Tag Archives: black bear

the bear saga continues


Elusive. That’s what this bear is. Well, kind of elusive. We’ve seen him and seen signs of him, but he’s doing a great job avoiding getting trapped in our live bear trap.

Since writing my last post on the bear a few days ago, it’s been a busy bear-related week. The same day that I wrote that blog post (maybe even WHILE I was writing that blog post), the bear came back in the middle of the sunny afternoon and pulled one of our rabbit cages off of our composting units and bent the cage door open. I discovered it, empty, on the ground when I got back to the farm after some work meetings in Langley (photo above). The missing rabbit was our buck (our big papa rabbit). After I had a bit of an emotional melt-down, Chris and I nailed 2x4s across all the other rabbit cages in the hopes that it would keep them safe in case the bear decided to return. Since we haven’t been able to find any traces of the rabbit (unlike the chickens the bear got), we’re (unrealistically?) hoping that it managed to get away while the bear was trying to get it. Rabbits are fast, so you never know…

We also nailed boards across the nesting boxes from the inside of the chicken coop, denying the chickens access to them (who were surprisingly unhappy and vocal about this) in order to protect them from the bear who’s been accessing them from the outside doors to the nesting boxes.

The next day (Wednesday), I saw the bear. I was outside filling up the rabbit feed dishes (middle of a sunny day again) and I saw him in our back pasture, about 20 feet beyond the chicken coop. I scooped up my cats and locked them in the trailer, grabbed a big metal bell and attempted to scare the bear off with the bell and by shouting. No such luck. He looked at me, then ignored me and continued hanging out. He’s not very big. Not a cub, but certainly not full-grown. A teenager bear.

I called up the local wildlife conservatin officer to report him. The fact that he’s been getting our livestock and doesn’t appear to be scared of people isn’t good. They told me they’d come by on Thursday to set up a live bear cage to try to catch him.

He was back that same night, however. After our weekly farm family dinner, I was in bed in my trailer when the cats started acting up. I looked outside and in the light of a sensor light on the barn 20 feet from my trailer, I watched the bear stick his head under the tarp covering our trailer of junk that is meant for the garbage. He found a bag of something enticing, pulled it out and dragged it towards the back forest. When I woke up Thursday morning, there was trash everywhere. He’s gotten into our garbage cans at the back of the house and dragged the bag I saw him with to the back meadow/ forest before tripping it open.

The conservation guys came on Thursday and did a sweep of our property. They found lots of signs of him – bear prints, poo, trash and chicken remains in the forest… They’d been getting a lot of calls from people in our area about this bear, but from what they could tell, he’s made our property his home base. They set up the bear trap and baited it with sardines and molasses and showed us how it works and how to open it if a child or a dog gets into it by mistake. That was 4 days ago and still no bear.

The interesting thing is that he has been back. He got into garbage and compost again yesterday and I actually thought we had caught him because when I got up in the morning and looked, the door to the bear cage was closed. I went out to check it and the cage was empty! He’d gone in, gotten some of the bait and left without getting caught, but caused the door to shut behind him. See. Elusive.

We’ve now heard a number of stories about this bear, including him jumping up and down on the truck of a car up the road that had garbage in it. This teenager is getting into everything!

The sad thing is that when they do catch it, he will have to be euthenized. This isn’t what we wanted at all. We were hoping they could relocate him, but the conservation officers said that because he’s a predator now (eating farm livestock) and showing no fear of people, he’s too dangerous to keep alive. And I learned that relocating doesn’t really work – they always find their way back. It’s sad. The learning lesson for us is that we (and other people in this area) need to do a better job of keeping farm livestock and garbage inaccessible so that the bears stay back in the forests eating what they naturally would,
leaving us and our animals alone, resulting in human/ wildlife harmony (or as close as we can be in harmony in this kind of situation).

bear attack


Photo taken last summer by Murray when the bears were after the scraps in our old compost pile.

For the second time in two weeks, a bear got into our chicken coop last night and took off with one of our chickens (we’ve lost two chickens in total now to this bear). We haven’t seen him ourselves, but our neighbour across the street saw him in her yard and our neighbour to the north had a fence destroyed by him. I suppose it is that time – hibernation is over and the bears are out to play (and eat).

The first time the bear got to our chickens, he came around the north side of the coop (just to the right of where the bears are in the photo above) and climbed over the fence that lines our garlic patch. He pulled down the door to our nesting boxes and pulled a chicken out that way. I discovered the destruction and the remaining features in the morning. I also discovered a trail of chicken feed that led out to our back meadow. The bear had grabbed a feed bag and dragged it out back, along with the chicken’s body – the remains of which weren’t far from the mangled bag.

I nailed up the nesting boxes and until last night, that seemed to have helped (or perhaps the bear just hadn’t tried again until last night). When I went outside this morning, it was like the same scene all over again – ripped open nesting boxes and lots of feathers scattered about.

I’m thankful he has only managed to get one chicken each time and that the other chickens haven’t tried to escape through the open nesting boxes after he leaves (hopefully they’ve been scared into staying where they’re safe – far back in the coop away from the bear’s claws). We do have to do something though – we don’t want to lose any more chickens (I love our chickens!).

I’ve renailed up the nesting boxes, but clearly he’s strong enough to rip them open if he wants to. Time to do more – I’m going to sprinkle cayenne pepper all around the nesting boxes in the hopes that it will deter him if he gets all over his nose. We’re also revisiting the idea of getting another farm dog to help keep watch and scare intruders away. And I think we’ll figure out some more secure fencing options. Cayenne pepper alone probably won’t do the trick.

Now that mr. bear knows we have yummy, free-range chickens, he’s sure to keep coming back…

RIP little chickens.