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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
We were out at the new place again today. I found a game trail in the back and followed it. Found some fresh bear scat. I followed the trail to the fenceline, and I found the old barbed wire / hog wire fencing pulled down where they apparently cross.

I don't mind the bears being back there, and I don't want to impede them, but I need secure fencing. What kind of fencing will allow them to cross without damaging it? I am thinking that a typical wooden three-rail horse fence would work for that because they could just climb it without breaking it. Can anyone tell me if I'm correct? Or is there a better option?
Thanks!
 

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OH, just reread & saw I answered the wrong question!!

I actually don't know. As I wrote below, a single strand of unpowered polyrope is working for us in the places that the bear go but the horses don't. And since most of the fence is powered, including all the places that they might want to reach over or follow a road out, and these aren't horses who seem to just sense whether a fence is powered or not, it almost certainly would work if our horses did go there.

But you probably want more fence than that. I'm not sure whether they'd successfully climb a board fence or break it. It would certainly have to be pretty sturdy.

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In case anyone wants to keep bear OUT, here's the original:
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Electric!

Our town has a history of bears going after chickens, and the only fencing that seems to stop them is electric. It has to have a good jolt, but nothing out of the ordinary. For optimal control, you should bait the fence so the target animals get zapped right on their tender snouts and really learn to avoid it. Bacon tied on is one suggestion I've heard; or when you open pet food or tuna etc. cans leave the lid attached at one end - much harder now with pull-tab lids than old-fashioned can-opener lids, but still doable - and fold the lid back & hook it over the fence. That last one really made our dog respect the electric fence he'd been running under.

Some neighbors who keep a half dozen hens in a nice run - 6' mesh fence with two electric strands all around - lost most of their chickens to a bear one evening just before dusk when they left their electric fence off for the day. They learned that lesson, then last summer lost all their chickens again when a bear ripped through the coop wall - but not the fence. (They've rebuilt the coop walls with siding over plywood instead of just boards.) In no case has the bear actually gone through an active electric fence.

If you google bears & chickens you'll find a lot of information on this - both Alaska and Colorado have information, as well as lots of private parties.

Oh, and we've intentionally left our "electric" fence through the woods single-strand and unpowered so the bear CAN come in our horse pasture. We have a mama and a cub or two every year. But the llama area has a 5-strand fence that's (supposed to be) kept powered; I'm not too worried about predators in summer when prey is plentiful, but a few years ago a llama was killed by a bear in NH. Of course, another time, elsewhere in NH, a llama had to be rounded up after he jumped out of his pen purportedly to chase a bear away from some neighboring ducks he was said to be fond of & guarding!
 

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I agree with electric. Otherwise a substantial buckrail fence allows bears to pass and hold up to bears climbing, but I always worried a horse would figure out a way to get tangled in one.
 
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