Unwelcome Mats

Commonly used for vacation or second homes – or other areas where people are away for extended periods of time – unwelcome mats cause instant pain when a bear attempts to walk over them to reach a door or window. They are also often used in deterring a specific problem bear. Despite their menacing appearance, properly constructed unwelcome mats do no permanent damage to the pads of bears. The objective is to cause enough pain for a bear to abandon its approach – not to injure the bear.


“After a bear broke into my place on July 1st, (the night I moved in), I followed the instructions on your website on how to build unwelcome mats.  They’ve been very successful and I haven’t had a bear break-in since.  Thanks again.” – Rafter J resident, 2017



unwelcome mat










Unwelcome mats are basically boards, typically plywood, full of upward-pointing nails or drywall screws placed in front of doors and windows to discourage bears from entering buildings. They are simple and inexpensive to make. Safe, effective bear unwelcome mats are easily constructed from materials, plywood and nails or screws, available from your local Hardware or Farm and Ranch supply stores. They must be constructed to specific guidelines – key is spacing and height of the nails – as the point is to deter bears, not to injure them.

Instructions for building an unwelcome mat (pdf)












Another tool in the electric fencing for bears toolbox, electric unwelcome mats are basically wire mats that are electrified to effectively deter bears from entering sheds, doors and windows, accessing freezers in garages or to keep bears from entering homes. They work by by delivering a short, non-lethal, deterring shock when the bear steps on it. These are typically wire mesh fencing panels that are electrified and placed on a rubber mat.

Instructions for constructing an electric unwelcome mat (pdf)



Watch video of an electric unwelcome mat in use on a grizzly bear to protect a chest freezer courtesy Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.



Watch video of an electric unwelcome mat in use on a black bear courtesy of Bear Busters in Lake Tahoe.







Banner photo courtesy: Kevin Wright, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Aspen, CO
Unwelcome mat photo courtesy: Linda Masterson
Videos courtesy: Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and Bear Busters, Lake Tahoe, CA