We've had a bear problem around our place. A yearling Black Bear has been sniffing around since early spring. We've chased him off on more than one occasions, only to have him return up to a dozen times in the same evening.
Yesterday, when we got home from work, we noticed our recycling bins tipped over, so we knew he had been around. Then we noticed that our chicken fence had been bent over, evidence that he had climbed into the chicken run. Thankfully, all 14 hens and our rooster were accounted for and unharmed (they are all 6 weeks old).
We were even more surprised when we went into the coop and saw that our large chicken feeder had been dragged 8 feet across the coop and was now blocking the 12"x12" pop door.
The "human" door into the coop was still latched so whatever dragged the feeder did so by entering through the pop door.
We started to think that maybe a raccoon had gone into the coop and not the bear, but a little CSI work revealed large tufts of black bear fur on the edges of the pop door.
So now what? We realize that our run isn't very predator proof, but for a black bear, that won't matter too much. Its unrealistic, both from a construction and financial standpoint to bear proof a run. The coop (when the pop door is closed at night) is bear proof I'd say, but this bear was around during the day. NH Fish and Game hasn't been much help... they are over run with bear complaints. They offered to loan me some electric fencing, but that won't help on doorways and for the bears around here you need to bacon grease the wire so the bear hits it with its nose or tongue to get enough of a jolt.
Shotgun? I have neighbors near by so I am hesitant to shoot, and I know Fish and Game would frown upon it. Plus, the 300-plus investment in a gun is tough to swallow. Maybe borrow a gun and try to get rubber pellet rounds? I'm not sure. I'm glad the bear hasn't gotten any chickens yet, but I know it's just a matter of time before things get worse.