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  • How many are using a bear fence?

    Just a poll to see how many folks are using bear fences on trips these days and where. Gotta admit the newer electric fence technology is pretty interesting and not particularly bulky. The notion of coming back from a spike camp and finding your main camp rummaged would be a bummer.
    33
    Electric fences for bears? You're kidding right...
    36.36%
    12
    Only on rivers and floats where the big ones live.
    9.09%
    3
    Only on basecamps that I'll be leaving unattended.
    36.36%
    12
    Always and everywhere including the high country.
    18.18%
    6
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

  • #2
    I used one for my basecamp when hunting goat on Kodiak. Not sure if we were messed with, but we did see a few pretty darn big bears down below us when we were up high. When we got back to our camp, everything was still in one piece. Worth the extra couple of pounds that we didn't have to pack very far.

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    • #3
      When I came to Alaska 10 years ago or so, I had a portable electric fence set up that runs on 6 D-volt batteries and uses a fiberglass like tape. I used to divide up a little pasture we had in Montana for our horses. I've used it every time I've camped in a tent overnight during hunting season since I've been here and it has always worked perfectly. I've slept like a baby and my camp has never been messed with. Of course I don't think we actually ever had a bear try to get into camp, but what do I know and since we were either boat camping or ATV camping the weight didn't matter.

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      • #4
        I use one for work on the AK Peninsula all the time. Used one last year on a caribou drop camp where we were camped on a gravel bar littered with fresh dead salmon. Had a bear test out the fence two nights in a row only to be repelled. Camp full of food and caribou meat remained untouched all week.

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        • #5
          I don't use one when hunting solo, I don't like carrying the extra weight. Only had one experience while hunting goats on Kodiak when a nice brown bear came in and was sniffing my pack....I yelled at it, it ran off, and it never came back..... I slept soundly. I figure if I'm gonna get eaten by a bear, I'd rather they do it while I'm in my sleep....... I have woke up at times and found fresh tracks close to camp......fun times!!!!.......might use one this year for a base camp while storing food and game meat.

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          • #6
            Risks low. Value over several years: high enough.

            I haven't had the opportunity to hunt high ground yet, but for anyone camping with family or leaving a camp unattended, if you can afford the weight (which isn't much anymore), the peace of mind might be worth it.

            Although bears seem seldom interested in us/our stuff, exceptions occur even in remote places (post#8 in: http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...ht=#post235555). Closer to Anchorage, habituated bears seem to occur more often. For these reasons, I find electric fences (along with firearms training/practice and the Hunter Ed course which also helped my wife and daughter feel more comfortable camping in bear country) are worth the trouble. They've also improved. Last year, I bought a replacement (Electro Bear Guard UltaLite) from Eagle Enterprises in Anchorage (http://www.eaglesafety.net/Home_Pers...bearfence.html), which weighs 2 pounds, uses AA batteries, which if you buy lithiums - last a long long time. One very practical suggestion by the salesperson at Eagle was to use the grounding rod to make the hole for the fencepost when the ground (esp rocky ground) instead of pounding on the fencepost. I expect this fence design to last a long time.

            Between helping my family sleep better and being less concerned when camp is unattended, the lightweight, low maintenance bear fence packages now available are excellent. The Electro Bear Guard used to be produced in Wasilla (that guy at the Great Alaska Sportsmens Show every year, who sold to Eagle), which also made it more appealing. Not sure I'd bother with a fence in high country or if weight was an issue.
            Last edited by 6XLeech; 03-26-2011, 06:15. Reason: Add remark.
            No habitat, no hunter.

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            • #7
              Don't want the extra weight, besides, some times I'm hunting bears and want to see them up close. Always have thought the rest of the time I'll just take my chances. I've never had much problems with bears in unattended camps anyways. I would be willing to try a fence (peace of mind) for when we abandon base camp at the strip, for extended periods of time, just haven't kept up with the technology. Camp is just stuff, the only thing that really matters is human life. I figure that when its time to go, if it be by bear, so be it, there is plenty of worse ways to die. Afterall, ain't none of us getting out of this world alive. roud:

              Seriously, I'm constantly trying to figure out how to travel lighter and a bear fence just hasn't entered into the picture. Probably more due to my style of travel which is strickly on foot once the aircraft sets down. TS
              sigpic

              "AND YE SHALL KNOW THE TRUTH AND THE TRUTH SHALL MAKE YOU FREE."

