Temporary turbo-fladry set up alongside existing electric fence.

Installing Electric Fence Around Attractants

Electric fence has proven to be an effective method for keeping bears separated from attractants like garbage, beehives, and livestock. A good shock is the best way to teach bears to keep away. To-date, dozens of electric fences have been constructed on ranches around calving areas, around homesites, and garbage transfer sites throughout the Blackfoot watershed to prevent bears from accessing attractants.

With wolves in particular, turbo-fladry electric fence is used. The interspersed flags waving in the wind causes a “psychological avoidance response” in wolves and they prefer to steer clear. Some Blackfoot ranches utilize fladry during the calving season when young calves are most vulnerable. 

The Blackfoot Challenge offers funding to help with a part of the cost of installing electric fences around bear attractants in the Blackfoot watershed, including homesites, livestock holding pens, bee yards, fruit orchards, and gardens. Contact us if you’d like to learn more about this program.

Electric Drive-Over Mats

In collaboration with ranchers and partner agencies, the Challenge has been testing and developing electrified drive-over mats for the last few years. When used in combination with 5-wire electric fence, these mats reduce the need for individuals to constantly open and close gates when coming and going from ranch homesites, pastures and calving areas. These mats are now making their way onto ranches throughout the Blackfoot as another method to reduce potential conflicts with grizzly bears. This short video showcases this new technology, produced by Rob Green and with support from the Natural Resource Conservation Service, the US Fish & Wildlife Service and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.