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Thread: When leaving your cabin, what's the best way to keep bears out?

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    Default When leaving your cabin, what's the best way to keep bears out?

    When leaving your cabin for 3-5 days at a time, what is the best way to keep bears out? My brother says to put a bed of nails on plywood by all points of entry.

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    Member polardds's Avatar
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    If the bears want in they will get in. Minimize food smells inside. I love my electric fence.

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    Member polardds's Avatar
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    Default Bear and Fence Pics

    RCX_0083.jpgRCX_0080.jpg
    Couldn't edit my post so here area few pics. See the Fence, see the bear!

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    Polardds, what are you using to power your fence? Is it a livestock charger or something with more kick? I was wondering how well it works and if it's bear proof or just a deterrent.

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    Think of a electrical fence as a no trespassing sign. Most people will stay out and others will not. If a bear want to break in the fence will not keep him out. I would use the nails

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    A deep-cycle car battery should hold over an electric fence for a couple days. A lot of people hook up a solar panel to a trickle charger and keep it charged for several months.

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    Member polardds's Avatar
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    It is a solar charger. The bears don't understand electricity. Yes, MacGyver I agree if the bear wants in he will get in. I recommend using both nails and the fence. The nails don't always work either. A couple of years ago a bear got int a friends cabin on Lake Creek. It was a bad salmon year and a bad berry year. There were bloody bear prints everywhere. If they are hungry they will find a way.

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    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm...rticles_id=513

    This was written by ADF&G a couple of years ago after a large number of cabins north of Trapper Creek got busted into by bears. A lot of people have had success with electric fences. Minimizing any easy food rewards helps too -- make sure the burn barrel, BBQ or trash pit doesn't have leftover goodies. That might help discourage bears from coming back to your yard and then working on your cabin the next time.

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    A neighbor has used a bear fence for 15 years and never had a break-in. I use a bear fence too; a Parmak Mag 12 volt powered off my 12 volt solar system. 5000 Joules of power in pulses. It can be used from inside or when leaving. Has been known to knock an unbelieving 'young male' on his backside He would not touch it again no matter how many beers he drank.
    Have been told of using pepper spray cans, or starting fluid, wiped with sent to give them a face full.

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    i buddy said a old timer, told them to put pine sol on your doors every spring and non of us have had a problem yet. and on years of a lot of activity we us nail boards also

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    Spread mothballs all around the area. Heard it works well. Years ago came upon a stash in a valley and the whole area was scattered with them. Was pretty obvious and would have been attractive to any bears that passed by. Tracks were within 10 yards on a trail yet none around the stash...might be worth trying
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    Quote Originally Posted by cabin goer View Post
    i buddy said a old timer, told them to put pine sol on your doors every spring and non of us have had a problem yet. and on years of a lot of activity we us nail boards also
    +1, I learned this from an elder in Naknek.
    I use Pinesol around hanging meat and never have had a bear issue in the 20 years I have used it. Wait, I have never had a bear issue WHEN I used the Pinesol. I also sprinkle it around the tent and gear. Have seen lots of tracks, but no attacks.
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    Remoteness, karma, common sense deterrents...

    If you have a cabin in an area with lots of cabins and people periodically around, problems with bears are going to be more common and more difficult. Once a bear learns of easy food, and someone always seems to let this happen, they never forget and they do teach other bears. If your cabin is remote, that is a big advantage.

    Karma...whatever you want to call it, your relationship and response to wild animals can have a positive or negative impact. If you hunt much, for instance, you know that an intense stare or even a strong thought, can alert an incoming animal. I don't know how to explain this, but some people have a calmness and a sense of self control and of being in control around animals that is effective. It is a matter of being respectful and commanding respect. Some can pick up a snake, even poisonous, and the snake is calm and doesn't attack. Others convey their fear and hesitation and are much more likely to get bit. If you have been around a lot of bears and other potentially dangerous wild animals, you know if you have this relationship, and you know not to be an idiot like that Treadwell guy that got himself and his girlfriend eaten because of his ego. Karma is a humble trait, not arrogance, and it can help keep your cabin safe...along with a lot of common sense, of course.

    Others have already mentioned not leaving food or food smells(like a dirty grill) in or around the cabin, while you are gone. Do NOT burn in a barrel or a campfire, even non-food items, especially plastic, attract bears. They will excavate a firepit or trash a burn barrel. Burn paper and wood, but not food or plastic or rubber.

