It's been a contest of wits and we've been losing. Letting Polly the horse clean up all the apples on the ground led to the bear, deprived of easy apples, destroying the dog food container and eating half the dog food. Moving the dog food container into the back room resulted in the dog food automatic feeder, hung on the inside of the llama fence not far from where the ill-fated dog food container used to sit, being hauled out across the top of the fence and dismantled. The bear, after ripping the feeder apart, ate all the dog food. This was the scene that greeted us the morning of October 10.
Johnny repaired the feeder and we now keep it in the back room at night, bringing it back out during the day. That's okay, but having the feeder plus the dog food sacks in the back room was a bit much. So Johnny created a new dog food container out of an old steel garbage can and secured the lid with heavy hinges and bolts. We put it back where it was outside, convenient for filling the feeder. So far, so good. Pictured is the repaired dog feeder and the newly created dog food tin.
(Obviously, our guard llamas aren't much help against bears and the bear is either unable to read or not impressed.)
We worried that the bear, deprived of expensive dog food, would go after the cheaper chicken food inside an easily accessible garbage can in the chicken house. So every night, Johnny puts his bearicade in place. It is a heavy sheet of plywood held upright by a clamp attached by rope to the garden tractor inside the chicken house/garden shed. To date, the bear has not attacked the bearicade.
For two nights, we have seen no bear scat or vomit around our house. Hopefully, he has moved on. Before moving on, however, he found our bee hive. Several years ago, wild bees took over a wood duck nest box we had hung high on a tree.
Their comb and honey grew so heavy that it finally pulled the box off the tree and into the little creek below. I drug it out of the creek and we hauled it up on the bank, out of flood reach. The bees have been living happily there ever since. Until the bear found them. Bears love honey.
We are not the only ones in the neighborhood with bear problems. Our nearest neighbors across the arboretum fence had a mother/mother-in-law come visit and camp in their yard. She intended to camp for two nights. But the morning after the first night, she woke to find the food from her two coolers, or what little was left of her food, strung all over the yard. She moved indoors.
Mostly, the neighborhood bear delinquents hit garbage cans. We have no outdoor garbage cans (since we compost or feed the chickens/llamas/sheep/goats all leftovers) but we keep dog food and chicken food in garbage cans. Here's hoping the bearicade holds.