Learn how to deter bears

Bear Safety Tips

Keep Bears Out of Homes & Businesses

Explore These Solutions

Bear-Resistant Trash Containers

Bear-Resistant Barriers
Electric fences, Trash enclosures, Unwelcome mats

Other Bear Deterrents
Guard Animals, Scare Devices

Does deer repellent work on bears?

Bear-Resistant Products

Purchase Bear-Resistant Products

Regular trash cans and dumpsters may look sturdy, but  special reinforcement is necessary to withstand a determined black bear (see What Makes A Dumpster Bear-Resistant? for a description of bear-resistant dumpsters). The upfront cost is worth it when considering replacement of ruined garbage containers and time spent picking up scattered trash. Your action on behalf of bears will make a difference for bears and your community.

If your waste service provider does not offer bear-resistant container, you can purchase one. Before buying, ask your waste service provider if they will service it.

Where to buy:

More than 100 manufacturers produce trash containers, dumpsters, canisters, coolers and other products that have been tested and certified bear-resistant by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC).  Visit IGBC’s website or download their 2023 list.

  • Backpacking and small storage contains
  • Panniers and boxes
  • Coolers
  • Garbage containers, food storage lockers, recycling units
  • also contains specifications for electric fences

Do-It-Yourself Containers

Some containers can be made black bear-resistant with materials purchased from local hardware stores. These flyers offer several do-it-yourself methods.

Contact your local fish and game officer for other recommendations.

(Photo: FWC)

Bear-Resistant Barriers

Electric Fences Keep Bears Out

Power Up to Protect. It’s the safe, effective, long-term solution to protecting your stuff from bears:

Garbage, Compost | Chickens, Small Livestock | Beehives | Fruit Trees, Edible Gardens | Buildings, Cabins, RVs

Watch what happens when a nosy bear meets an electric fence. (Video courtesy of New Hampshire Fish & Game Department)
electric fence around chicken coop
electric-fence protect beehives

Trash Can Enclosures

Trash can enclosures (also called “caddies”) are strong metal or wooden sheds that secure your trash cans from wildlife and can hold your garbage until it is ready for pickup.

Download the “Bear-Resistant Garbage Can Caddy” instructions to build a wooden bear-resistant shed to store your trash cans.

Unwelcome Mats

Unwelcome mats are sheets of plywood with sharp nails or screw points sticking through that make it impossible for a bear to stand or walk.

The purpose is to keep a bear from standing in front of a door or window and using its weight and dexterity to break through into a building.

The mat must be wide enough to keep a bear from leaning from one edge and reaching a door knob, hasp or a window latch. Download “How to build an unwelcome mat” for more information.

Watch this bear, caught on a nighttime security camera, as he tries to get into a door that is protected by an unwelcome mat. He eventually gives up! This bear had discovered a lunch break room, and learned to pull open the door, enter and feast. The mat worked, and the bear did not return. (Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries)

Tie Down Your Beehives

The tie-down method of securing beehives has been highly successful in remote areas and in neighborhoods with high black bear traffic.

Download the “Tied-Down Bee Hives” do-it-yourself flyer for more information.

tied-down beehives
Heavy-duty cargo straps with metal fasteners are best.

Other Bear Deterrents

Guard Animals

To keep livestock safe from bears, consider adding guard animals as part of your overall risk management strategy. A dog, donkey, or llama may protect livestock in large pastures from bears, coyotes and other potential predators.

Guard animals are most effective as deterrents, not as attackers of bears. Livestock guardian dogs only need to be formidable enough for black bears to leave your property to find an easier meal. If you’re interested in purchasing livestock guard dogs, certain breeds may be better for preventing bear predation. Please research breeds and suitability before committing to a guard animal.

Learn more:

Word of caution: Just as a house alarm can’t guarantee there won’t be break-ins, a livestock guard animals can’t guarantee there won’t be animal losses. No one deterrent, including livestock guardian dogs, is 100% effective. To lower risk of livestock predation, apply several methods in combination with a guard animal. Examples include electric fencing, carcass removal and penning during birthing season.

Scare Devices

Scare devices can frighten wary bears from livestock corrals, and orchards. Those devices include night lights, strobe lights, loud music, pyrotechnics, exploder canons, and scarecrows. However, the positions should be changed frequently or bears will overcome their fear and ignore them to get their desired food.

Innovative Solutions to Human-Wildlife Conflicts National Wildlife Research Center: Accomplishments, 2016” also offers reviews of recent research about scare devices and livestock predators