    I think the plywood infested with a cajillion nails is a horrible solution and as much a myth as bears tearing plywood walls off. I had a friend that did this nails in wood thing without even having a door; Nope, I have not heard of a bear testing the plywood, but I can imagine the enraged, terrified bear running into the doorless cabin with excruiating pain in it's paws, and tearing up everything in sight...and now it is trapped in the cabin by the nail board! And, WHY would anyone want to do this to a bear or any wild animal? I hunt and kill lots of animals, but this nail thing is torture and so disrespectful. I don't think any cabin or property is worth inflicting that kind of pain and damage.

    Smell deterrents can be temporarily effective, and PineSol would keep me away too, ewwww But, if there are food smells or a bear is habituated to breaking in cabins, they won't help. And, bears will adjust to almost any smell after a while. How anyone can camp out or be in a cabin in Alaska with PineSol or mothball smell around them is beyond my comprehension...

    So, the electric fence, properly done and maintained, seems like the very best idea so far and it has been tried and tested. But, some people, including myself, are gone from their cabin more than a few days, sometimes 8 months or more. However, a lot of those months are winter hibernations season for bears, so not a problem. I do not leave any food or food smells that can be detected from outside our cabin. I do leave some staple foods, in a sealed container, plus canned goods. I cover all windows and the door with 1/2" exterior plywood, with lots of screws to hold it on, and with no edges that can be grabbed easily by bear or human to try to rip the wood off. We are remote, on saltwater site in Prince William Sound. Both black and brown bears are abundant, but they are truly wild and not habituated to any humans. The only bear impact I have had is a little gnawing on the corners of the cabin, and it has been there for 9 years. I did put rubber no-slip treads on my steps, and they became bear bubble gum, same with some plastic jugs and buckets stored under the cabin.

    That reminds me...leave the bears a few toys if you don't have neighbors. An old deflated buoy or a few plastic jugs are ideal. You will find them with multiple tooth marks and holes over the years, in different places. And, think of sharing the environment of your cabin with the bears, respect them and exude good karma, and please don't use nail boards.

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    That was a great reply Cap'n Ron! Not only because you are
    my brother but your answer made a lot of sense. I appreciate
    you responding to using nail boards and pine sol as not a good
    solution to keeping bears out. Your experience as a cabin owner
    and hunter and fisherman should help a lot of people
    I look forward to my FIRST trip to Alaska in August and staying
    at your cabin and having a great time fishing with you! And I
    will be leaving the heat of Arizona

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    I disagree with you CapNRon.
    Our cabin is remote but along a river bank with a couple other cabins in the near vicinity. To me this helps to deter the bears as they prefer to be left alone and don't like humans around. We burn all our trash, except food related items and our neighbors do the same in burn barrels. We all have BBQ grills that are on porches. I think it's the human presence on a regular basis that keeps 'em shy. (We get a run of Kings, silvers, pinks, and chums every year.)
    We also board up our windows during spring/fall to keep nosy bears off the big picture windows.
    If we had bear problems (which we don't ......some of these cabins have been there since '73) I would use the nail in plywood trick. If you watch a bear and he feels uncomfortable, they back up, not charge ahead through a wall/door. So it would seem they would step on the bed of nails, feel pain and turn tail and run....not smash through a solid door into your cabin. Often when they are unsure of something they sniff it, lick it, and then gingerly pat it with a paw which is how I would imagine a bear would treat a bed of nails with human scent all over it. If it didn't work, then why would so many old cabins have used this method including all the old trappers, explorers, etc... for all these years.
    We have bears in the area, lots of grizz and blacks. Bait stations out back show 8' browns and we see their tracks up and down the river banks just a short distance from our place.
    To me leaving a "toy" behind for them to chew only habituates them to your place. I would prefer thay don't come around my immediate vicinity, I have a kid and would like to keep her safe.
    I like bears, don't misunderstand me, I ujst won't tolerate a predator that is able to eat me or my family sharing my yard at the cabin. In fact, I like bears so much, I plan to harvest two in PWs next month to put in my freezer.
    My thoughts anyway....
    BK

