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Thread: Bear fence usage question

  1. #1
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    Default Bear fence usage question

    Doing a drop hunt for caribou this fall out of Happy Valley and have a question about how you guys setup your camp with electric bear fence(s). My first thought was to take 2 fences, one for around the tent and the second one for around a food/meat cache area. Or can I get by with one larger electric fence for everything ? That would mean the food/meat cache would be much closer to the tent.

    Thanks

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    I have one, taken it out on caribou drop camps, never used it. That being said, if you are going to use them, I would recommend you separate the meat away from the tent area. Since most of the food we take is Mountain House and we keep it in dry bags, we have not had a problem with bears trying to get into the food. Ground squirrels however is another story. If you feel the need, then get two.

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    Welcome Husker! Good to have you on the forum. I am a grad from UNK (wrestled there) and coached in O'Neill for many years before coming to ALaska.

    From My experience and my hunting clients a bear fence is a source of comfort. I have not had any bears come into any of my groups camps is 12 years. Noe that does not mean that they wound but just not to date. If you choose to take a fence take just one and use it around what you want to protect. Some guys fence in their tent some kitchen and some fence in the meat. The real key is keep a clean camp and place your kitchen away (down wind) from where you sleep. Keep your raft clean, hang your meat away from camp but with in sight of your camp and enjoy!


    Have a great hunt!


    Walt
    Northwest Alaska Back Country Rentals
    Unit 23-Kotz
    Drop camps and Float hunts
    www.northwestalaska.net

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    Having never camped in bear country before, the electric fence will allow us to sleep better.

    Walt,
    Problem is I want to protect both the tent and the food/meat area and I have read that it's better to keep the food/meat area well away from the tent. How far away I'm not sure. Will one large electric fence be good or better to have 2 ?

    Thanks for the responses,
    Dan

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    Member Steve H.'s Avatar
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    I guess I can weigh in cause I was born and raised in Blair and have electric fence experience.

    I use them in heavy concentration brownie areas and probably sleep better. When you see dozens of bears in a trip you'll be glad tyou had it. That said, I go and have gone many places in this state without anything but a longbow and a quiver full of arrows. Its all about 'where/when".

    You would need two chargers to pull off what you mentioned. Avoid the "tape" as its a mess. get the wire that look like bailing twine. I suggest at least 6 poles around any enclosed area. I have the charger, forget the brand but I think it is .035 or is it .0036 joules.

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    Member Steve H.'s Avatar
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    The fencers like I have will do a MUCH larger area than just a camp or meat cache. Seems like it is good for dozens plus acres. At some point too many fence posts and wire will make it easier for you to just have two fences.

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    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    put a tent out in the ghetto and sleep there a couple nights...bear country will feel like a paradise island!!
    Www.blackriverhunting.com
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    I guide float fishing trips in AK each summer. There are plenty of bears along the river. For years we never used a bear fence, however, we chose our campsites carefully, kept a clean camp, kept any thing with odors out of tents and put food in secured coolers or other containers every night, this was always stored a short distance from our tent sites. Occasionally we had bears in camp during the night but never had any problems. About 3 years ago we started using a bear fence enclosure around our food supply...still no problems to date so the fence itself goes untested. The only concern that I have ever had was whether or not the fence was activated once I flipped the switch before retiring at night, but I have since had recommendations on how to test that.

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    akberger makes a good point, its hard to tell just how effective the fence is unless you see a bear mess with it, as stated before its mostly just for mental reasons.
    i've guided for 15 years with no bear ever touching my tents or food, my secret weapon is my boots, i never have a campsite without them and so far no bear problems...i think thats whats saving me. other secret, ipod, can't hear any weird noises out side, you'll fall asleep and no longer be thinking about it.
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    My "secret weapon" is Ambien, at least when I can't sleep. Sometimes my partner will ask me in the morning if "I heard that bear in camp last night" and you already know my response. I guess having my .416 tucked in beside me is also my false sense of security, but honestly we do rely on best practices when camping bear country just like the seasoned veterans responding to this thread.

  11. #11

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    Can't answer your question about the bear fence as I just bought one last year after a brown bear decided he didn't like my tent and broke two of the poles. No food in the tent, just sleeping bag and pad. This was on a hunt on the haul road and I heard the guys talking on the CB about a brown bear destroying someone's camp, just didnt realize it was mine until I got back! So now I have a bear fence to try out this summer/fall, $400 is a bit more than a new tent but seeing as I had to sleep in the cab of the truck that night and was sore for the next three days I think it will be worth every penny!

