Understanding electric fencing for bears

Sunshine Flock

Crowing
Sep 27, 2017
1,363
3,799
317
Northern California
I'm trying to better understand a few things with electric fencing for bears.

1) Most folks seem to recommend 14 gauge galvanized steel wire. It's really hard to work with, but it won't easily bend or stretch like aluminum, which is what you want with big predators. The wire needs room for movement, so that's why you use pass-through insulators everywhere but on the ends. With such heavy wire, though, this makes for some pretty baggy lines.

Where the ends are secured, I'm using large screw-in hooks. They're prone to breaking. How do you tighten down the wire enough so it's not baggy?

2) How many inches out from the fencing do you run your hot wire? And what's your preference for insulators to accommodate corner posts? With hot wire that's not very tidy/taut, it needs more space or it could easily end up touching the fencing. I'm swapping out wood post insulators that sit flat against them for longer ones that hold the wire a couple inches out from the fencing. But the screw-in hooks to secure the ends are closer to the post. This creates an angle as the wire approaches the hooks. I need to find hooks that sit out further from the mount.

3) Gates: How are you wiring them? I'm seeing different methods. Are you using one handle and connecting the rows of hot wire on the gate with insulated wire?

4) We're in a hot climate most of the year with dry ground. But I have yet to find someone who's running a hot-cold wiring system. They're all relying on grounding rods. The thing with the hot-cold system is that the bear needs to touch both a hot and cold wire simultaneously to complete the circuit for it to work. I was thinking I'll try three rods and run all hot wire for the winter and spring, see how it goes and test daily with a voltmeter, and during summer keep a bucket of water near the grounds with a pinprick hole on the bottom. But I don't want to be dependent on that bucket, so the other method seems like a good option.

5) I'm also noticing that most people are running three strands of hot wire and nothing more. I suppose as long as the hot wire is run along fencing, the bear can't climb through and is more likely to touch the wire. But if you're going to bother with the initial investment, it doesn't cost much more to run more wire. Some experts say five hot strands at a minimum, 8" to 10" apart.

I'd love to know your thoughts on all of this. Thank you.
 
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Sunshine Flock

Crowing
Sep 27, 2017
1,363
3,799
317
Northern California
Nice running into your posts again:frow.
I will tag @Howard E and see if he responds and helps you out. He is VERY THOROUGH in his explanations in regards to Electric fencing.
I did run a hot wire,,,,,(to protect my pigeon loft) but do not deal with bears.
WISHING YOU BEST,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, :highfive:
Hey, Cave! Great seeing you again, too!!

I'm looking forward to some feedback on this. I've read lots of Howard's posts on electric fencing, and now that we've managed to afford to electrify and I've done some research, I'm hoping to get a better feel for how to do this.

The chickens are at great risk. I've booby trapped the heck out of everything, but we keep seeing bears and it got pretty scary a few nights ago. I think I've got a good handle on the basics, but we've run into some challenges and weren't sure how to proceed.
 

perchie.girl

RIP 1953-2021
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 29, 2010
28,492
64,545
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San Diego county High Desert
as a fellow Californian I hear your pain about grounding... Sigh.... My intention is to run hot cold as well for horses and goats.... My ground rods have to go about eight feet in the ground here.... But I will be using bipolar Tape... Hot and cold wires top and bottom of the tape.


I have heard from department of fish and game follks that the best way to deter bears is to bait them a bit.... Tuna or sardines smeared on the wire so when they come to sniff they get Zapped on their only uninsultate part... their nose or tongue.

Off they will go...

As far as quantity of wires and spacing ... Maybe Department of fish and game can give you insight in your area.

With the stretching part. Use a wire stretcher or come along for that... In tension wire systems they use big honking springs to keep the tension going

https://americasfencestore.com/pages/how-to-chain-link-tension-wire-installation

this works for either aluminum or Galvanized....

Fourteen gauge is sturdy.... but those tension wires for chain-link are twelve to ten gauge.

So if they can stretch Ten to twelve gauge Fourteen gauge should be easier.

here is a video


deb
 

Egghead_Jr

Crowing
10 Years
Oct 16, 2010
7,477
3,533
436
NEK, VT
I use polywire for bear. There is no need for 14 gauge tensile wire. What's nice to use is poly rope but was expensive for my small application. I use three wires and gate handles. Typical 3 inch plastic standoff insulators. Come in bags of 25. There are corner standoffs. These plastic insulators are cheap if you use poly rope and you can make it tight.

http://www.zarebasystems.com/store/poly-fence/poly-rope

Three things bear will do. First being to reach in and grab the fence to pull it off. If your using a welded wire fencing then perfect, it will pull out to contact with electric line and ZAP! Second bear like to stand and push over the obstacle, run a wire at top of fence- as in have it stand off from the top horizontal or they will push the fence over. Last they will dig if determined and first two options can't be achieved. Run a wire low enough they can't dig under it.

