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Electric fence to exclude mule deer and bears

 
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We're going to put up a 6', 2"x 4" welded wire fence to keep deer out.  Someone here on permies extended the apparent height of their fence by running thin white rope a couple of feet above the fence itself, so we're considering that, too.  Our soil is very dry and sandy, so we'll use ground-return wires as well as rods. If we put several "+" wires on standoffs (for bears), could the fence wire itself serve as the ground return, or would there be too much resistance? Total fence length is about 650 feet. Also, what flexible wire with sufficient insulation could we use to connect the "+" wires and the ground return (whatever it ends up being) to the gates?

Thank you,
Jeff
 
gardener
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Location: latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
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Hi Jeff;  Welcome to Permies!
I do not have an answer to your grounding question.
I do have a question for you.
How common are bears ?  Is it ,maybe they will want in the garden if one happens by?
Or is it,  the bears are here all the time now and definitely are coming to check out the garden?

We have a lot of bears... I can tell you if one wants in... they will knock your post's over.   Without an electric charge the field fence becomes a ladder.

Now Mule deer...  Can easily jump a 6' fence an extra 2'  especially tilted out  could do the job.
Around here a lot of folks put a second fence around the first, with lots of flagging .
That seems to work best... but a hungry deer can be very determined.
 
Jeff Wiseman
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The garden is enclosed with a 6' woven wire fence; the bears don't get into it.  What they like is the pear and apple trees outside the garden.  Even though they're not here often, they've done considerable damage to two of the trees this year.
 
pollinator
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Location: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
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Mule Deer: as previously mentioned 6 feet generally won't work, especially if determined, or on a downslope. The extra height need not be "strong"; even a few strands of fishing line that is flagged every 12-18 inches, up to a minimum of 8 feet, assuming you do not get snow. IF you get snow, add the highest snow level to the 8 ft minimum.

Bears: likely better to offset the electric fencing a good 2-4 feet from the deer fence, to protect it from bear damage. Just using the electric fencing around the problem trees may be a better option, if on the perimeter of the fence.
 
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Location: 10 Miles ESE Walla Walla WA 46°N 118.11°W (Elev. 2195 ft)
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Call a meeting with the deer and bears. Cut a deal, they get 20% and you don't have to spend on fence.
 
gardener
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Location: PNW
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Randal Son wrote:Call a meeting with the deer and bears. Cut a deal, they get 20% and you don't have to spend on fence.


If only that worked....
 
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Ive seen just regular white tail deer jump over 6' fence from standing position next to it. ive never seen a mule deer don't really know anything about them. ive also seen farms in places such as New Jersey that have 10' fencing around orchards to keep deer out. deer can wipe out a crop in short order if they can get at your growing goodies. another good reason to overplant by 2x or 3x what you want to try and harvest-animals want to eat too.
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