Living with Bears ... and Horses (How To)

by Kenny K, Sunday, November 12, 2017, 07:32 (310 days ago)

As you might recall, I don't actually live in Northeast Wisconsin ... yet. My wife & I built our retirement home near Lakewood, but won't be able to move there permanently for a few more years.

My wife has a good friend from work who retired and now just happens to live down the block from our place up north (not at all planned - just one of those quirky coincidences). Yesterday she texted my wife and told her that they got snow, and that they found 11" wide bear prints across their yard.

A few years back we were sitting in our living room and had a black bear and her two cubs walk across the front of our house - maybe 30 feet from the front of the house.

We have two horses and two dogs (55 lbs), and they will move up with us when the time comes. The thought of having black bears roaming around has my wife kind of worried.

Are there any precautions you take regarding bears during your day-to-day activities? Will they bother 55 lb dogs in a mesh fence yard? or will they most likely just avoid them?

I know there are some horse folks on this message board. Is there any concern that bears will hurt the horses? We'll fence off maybe 5 acres. I'd like to put up the high tension cable fencing (not sure if that's the right term), but my wife wants to put up mesh fencing with an electric wire along the top (to protect the fence). My thinking is that I want critters to be able to go under the fence and I fear we'll constantly be fighting the vegetation shorting the electric wire. Any thoughts from horse folks?

Thanks for sharing your bear experiences. (I don't need to know your "bare" experiences!!)


Living with Bears ... and Horses

by Suzie Q @, Sunday, November 12, 2017, 13:01 (310 days ago) @ Kenny K

As if bears aren't enough, there is concern about cougars which I think might be more likely to get horses.

Living with Bears ... and Horses

by sparky @, Sunday, November 12, 2017, 20:52 (309 days ago) @ Suzie Q

My daughter lives up near Athelstane and has to quit feeding birds in the spring and summer. She had bears come right up on her porch. In the winter they hibernate so you're safe then... Actually I have never heard of a bear killing a horse around here. But you have to watch over them I'm sure.

Living with Bears ... and Horses

by Kenny K, Monday, November 13, 2017, 07:36 (309 days ago) @ sparky

I've heard you're best storing your barbecue grill in the garage to avoid bears and other critters getting into it. I assume its similar with garbage cans - with food scraps.

Living with Bears ... and Horses

by Suzie Q @, Monday, November 13, 2017, 07:56 (309 days ago) @ Kenny K

/a few years back a bear tried to break through the chicken wire enclosure my sister had for her chickens. Really munged the fence up, but chickens were locked in the coop so no loss of fowl. Not too far from Lee Lake.

However, my daughter and her husband live near Klondike and have on more than one occasion had their horses break out of their enclosure. They believe bears may have come out of the woods and spooked them. Whether the bear would have actually attacked the horses is anyones guess.

Living with Bears ... and Horses

by waupeefarm, Tuesday, November 14, 2017, 04:09 (308 days ago) @ Kenny K

I think sunflower seeds are the most wanted by the bears. A number of years back we had sunflowers seeds n a shed and a bg mamma bear would tear the door of the hinges to get to the seeds. W e got the seeds of the property and the bear problem stopped. Note this was n the spring time.

Living with Bears ... and Horses

by Kenny K, Tuesday, November 14, 2017, 09:59 (308 days ago) @ waupeefarm

Wow! That is really good to know.

Living with Bears ... and Horses

by jackpine, Tuesday, November 14, 2017, 13:32 (308 days ago) @ Kenny K

Kenny I live in Townsend you are talking about bear do you mean like this[image]

Living with Bears ... and Horses

by nan6649, Tuesday, November 14, 2017, 14:36 (308 days ago) @ jackpine

WOW, nice picture !

Living with Bears ... and Horses

by Kenny K, Tuesday, November 14, 2017, 16:54 (308 days ago) @ jackpine

Wow!! I didn't know they run in packs!

Living with Bears ... and Horses

by jackpine, Tuesday, November 14, 2017, 17:48 (308 days ago) @ Kenny K

They were brothers and sisters. That was one years set of cubs. The female bear we have around here has 3 of 4 cubs at a time.

Living with Bears ... and Horses

by EM, Tuesday, November 14, 2017, 19:04 (308 days ago) @ Kenny K

I don't think you have much to worry about with black bears . They are more of a nuisance and a bother than a threat . Grizzly's are all together different , they have no issue taking out livestock . I think your biggest threat comes from wolves and coyotes . There were incidents in the Suring area with wolves and livestock not too long ago .

Living with Bears ... and Horses

by Kenny K, Wednesday, November 15, 2017, 19:40 (307 days ago) @ EM

Your post made me look up information on wolves and cougars in the Wisconsin DNR website.

Since 2000 there have been "wolf damage payments" 15 horses/donkeys, and 117 cows. It looks like calves are the biggest livestock target - over 1300 actual or missing calves. The information indicates that the biggest food source for wolves is white tail deer. The good news is that wolves target the sick and weak, rather than the big and strong, so I'm confident that wolf predation has to be a good thing for the deer - in the long run.

It looks like cougars are still pretty few and far between in Wisconsin. There were sightings in Oconto county in 2010. It looks like there have been a number of sightings - via trail cameras (same cougar?) in central Wisconsin in 2017.

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