Thursday, April 30, 2009

bears, trucks, and bailing wire

What a week. The bear returned every night, save last. He was a horror--taking out garbage cans, ripping down the sheeps ' fence, knocking over grain bins, and taking out the neighbor's bird feeders, hives, and more. The neighbors and I have been talking about our options on how to deal with the problem. Two of them are strongly against calling the Fish and Wildlife department, since they don't want the bear shot. I'm not for slaying bears either, but if I wake up one morning to a pile of dead poultry or bleeding sheep—I will be. I'll keep you posted.

Yesterday I had to run to Tractor Supply on my lunch break to buy replacement fencing. As I was leaving the store, trying to load the fencing into the back hatch (which was bursting with feed sacks, hay, a hose, and other homestead gear)a guy next to me in a pickup truck looked at the back of the station wagon and then his empty bed and said, "Wow. You need this truck more than I do.."

I sure do. He has no idea.

Last night, as the sun was setting and the farm was still feeling warm, I fixed the fence while the sheep grazed behind me in their pasture. I sang a little to myself, tying up the woven wire with green baling wire (the veins of this operation is green bailing wire)to make a sort of fence band-aid for the night. At least it will get the job done till I can replace the fencing later this summer. And so far, it's been holding the sheep in, and keeping Mr. Bear out. And right now, that's all I can ask.


Blogger SouthFella said...

Have the two "against calling Fish n Game folks" invite the bear to their homestead...

Hang in there Jenna... Farm life is full of surprises...

April 30, 2009 at 5:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi! You've got a new reader, just started reading your blog a few days ago and I'm trying to catch up on the old posts. Sorry to hear about the bear :(
I've started a really large vegetable garden this summer for the first time and am really excited for it.
I have a feeling your blog will be very inspirational.

April 30, 2009 at 5:23 PM  
Anonymous Cassidy said...

P.S. I'm not anonymous, I'm Cassidy :P

April 30, 2009 at 5:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can't Fish & Wildlife tranq the bear and transport him to an unpopulated area where he (and people and their belongings) will be safe? That's what they usually do here in my neck of the woods, not always, but usually. It's a more efficient and humane solution.

You and your neighbours should call up Fish & Wildlife and request a meeting to discuss the issue, so that the officers may agree with your non-kill opinions.

April 30, 2009 at 6:20 PM  
Blogger Gwen said...

You say baling wire, I say zip ties. My husband is a phone man who uses zip ties for bundling cables, so these handy little things have gotten us through many an emergency.
Bad bear! Very very bad! I hope he goes away... or maybe Parks & Wildlife can relocate him? Love your blog.

April 30, 2009 at 6:46 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

There may be another option for you here in my area we have black bears that come down get into trouble some people say that they use bear spray around there property to keep them away. I dont know if it works have never used it like that but I have used it to run a bear off that was snapping her jaws at me while in the woods. I didnt get they spray on the bear but the sent was enough that time.

April 30, 2009 at 8:04 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

I understand that no one involved wants to hurt the bear, but if nothing happens to deter it from coming back, it's just going to learn that it can get free food for very little work, and it will keep coming back and terrorizing your homestead and your neighbors'. I agree with Bunny that you should at least discuss your options with the Fish and Wildlife department, and the sooner, the better. Good luck! I have my fingers crossed for you that it doesn't come back!

April 30, 2009 at 9:16 PM  
Blogger Sojourner Design said...

Again, electricity. As in electric fences. Check out the Premier website.


April 30, 2009 at 11:35 PM  
Anonymous Annie said...

I agree, you gotta get rid of that bear. It is completely unafraid of humans and you are in for more trouble. Someone's child could get hurt.

My neighbor had a bear who kept coming up on her porch in broad daylight. They chased him away again and again. Finally they shot him. F&G did not like that but the bear was a menace. Would it be nice to relocate a bear like that to some other neighborhood? Just going to keep happening, IMO. When we encroach on wild animals' territory, this is what happens. They become acclimated to humans and unafraid.

