Bear visitors and what you can do about them

Unexpected, unwanted, large wildlife are showing up in southwest Manitoba this fall. One report said that a couple of black bears were interrupted while ripping into a farmer’s silage bales near Kenton.

Silage, cut and baled green, must stay wrapped in plastic to undergo the fermentation process necessary to preserve them for future feeding. In a year of short feed supplies, this damage is not taken lightly.

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Janine Stewart, the Human-Wildlife Conflict officer advised that there is a provision under the Wildlife Act, that if a bear is damaging property, landowners can remove the bear. If a bear is shot in defense of humans, property, or livestock, Manitoba Conservation should be notified immediately, within 10 days. Conservation will tell you what to do with the carcass. In Virden the office number is 204-748-4240.

On the prevention side, Stewart advised, “They can also use electric fencing as an option.”  Portable fencing may be necessary for feed and livestock yards. Honey producers know all too well that they must protect their hives.

A recommended resource is: Living with Wildlife Foundation’s “Electric Fencing to Deter Predators”, https://lwwf.org/resource-guides.

To keep a hungry bear with thick fur out of something that smells as delicious as silage, a corn patch, your chicken house, household garbage or ripe apples, you need a certain “zap” – a minimum of .7 joules. The link provides instructions for grounding the fence (a galvanized steel rod between six and 10 feet in length, driven into the ground) and other details.

Just as campers are warned, “minimize the attractants,” says Stewart.

In recent years more farmers are growing corn. These stands provide both shelter and a food source for these omnivores.

In the Virden area, each year Manitoba Sustainable Development receives on average less than 10 reported sightings of bear. In 2018 and again this year just over a dozen sightings have been reported.

© Virden Empire-Advance

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