By David F. Rooney
One or two 6,000-volt zaps on the nose is all it takes to send problem bears packing when you use an electric fence to protect your livestock or fruit trees, says Kaslo Bear Smart Coordinator Gillian Sanders.
“You want a current of 6,000 volts to stop a bear,” she told a group of about a dozen men and women interested in electric fencing.
The two electric fencing systems she exhibited — one that runs on the electric grid and another that operates off a battery charged by solar power — deliver a jolt of about 6,000 to 10,000 (or more) volts. That sounds like a lot, but it’s won’t harm a bear or coyote, but will zap them good.
“Personally I’m okay with having a few thousand extra volts rather than not enough,” Sanders said.
Of course, you do have to do more than simply install the fencing. You have to maintain it by keeping grass and other vegetation clear of the wires because that can drain the power from the fence. And, if the ground is bone dry, it helps to water the area a bear may approach your fence from.
Local gardener Rory Luxmore, who also maintains a tiny flock of urban chickens, said he’s interested in anything that keeps his yard, garden and chickens safe. But he acknowledges that he’s not likely to erect an electric fence anytime soon because the City wouldn’t permit it.
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 Sue Davies at 250-837-8624. You can also send her an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Revelstoke Bear Aware Program website is at www.revelstokebearaware.org.