• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • r ranson
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Mike Haasl
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Joseph Lofthouse
  • James Freyr
master gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • John F Dean
  • jordan barton
gardeners:
  • Jay Angler
  • Greg Martin
  • Leigh Tate

Bears- problem is the solution???

 
pollinator
Posts: 226
Location: Kachemak Bay, Alaska (usda zone 6, ahs heat zone 1, lat 59 N, coastal, koppen Dfc)
26
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Lorinne Anderson wrote:
The Bear Aware programs are the only logical way forward, long term, particularly long term, in my opinion. The truth is, this is a people problem, NOT an animal problem, in my opinion.



I think your statement is right on.  I've really been enjoying my study of black bears and Bear Aware/ Bear smart info and practices.  Key takeaways for me so far in terms of action are electric fencing and human dominance techniques  if appropriate- bear doing something that could get it into trouble-(we normally only have black bears here).  In terms of knowledge the most salient points for me so far are how timid and peaceful black bears normally are, and that bear spray is a safer and more effective deterrent in a rare attack situation than firearms statistically.  Thanks for all your expert input on this thread.  I hope I can show by example that there is a way to peacefully coexist with bears while growing food. The more I learn about them, the less I fear them, and the more I love and respect them.  
 
gardener
Posts: 2732
Location: Fraser River Headwaters, Zone3, Lat: 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
450
hugelkultur forest garden fungi trees books food preservation bike solar woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

The truth is, this is a people problem, NOT an animal problem, in my opinion.

With all due respect, while it's possible to be both truth and opinion, I'm thinking its mostly opinion but I honestly get your point, and largely I agree with this opinion and share it, and I understand your reservations and arguments about my idea fully and completely.  And I sympathize with your way of thinking.  I'm trying to think outside of that box of our shared opinion so that I can address the fact that human disruption exists on a scale on this planet at this time in ways that are unprecedented.  There are so many ways in which humans disrupt bear habitat and behavior that are not covered in Bear Aware that need to be addressed before Bear Aware is going to be The Answer.  So much needs to change about our other management decisions to really make Bear Aware as effective as it should be.  Bears are creatures of habit just as we are. We actually have a great deal in common.  I understand the habitual nature of bears and that they can get a scent from an incredible distance. There are many things that we can do to help or change the situation favorably.  

The OP mentions a lot of possible factors that contributed to the epic bear year that their community is experiencing.  If we stopped eradicating wolves, for instance, there would be way more natural predation on bear cubs.  if we didn't encroach on habitat with massive clear-cuts we would not have as many forced into towns.  Also if we didn't clearcut we wouldn't have these massive berry patches exploding with fruit that produce the boom and bust/feast or famine situations based on fickle climate factors like frost or pollination or hail or... If we didn't silt the salmon redds (spawning areas-usually with small gravels and large sands in shallow water) with improper road building and logging practices then there would be more consistent calory rich supplies for their winter stores.  Same with better national and international and provincial fishing policies... which have reduced our stocks in numbers that bring to mind the bison and the passenger pigeon.  If we didn't have to tranquilize and remove bears to remote areas (where they will almost inevitably be dropped into another bear's territory), then they would be less territorial conflicts pushing future bears toward towns and villages.  The list could fill a thread, I'm sure, but it comes down to a lot of mismanagement in a lot of different fields of human enterprise that result in habitat disruption or destruction or encroachment of some form or another, and that is why I largely agree with your opinion. This is a human problem.

The problem, the way I see it, is also that the human habitat area will inevitably be directly bordered by bear territory almost everywhere in this province and in quite a few states, and bears are wandering omnivores with incredible noses, and they are territorial.  There will always be bears in those areas, and the bears know that these areas (because of human activity) are less favorable (they enjoy conflict even less than people do), so the dominant bears territorially push the younger less dominant ones out of the remote areas or the areas of greater natural abundance, and some of these that get pushed out will end up heading toward the less favored territory around the towns.  To make matters worse still is that these younger bears have less experience with people and are more apt to get themselves into situations that are problematic.  That's how it works, or at least how it was explained to me by a bear control guy and it totally makes sense based on my 50 years of living and or recreating in bear country.  And the bears will keep coming, regardless of how we do anything with bear aware or the status quo of all of the multitude of human mismanagement strategies, because of the territorial and competitive nature of bears which is an inherent part of bear culture/instinct/behavior and this is especially brought out in the absence of consistent abundant food sources.  Unless we eradicate humans or dramatically alter our behavior that affects them, we will be encroaching on bear territory.

In my opinion not allowing humans to hunt bears is far worse than our effects of hunting them.  Humans have always hunted bears and have always protected their homes from them.  Our habitat borders on their territory and our myriad dysfunctional practices have influenced and will continue to influence their whole territory, their food sources, and their behavior.  To top this all off, they don't understand our borders or practices (yards backing onto wilderness, logging practices, lack of salmon in the once abundant rivers) unless we have dogs or electric fences, or we act aggressively with guns and bear bangers et cetera while also following Bear Aware protocols, or we seriously rethink permaculturally in hundreds if not thousands of different ways that have negative influences in their lives, so that we can have more of a positive relationship.  

The trick may be in limiting the territorial extent of influence that this consistent food source has regionally. This might be done by placing or encouraging a mature sow or boar to dominate thecompost/orchard area, or creating several of these compost situations for a few dominant bears to dominate locally, keeping other bears out while coupling that with salmonid enhancement, selective forestry practices, and reduced fishing pressures, and....  and...et cetera, and ad nauseam because humanity is idiotic on an epic scale.  