              JOHN VIII - XXXII

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Timber Smith View Post
                Probably more due to my style of travel which is strickly on foot once the aircraft sets down. TS
                I'm surprised that you wouldn't think it necessary to at times put a fence around that plane.

                Somewhere (here?) I saw a picture of a bush plane that had been eaten/mauled by a grizzly; that "plane" wasn't going to be aflyin' anytime soon.... Are you ever prepared to walk out? Or is a sat phone your backup?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by FamilyMan View Post
                  I'm surprised that you wouldn't think it necessary to at times put a fence around that plane.

                  Somewhere (here?) I saw a picture of a bush plane that had been eaten/mauled by a grizzly; that "plane" wasn't going to be aflyin' anytime soon.... Are you ever prepared to walk out? Or is a sat phone your backup?
                  To clarify, I didn't mean to sound like we leave planes completely unattended. When SCs stay in the field, someone will be close by manning the base camp. Base is always set fairly close to LZ. I suppose walking out is an option, but it sure would be tough, hope I don't have to do it. Comms are radio and sat.
                  sigpic

                  "AND YE SHALL KNOW THE TRUTH AND THE TRUTH SHALL MAKE YOU FREE."

                  JOHN VIII - XXXII

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                  • #10
                    At 3 pounds, added security on flyout hunts. Not as worried about being protected when we're in camp, as protecting gear when we're out hunting. The cost of a bear fence is a lot less than the cost of replacing tent, sleeping bags, etc if a bear got curious and was rousting the camp while we were away.

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                    • #11
                      Gear choices...your specific situation...the clarity of experience...

                      Originally posted by Timber Smith View Post
                      Don't want the extra weight,.... Camp is just stuff, the only thing that really matters is human life... TS
                      So true, TS. Details in threads like this are the real pearls. So often, good advice..."depends on your situation". Bear protection threads can be among the worst for categorical generalizations. Reality is, certain factors change the perspective, like when it comes to weight: stuff versus aero gas, for instance. Or sometimes the stuff starts to clutter the experience too much, detracting from being outdoors somehow. Bear fences can make sense for many outdoor situations here and are accessible to most (weight and cost). But we all make the best choices for our situations...choosing the best balance between prudence and fear. Sometimes fear sells gear. Experience is a huge advantage and in a way, the real point, the real education. Good thread, hodgeman.
                      No habitat, no hunter.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by 6XLeech View Post
                        But we all make the best choices for our situations...choosing the best balance between prudence and fear. Sometimes fear sells gear. Experience is a huge advantage and in a way, the real point, the real education. Good thread, hodgeman.
                        I agree that we've received some very good input on this thread. Thanks everybody! I'm generally leery of any product designed for "bear protection" as the fear mongering in the marketting can reach ridiculous levels. I've got little experience with these fences but I'm upgrading a lot of gear this year for a two week sheep hunt- I wouldn't want to tote an extra 5lbs up a mountain but if I can guard a pre-positioned basecamp and gear cache with one and hopefully keep some bear from destroying it before I walk in, I'd consider it.

                        I'd hate to spend two days walking in to find my camp is scattered over a couple of acres!
                        "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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                        • #13
                          I guess a note of importance to keep in mind with bear fences and any other bear deterrent or protection product is they're not a replacement for common sense and other prudent measures when in bear country. I think that's what is sometimes lost on people when a product is marketed as "bear safe" or as a bear deterrent. You still should follow smart bear country camping practices. One additional item I like to have in my camp when setting up a bear fence is a 10 gallon steel drum with locking lid for food storage. Ammo cans serve a similar purpose. Once again, just an additional piece of mind in helping protect your food / gear when leaving a camp unattended.

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                          • #14
                            I used one only once while goat hunting on Kodiak. "Base" camp was at around 2000 ft. Saw two bear at or above that elevation in tundra. We didn't see any down hill where the plane picked us up. Have been sheep hunting several times and have never used one.

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                            • #15
                              Going to Kodiak for the first time this fall. I will definitely employ one on the first trip.

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