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    You make a lot of sense, BK, at least in your situation. I know bears get habituated around humans, and a lot of what humans do attract them. I agree people being around deters bears, IF the people are around when the bears are. Having that great salmon food source for the bears makes lot of difference where you are too, why bother with cabins then. We have a salmon stream too, and go down and watch the bears feed many nights in July and August, and they rarely come up by the cabin then. But, I have had a black bear sow, a young one, with twin tiny cubs, come up and excavate my firepit right next to the cabin, with the generator running 20 feet away, AND her cubs with her...and when I yelled the cubs went one way and she went another...so much for protective mothers, bears just don't always behave the way they are supposed to! I don't want an injured, pissed off bear around my place, if I am going to injure a bear, it will be fatal and they will go in the freezer if hunting season. So far, I've been able to talk them out of anything stupid, or just scare them off. I and my friends plan to harvest a few too, so good luck to you!

    I poured fish fry grease into a hole in the ground a hundred yards or so from the cabin once. A bear or bears excavated maybe 10 feet across and 6 feet deep to get that oil soaked dirt, and a lot of the dirt was gone too, yum! So, I've made a few mistakes.

    That "door" I referred to when supposing that a bear stepping onto a nail board may just as likely go into the cabin was a "doorway"...there was no door at all, just a piece of plastic screen hanging down loose...I know bears behave the tentative way you describe, some of the time, but they can be impulsive too, especially if they are used to being around people. I have read every book I can find on the old timers, and have yet to hear of anyone using a nail board, but I am sure some did.

    I was in a friends old plywood cabin (shack...) a few years back, only a hinged plywood door with a rock to keep it shut. No interior siding, just insulation with black plastic across the studs. Honey bees built a big hive of honey in the wall right next to the door. They buzzed a lot every time we went in or out, but we left each other alone. Kinda dumb, I know, since there were bears around. We came back from fishing and the door was open. Black plastic neatly pushed aside, every bit of that big hive and honey was gone. None of the food all over the cabin was touched. Yep, back in my early, learning days there, but that was a well-behaved bear!

    Glad the bears are leaving you and your neighbors alone, you must have good karma Maybe a couple of dogs too...

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    Good write up, glad we can dicuss without getting into a heated debate.
    We do have a dog, 100 lb lab and her sole purpose in life is to sound off when anything wanders near.
    I hear your side of the argument and just wanted to offer what works for us.
    BK

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    It's what makes the forum great! A little give and take and we all learn something!

    That same year a bear ate the bee hive in that old cabin, we were starting to build ours across the fiord. We left two 24 ea cases of 20 OZ mixed color/flavor gatorade on the bank above the beach at the new cabin site. The next morning we went back there every bottle except for most of the yellow stuff was empty, you could see the bear bite marks around the tops of all the bottles. Could have made a million bucks if I had video of a bear biting gatorade bottles and chugging the contents. And, I don't blame them, I hate yellow too

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    Boy, I sure appreciate the replies of everyone here, especially Capt Ron. Like you Ron, I am very respectful of nature. However, I do not have a problem surrounding my cabin with beds of nails. I know what bears can do to cabins, and I just can't start all over again. My only neighbor in the immediate two miles shot and killed two bears on his porch last summer. He is NOT careful with his food odors and has a chicken coop..It is not my intention to hurt a bear if I do not have too. I have solar powered motion detectors with alarms on my cabin, just to scare them away. I'm all over the pine sol thing....but if a bear approaches my cabin he will be walking on a bed of nails.

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    Last year was a bad berry season here in Yellowknife and the local black bears were breaking into cabins all over the place.
    This was the first time in many years that this has happened.
    My friends cabin was broken into and the bear broke out a bedroom window to gain access.
    My friends wife was waking back from the outhouse and a sow with twins followed her down the hill!! :O
    They put in some nail boards afterwards to stop any further intrusions.
    Been working good so far.

    The lodge I used to work at had grizzlies twice tear the plywood off the building to gain access to it.
    Several other times they just smashed in the front door.

    We had one of those corrugated grain bin sheds where we kept dry goods.
    One year a grizz pretty much tore the door off, dug underneath it most of the way and when he couldn't get in beat the living crap out of the walls. There are dents in it 7 feet up!!!
    The bear never did make it in and the door has since been reinforced with steel angle iron and is bolted shut in the off season.
    The floor is also now poured concrete to prevent tunneling under.

    At our main lodge one spring we went in to open up and a bear had been around before we got there.
    It had bitten our water supply line every 10 feet for 200 yards!!! The pace looked like a water sprinkler and the whole length had to be replaced.

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