Abundance?
Plant more, in hopes they can't eat it all? (and hope your place doesn't become bear Mecca)
Maybe plant more, but not in your zone 1... maybe out beyond your zone 5... or somewhere wild to lure them elsewhere? (not suggesting trespass or planting closer to someone else, although if someone else's hunting reduced the local bear population for you...)

 So here's a spur on this idea with mine.  Take a very large and somewhat near clear-cut area outside of town but near enough to town that it acts as both a lure toward town and away from it at the same time and turn it into a very diverse orchard, fenced off for a few years to get it really happening, and productive.  It could be 1/4 stocked with super dwarf trees grafted with fast fruiting varieties to start with to get the area productive faster.   Then basically cell-graze the bears with strongly built and properly maintained electrified fences, allowing them access from a central path system, only opening enough so that they are not competing too much territorially within the area, but so that they are also not needing to come to town because the food scent and source is much stronger here, and there is no lack of abundance.  Humans could harvest in bear excluded areas of the orchard as well as be hired or volunteer to gather wind-throws or damaged fruit to dump in bear inclusion zones.  Again, large stands could be built to safely and selectively cull the population if it begins to expand too much because of the steady food source, and the cell that is available can be adjusted in size to decrease or increase food area availability depending on the needs of the bear community(depending on how hungry (skinny) they are), or whether the population explodes to the point that the people are equipped or staffed to fully deal with a larger cull.
 
pollinator
Posts: 485
Location: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
203
dog
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Roberto: we agree on so much! I guess my deviation is when dealing with encouraging a "bait" site. I find it hard to believe they will stick with what is "offered" and eshew the local garbage day, compost piles and fruit trees...

But other than that, especially with the warm and fuzzy idea of "relocation" we are totally on the same page (dumping a bear in another's territory is not right for either animal!). I also think the strategies I mention and the "people problem" comment are for less rural and more residential areas - that is where it is critical that people do their part in NOT enticing bears inadvertently by careless behaviors.

A sparsely populated or very rural setting would ask for and require more rigorous defense, as there is plenty of opportunity for the bear to AVOID the humans assuming they are not being careless with attractants.
 
gardener
Posts: 587
Location: Ontario - Gardening in zone 3b, 4b, or 6b, depending on the day
340
dog foraging trees tiny house books bike bee
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
In my experience, if there is a local source of unprotected garbage, bears are way more active locally.they are wanderers and foragers, and don't respect "stay over there" when the same stuff is over with you! . The one place I was where there was an open dump, the bears considered humans to be food providers and unscary, and it was a major problem. One woman was chased down the road in her truck because she was carrying garbage on the way to the dump. The Bears were unafraid of vehicles, which were just dinner delivery systems, and car horns were dinner bells  

As a fun anecdote for the wide range of bears, that area used to relocate problem bears many km down the road - I want to say 40 km. They would mark the bear with spray paint, and the joke was that the bear would be back before the truck as it took a more direct route. Not exactly true, but marked bears did show back up.

Based on that, I would be very wary about keeping any sort of bait area within several kilometers of where I wanted to grow fruit.
 
Roberto pokachinni
gardener
Posts: 2732
Location: Fraser River Headwaters, Zone3, Lat: 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
450
hugelkultur forest garden fungi trees books food preservation bike solar woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Roberto: we agree on so much

 Yes. I agree.  ;)

I guess my deviation is when dealing with encouraging a "bait" site.  I find it hard to believe they will stick with what is "offered" and eshew the local garbage day, compost piles and fruit trees...

 I would suggest ( and I think I did somewhere in my overly wordy posts! ) that the community agrees to not have fruit trees on individual plots of land but to have an extensive community-run food forest/orchard (most local trees that already exist could all be removed and transplanted with an industrial tree spade), and as mentioned at the end of my last post this large orchard could (probably should) be outside of town and could also be 'shared' by the bears; This latter would be accomplished if it was large enough to cordon off areas with proper high voltage electric fencing for cell grazing.  The problem:  Fruit trees attract bears, becomes the solution, Fruit orchard outside of town attracts bear to hang out away from town.

Also, Bokashi type fermenting could be incentivized for waste foods, and the compost could all be brought from kitchen pails to this same orchard site, or to community bear proof bins, where it was trucked to site.  The problem, compost materials can be smelly becomes the solutiion, high quality lactic acid ferments are added to the green waste recycling of the community.  All green waste could be binned in bear proof commuity bins and then brought to the orchard site to be shredded for compost.  

The things that make garbage smelly ( and thus bear attractants ) are things that should be composted or done with bokashi and then composted.  Garbage is primarily not smelly if it is cleaned post-consumer plastic, most of which will likely be phased out with regulations in the next decade or two.  metals shoudl be washed and recycled.  Glass jars, cleaned and recycled.  What is garbage but resources that we have failed to close the loop on?  Those loops can and likely will be closed in time with better holistic decision making and permacultural design.

All wood waste could be burned or made into char, and the heat could be used to recycle glass and metal into sellable bricks or ingots, Methan from the compost could be captured and used to fuel the chipper shredder, or other machines.
gift
 
6 Ways To Keep Chickens - pdf download
will be released to subscribers in: soon!
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic