electric Fencing (pdf)
- Bear Aware BC: Constructing a Simple Predator Fence (pdf)
- Electric Fencing for Bears: Alaska Fish & Game
- Tahoe Bear Busters: Electric Fencing for Bears
- Florida Fish and Wildlife Electric Fencing Guide (pdf)
- Protecting Your Camp from Bears: Electric Fencing (pdf)
- Protecting Livestock from Predation with Electric Fencing (pdf)
- Premier 1 Supplies
“Electric fence systems work 24 hours a day; people, dogs and aversive conditioning rounds do not.” — Kevin Frey, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Grizzly Bear Management Biologist