Sometimes you eat the bear, sometimes the bear eats you. Don't want you or your sheep to be the ones hurt.

May 1, 2009 at 12:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about the marauding bear. Lovely animals but big trouble.

Hope you get it sorted soon so you don't have to wonder every morning what damage it's done overnight.

May 1, 2009 at 4:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Loved your book! A homesteader myself! Can give you advise on this one! We had three bears (mom with kids) in our chicken coop having dinner at midnight several years ago. Our Fish and Game wouldn't help us but directed us to USDA- who had a very interesting treatment plan. They knew the bears would keep coming back and they did. They suggested the very next day to put up electic fencing around our coop- but bait it with bacon on the wire- yes so the bear would get shocked through the mouth- as the fur is so thick they might not feel it. It worked like a charm and we didn't have to kill or relocate anything and they moved on. Hope this helps!

May 1, 2009 at 9:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do your local bears go for sheep? Black bear are largely vegetarian- see what they have gotten into so far: garbage cans,grain bins, bird, feeders, hives.

Lots on bears here:
and here

"The other important point to consider is so-called nuisance or problem bears aren‘t bred, they‘re made. Carelessly stored food, garbage, even barbecue grease can all attract bears and keep them coming back. The problem can easily be removed by eliminating the source of the attraction. But too often, people resort to shooting bears."

Bears eating children? Is this a fact or rural myth?

May 1, 2009 at 10:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

May the bears be dealt with effectively soon!

May 1, 2009 at 10:31 AM  
Anonymous said...

Hi there! Looking forward to reading your book. We had a bear last year in our wooded suburban neighborhood. Only loss was the bird feeder. We ran electric fence around the bee hives the next morning and so far so good. Agway has very nice solar electric fences! : )
Enjoying your blog... best to you!

May 1, 2009 at 3:03 PM  
Blogger Offwhiteknight said...

Bears eating children is fact EJ. Like you said, black bear are largely vegetarian.. not totally vegetarian. Also, bears may attack just because they decide they don't like you, not because they are hungry. The common advice to play dead if a bear attacks and it might leave you alone is only for grizzlies, it will get you eaten if you try it with a black bear.

May 1, 2009 at 4:50 PM  
Anonymous Annie said...

Bears don't eat children as far as I know. They do sometimes attack humans. They have also been known to attack (and eat) sheep.

Google it.

I'm concerned for Jenna given the fact this bear keeps coming back repeatedly. It suggests the bear is either sick or fearless of humans and is likely to be more of a danger as a result.

May 1, 2009 at 11:49 PM  
Blogger Amigo van Helical said...

Please call the Fish and Game people. Bears don't share, they pillage. And they can be dangerous.

The F and G people probably won't even shoot the bear the first time. In CO, they relocate the bear and then tag it. If the bear keeps showing up, it means that it's been habituated to living off non-natural sources, which is a problem for humans and domesticated animals in the area. Then the bear will be destroyed, but ColdAntler, you, and your dogs will be safer for it.

May 2, 2009 at 3:01 PM  
Anonymous said...

It is great that people are thinking about the environment and working to make the world a safer place. Not only the materials that you are using on your home are safe for the environment but dump trucks have come a long way since the earlier models. We are learning and expanding and coming up with a wide range of safer more effective vehicles for the work force. I think it is great that many auto manufacturers are turning to hybrid vehicles to protect the environment and now they are even using hybrid dump trucks.

May 5, 2009 at 4:04 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Jenna
In Wa Fish And Wildlife will trap the bear and release into another area or use a Karelian Bear Dog to scare the bear off. No bears are evr shot. Check out this link:
The Fish and Wildlife Office shares a building with the city I work for. The dogs are amazing. I encourage you and your neightbors to give DFW a call.
I love your blog and recently read your book (from the library). Keep up the good work:)

May 5, 2009 at 1:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


December 31, 2009 at 2:28 PM  

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