Got a bear problem? Try an electric fence…

By David F. Rooney

If you live outside town have fruit trees, gardens, bee hives, lambs and chickens living with bears and other predators can sometimes be difficult.

Just ask Andy Parkin. He used to raise lambs but gave it up because he “got tired of feeding the cougars.” Most recently, a bear decided to chow down on several of the chickens he was raising for their meat and eggs.

“He was obviously a breast man,” he said Thursday. “There wasn’t a lot left… just a few wings and a lot of feathers.”

Parkin and his wife Marilyn were just two of the 16 people who turned out at a Bear Aware workshop to ponder the potential of electric fencing as a bear deterrent.

The workshop was organized by Bear Aware Coordinator Janette Vickers and featured Kaslo Bear Smart Coordinator Gillian Sanders.

Sanders said she began using an electric fence to protect her bee hives about 16 years ago. After she helped start up Kaslo’s Bear Smart Program she began encouraging people to try electric fences to keep their chickens, goats, lambs and crops safe from bears.

The fences don’t harm the animals but they will zap them good. For more information please contact Revelstoke Bear Aware Coordinator Janette Vickers at 250-837-8624. You can also send her an e-mail at The Revelstoke Bear Aware Program website is at

Here are a few images from the workshop:

Kaslo Bear Smart coordinator Gillian Sanders (center) holds the power unit that delivers voltage to the electric fence she says is ideal for keeping bears away from livestock, bee hives, fruit trees and gardens. Sixteen people attended the afternoon workshop at Graham and Wendy Harper's Mount Mcpherson B&B. The workshop was organized by Revelstoke Bear Aware Coordinator Janette Vickers. David F. Rooney photo
The top unit is a solar-powered generator capable of delivering a decent shock to a bear. The one below delivers a more powerful shock but must be plugged into the electrical grid. David F. Rooney photo
Revelstoke Bear Aware Coordinator Janette Vickers (second from the left) listens as Gillian Sanders talks about how many strands of wire should be used in a fence to deter bears. You need between four and eight strands to ensure that if a bear comes in contact with the fence it will actually suffer a shock. David F. Rooney photo