By now, the bears have woken up, yawned, scratched their bellies, and emerged from their den. And boy are they famished. So, be bear aware and be safe — for your sake and the bear’s. We checked various sources and have compiled a bare-bones (sorry, couldn’t help ourselves) list of safety tips and products – like bear electric fencing and bear spray – for anyone who lives, works or plays in bear country.
Never Used Electric Fencing Before?
Bear electric fence can be used to keep bears away from orchards, gardens, beehives, livestock and garbage. It can also be used as an added safety measure when backcountry, car or RV camping. It can also be overwhelming if you’ve never used it before. Here is an article by Gallagher that talks more about bear electric fence as a precautionary tool.
Farmers and ranchers – and Murdoch’s store associates, for that matter – are pretty good at keeping animals where we want them. We’re happy to help you figure out the right bear electric fence for your particular needs. Remember that this is a deterrent, not a replacement for good bear safety practices.
For setting up a packable or portable backcountry electric fence, we recommend:
- 1 portable battery electric fence energizer
- electric fence turbo tape
- a ground rod
- pigtail posts
- If you’re backpacking, you’ll also want 6 heavy duty D cell batteries to power the electric fence energizer. The portable battery electric fence energizer will also run off of a 12-volt deep cycle rechargeable battery, but you don’t want to pack a car battery around.
For a more permanent, accessible electric fence, we recommend:
- a ground rod
- insulators (a variety of styles will work, but here is our pick)
- turbo wire (you’ll have to pick a roll size that works for the square footage you need)
- solar energizer (this particular one will work for a 10×10 fence – anything bigger and you’ll want a stronger energizer)
We also recommend reading this great guide, put together by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks:Download Starter Guide to Bear Electric Fencing
How to be bear safe
- Don’t hike alone or at dawn or dusk. Try to hike in groups of three or more.
- Be on the lookout for fresh tracks, scat, tree claw marks and overturned rocks. Stay away from animal carcasses.
- Make noise, especially when walking through dense growth, near loud streams, or going upwind. Sing, clap, wear a bell, recite a poem (or prayer) – whatever works for ya!
- Don’t leave packs, food and beverages unattended. Store them safely (garbage too) in bear-proof containers, or in a secure shed or garage. A bear’s sense of smell is 100 times stronger than a dog’s. Check out the Yeti video below.
- If backpacking or camping outside a campground, set up your cooking/eating area at least 100 yards downwind from your tent site.
- Carry a good can of bear spray. Check the expiration date if you’ve had it awhile.
- Practice removing the bear spray from the holster and know how to trigger it. According to one study, bear spray is more effective than a gun in stopping a charging bear. Here is a 2012 Missoulian article that gives more details about the study.
What to do if you meet a bear
- If a bear sees you, retreat slowly and leave the area.
- Do not run. The fleetest person on Earth cannot outrun a bear.
- If a bear stands on two legs, it could likely be trying to sniff out the area. It is not necessarily a sign of aggression.
- Take your bear spray from the holster and remove the safety tab. Don’t keep it in a pack.
- If a bear charges, stand your ground. The bear is likely to stop or veer away in a bluff charge. Again, do not run.
- Use your bear spray when the bear is about 30-40 feet from you. Aim slightly downward and spray in a side to side motion. You want to put a cloud of spray between you and the bear.
- More info
Make tracks to Murdoch’s
In addition to electric fencing you’ll need these two products:
- Our Frontiersman Bear Attack Deterrent Spray is the most potent formula available, and it comes with a hip holster. Best bear spray bar none. You can get it at most Murdoch’s stores – not online.
- Our YETI Tundra coolers are extremely bear-resistant. Tested by frustrated adult grizzlies, these indestructible YETI coolers can withstand smashing, bashing, prying, biting and tossing – everything a bear can dish out.
Additional bear safety resources
Okay, have fun out there! And remember, bears don’t like to be scared or provoked any more than humans do. Let’s all get along!