Black bears can cause property damage – including the loss of chickens, beehives, small livestock and valued fruit trees – which can be both financially and emotionally draining. Electric fencing has proved to be the most effective tool in keeping bears from almost anything.
“Electric fences have been the greatest achievement in terms of reducing chicken, beehive and sheep depredation,” said Mike Madel, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks bear manager.
However, in our area, and for a variety of reasons, not enough landowners utilize this effective tool – some haven’t considered using electric fencing to deter bears; some choose to not take preventative measures until after an incident; others find electric fencing to be cost-prohibitive.
In partnership with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Bear Smart Durango has initiated an Electric Fencing Incentive Program that aims to provide up to 20 La Plata County landowners with incentives to install small-scale, backyard electric-fence systems to protect chicken coops, beehives, fruit trees, livestock and more from bears.
Up to $100 worth of electric-fencing materials (or a $100 rebate upon receipt of purchased materials) and assistance with design and installation of electric fencing is being offered.
Through this program, residents get help with bear attractants that cannot be easily contained or moved, and potential loss can be prevented. A program goal is to permanently resolve bear issues at locations that have experienced conflict.
This program is not available to city residents, as electric fencing is not permitted within city limits.
Interested residents should contact Colorado Parks and Wildlife at 247-0855. Visit http://bearsmartdurango.org/electric-fencing-incentive-program for more information.
Remove food sources that attract bears, and you remove the incentive for bears to come around. Visit www.bearsmartdurango and www.cpw.state.co.us to learn more about bears and what you can do to reduce human-bear conflict.
firstname.lastname@example.org. Bryan Peterson is director of Bear Smart Durango, formed in 2003 to educate residents about coexisting with bears and reduce the amount of human food available to bears. Visit www.bearsmartdurango.org or follow on Facebook.