    Steve

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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    I use a small compact one that uses 4 d cell batteries. I used it mostly in Colorado when I rented horse and took them back for a month. I used the fence to keep them out of my sweetfeed and hay.

    We used it this year in the brooks. We put it around our meat. I don't think that the bears came into camp - they stayed 400-600 yards away (where the caribou gut piles were). We killed two 7' Griz and there was another there that was much bigger judging by his prints.

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    HH,
    To do what you are asking you would be better & probably easier to do with two fences. If it were me I would just use one & put it around your most important items ... the tent & bags, /action packers with your food etc... camp.
    Keep your meet within eyesight but I am more willing to take a chance on sacraficing some meat if I bear really wants it. I have done this on the slope & kodiak & feel better knowing when I leave for the day the tent will still be there when I return. One trip on the Ivishak about 10 yrs ago we had gotten more than 1/4 mile from camp when we saw a spot by the tent. Came back yelling to find the curious bear had flipped over our inflatable & put a few claw holes & tooth marks on the front. But this was prior to fences even be used, so not much we could have done. It brings the question like you asked though, how many fences are enough.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by HuskerHunter View Post
    Having never camped in bear country before, the electric fence will allow us to sleep better.

    Walt,
    Problem is I want to protect both the tent and the food/meat area and I have read that it's better to keep the food/meat area well away from the tent. How far away I'm not sure. Will one large electric fence be good or better to have 2 ?

    Thanks for the responses,
    Dan
    Hey Dan -sounds like a fun hunt!

    Like ekberger I have spend several summers on salmon streams - doing fish research instead of guiding and our permanent camp had frequent visitors. Blackies almost nightly, some in the day, and every once and a while I'm sure some brown bears strolled by while we were catching some Zzzz's.

    Our enclosure consisted of plastic posts that were anchored in the soil and we had ran about 4 or 5 strands (has a metal strand for conducting elect.). Here's the fancy part. Most fences say to run one lead to a grounding rod and the other to a continuous strand of "hot" wire that encircles your camp. My coworkers and I ran the one to the ground, but also connected a strand to the ground so that there were both ground and "hot" wires suspended on the plastic posts.

    I believe that our version works better than the recommended version - especially on loose or dry soils or gravel. It could be more difficult for a large amount of current (big jolt to bear) to travel a great distance through semi-conductive ground than it would be for the current to travel along two parallel wires. We tried to cut out the middle man (earth). We used a single charger called "Horse Power Fence Charger" or something like that and it worked well on 2 D cell batteries. It was bright green. Our "bear proof" zone was probably around the 6,000 square foot area, possibly a little less since it was roundish in parts and not a perfect rectangle. It worked very well and we heard many a bear charge away into the brush after bumping the fence, and actually were able to see one sniff the fence and decide not to test it - maybe a return customer?

    If only for a few nights keeping meat inside a large enclosure in the field might be feasible - it depends on what type of camping spot you choose. On my personal trips (no bear fence) I try to position the tent a ways away from the goodies but facing it so that I can peek out from the safety of my sleeping bag and check periodically. Also putting noisy things - pots and pans - on top so that they might fall over if the meat is disturbed is another way to alert yourself. Who knows - might scare the bear away before it eats anything.



    hop the fence.jpg

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    Thanks everyone for all the good information and advice. I don't think I will be overweight on the gear, so I will plan on taking 2 fence setups. Cost isn't bad either since I will be building these myself. Can't wait to visit your great state this fall.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BRWNBR View Post
    akberger makes a good point, its hard to tell just how effective the fence is unless you see a bear mess with it, as stated before its mostly just for mental reasons.
    i've guided for 15 years with no bear ever touching my tents or food, my secret weapon is my boots, i never have a campsite without them and so far no bear problems...i think thats whats saving me. other secret, ipod, can't hear any weird noises out side, you'll fall asleep and no longer be thinking about it.
    Funny thing is I know one guide that had bear issues in the ak range and the funny thing is he was the only one I knew that used a fence...lol

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    i heard bears like the buzz lickin' the fences gives them....
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    Default Bear fence usage question

    Where's Stidman and his bear track pictures!?!?!?!?!?
    We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed

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    Quote Originally Posted by BRWNBR View Post
    i heard bears like the buzz lickin' the fences gives them....

    Lol....

    On a serious note though one of the first camps I worked in on the peninsula also tried one around the meat house and it did not work. Bear went right through.. I think if they want what you got they are gonna take it or at least give it their best...

  20. #20
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    Takes less energy to go through the fence than back up off it. Dribble a little fish oil on the wire so the nose touches first and your OK.
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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