Three wires you'd use for all predators work for bear= one low, one at top and one in middle. Bear require 6k volts. Other predators only need 4k.
 

Shadrach

Roosterist
Jul 31, 2018
17,601
137,580
1,582
Catalonia, Spain
My Coop
My Coop
I'm trying to better understand a few things with electric fencing for bears.

1) Most folks seem to recommend 14 gauge galvanized steel wire. It's really hard to work with, but it won't easily bend or stretch like aluminum, which is what you want with big predators. The wire needs room for movement, so that's why you use pass-through insulators everywhere but on the ends. With such heavy wire, though, this makes for some pretty baggy lines.

Where the ends are secured, I'm using large screw-in hooks. They're prone to breaking. How do you tighten down the wire enough so it's not baggy?

2) How many inches out from the fencing do you run your hot wire? And what's your preference for insulators to accommodate corner posts? With hot wire that's not very tidy/taut, it needs more space or it could easily end up touching the fencing. I'm swapping out wood post insulators that sit flat against them for longer ones that hold the wire a couple inches out from the fencing. But the screw-in hooks to secure the ends are closer to the post. This creates an angle as the wire approaches the hooks. I need to find hooks that sit out further from the mount.

3) Gates: How are you wiring them? I'm seeing different methods. Are you using one handle and connecting the rows of hot wire on the gate with insulated wire?

4) We're in a hot climate most of the year with dry ground. But I have yet to find someone who's running a hot-cold wiring system. They're all relying on grounding rods. The thing with the hot-cold system is that the bear needs to touch both a hot and cold wire simultaneously to complete the circuit for it to work. I was thinking I'll try three rods and run all hot wire for the winter and spring, see how it goes and test daily with a voltmeter, and during summer keep a bucket of water near the grounds with a pinprick hole on the bottom. But I don't want to be dependent on that bucket, so the other method seems like a good option.

5) I'm also noticing that most people are running three strands of hot wire and nothing more. I suppose as long as the hot wire is run along fencing, the bear can't climb through and is more likely to touch the wire. But if you're going to bother with the initial investment, it doesn't cost much more to run more wire. Some experts say five hot strands at a minimum, 8" to 10" apart.

I'd love to know your thoughts on all of this. Thank you.
To tension line wire over a short run (25 yards) I used one of these for many years.
https://www.jacksons-fencing.co.uk/product/sc_346900/wire-tensioning-tool-760mm-long
For longer runs monkey wire strainers are a better option though they take some practice to use.
https://hayesfencing.com/
 
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llombardo

Crowing
Mar 11, 2018
3,015
4,803
346
Illinois
I just want to say I'm glad you are going with the electric.

I don't have bears here and I have I think it's 6 strands around the bottom and another strand about 8 inches up(which would make it chest high on me) I figured if a coyote were to try to jump at the run, they would hit this. Then on two sides I ran a ground and hot around the top. I have a strand across the gate(I would like more protection here) but I hesitate to make gate hot because the chickens do peck at the gate. I haven't been able to figure out the whole gate thing anyway. Some people asked if I used to much wire. The directions said to use the wire so may inches apart and the more wire the better, so I went with the most.

After all that I still don't completely trust it but I feel a little better..lol
 

chickengeorgeto

Crowing
7 Years
Dec 25, 2012
8,047
4,195
431
Big Bend of the Tennessee River's Right Bank.
Use a large gauge barbed wire when building electric fences to keep bears at bay. It is also advisable to put a loop of high tinsel steel wire on the end of the barbed wire and then employ a tensioning devise made for high tinsel wires to pull the wires tight as a banjo string.

A side benefit is that the tips of the barbs will reach down into fuzzy-wazzy's fur coat and hopefully touch his skin. The reason for baiting is to train the varmint to give your electric fence a wide berth. Since a bear has a wet nose, mouth, lips, tongue etc a strip of cured bacon securely wrapped around the hot wire will light Yogi up like a jack-o-lantern when he tries to eat it off the fence.

I think that is why the bear known as "Old Slew Foot was running 40MPH and taking 30 feet a jump. He just got bit by an electric fence.
 

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