Corey Schmidt

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since Jun 29, 2015
Kachemak Bay, Alaska (usda zone 6, ahs heat zone 1, lat 59 N, coastal, koppen Dfc)
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Recent posts by Corey Schmidt

Lorinne Anderson wrote:
The Bear Aware programs are the only logical way forward, long term, particularly long term, in my opinion. The truth is, this is a people problem, NOT an animal problem, in my opinion.

I think your statement is right on.  I've really been enjoying my study of black bears and Bear Aware/ Bear smart info and practices.  Key takeaways for me so far in terms of action are electric fencing and human dominance techniques  if appropriate- bear doing something that could get it into trouble-(we normally only have black bears here).  In terms of knowledge the most salient points for me so far are how timid and peaceful black bears normally are, and that bear spray is a safer and more effective deterrent in a rare attack situation than firearms statistically.  Thanks for all your expert input on this thread.  I hope I can show by example that there is a way to peacefully coexist with bears while growing food. The more I learn about them, the less I fear them, and the more I love and respect them.  
2 months ago

Reading through the Lynn Rogers links above communicating with and coming to an understanding with bears seems a bit less of a fantasy and more of a potential reality.  There is also a paper in the links above posted by Echo that was a study of a diversionary feeding program, and it worked well with black bears.
He also claimed in another paper that 1 black bear in 950,000 kills someone vs 1 person in about 18,000.  I assume this is a per year statistic.  
and on a side note, I looked into the Defenders electric fence incentive program, and its legitimate for my area and some others down south, and I got on the list, I will just need to send receipts and photos of the fence and get reimbursed for half.  I'm at the stage of choosing a battery powered charger.
2 months ago
Thank you, Echo!  that link is a real gold mine.  I was not aware of the work of Lynn Rogers, and I'm quite impressed.
2 months ago

C West wrote:Corey,  I must admit I didn't read the last handful of replies.  We are neighbors!  I'm 18 miles East of Homer (by road).

I've had no bear encounters on my homestead in the past 4 years which I suspect is due to a long history of the neighbors shooting anything with teeth (not relevant to your issue).  I use polywire electric fence to protect my delicious pastured ducks, chickens, and sheep.  So far its confirmed to deter dogs and my belief is it would deter bear.  I know electric fence is not the creative answer you were looking for but wait...there's more!

Did you know that you can get 50% of your electric fence cost reimbursed up to $500 in Alaska?
The Defenders of Wildlife have an Electric Fence Incentive Program.
check it out - note it looks to only be advertised for 2020 as of now, so maybe move quick if you decided to take that route.

I rotationally graze a small pasture so I have a perimeter fence which is 5 strands of poly wire held on tposts with plastic clips, and inside the fence my flocks are each inside of an "electronet" that I bought years ago from Premier1 fencing (who's alaska shipping costs are insane - I got mine while living in Oregon).  I use a solar fence charger for the moving electronets and a stationary charger hanging from a tpost covered with a 5 gal bucket for the perimeter.  I owned all of my equipment before knowing about the Defenders of Wildlife program so haven't gone through their funding process myself.

One of the age old after apple trees but before guns methods was to have outdoor dogs working in packs.  

Best of luck.

Thanks for your post!  That is great info about the electric fence incentive as I'm planning on setting one up so by the time my trees are bearing they don't contribute to bears becoming 'anthropogenic food conditioned'.  So you've probably just saved me some money! I've been studying and particularly a pdf guide I found there titled "responding to human-black bear conflicts: a guide to non-lethal bear management techniques" and the idea of training black bears to 'stay out of trouble' is satisfying my hunger for a creative non-violent solution, and it seems electric fencing can play a big role in this. My dream that inspired this thread would be that they not only leave my trees alone but also somehow do some free labor for me, if they happen to be in the neighborhood...  But I will be really happy if I can just get achieve the first part of that and not contribute to them getting shot by providing them with an easy meal.  My neighbors have some things in common with yours it seems, so I don't expect to see many bears here next year, at least.   We are also lucky in a way to only have black bears here, no grizzlies for many years.  Thanks again and all the best to you.
3 months ago

Lorinne Anderson wrote:NOTE: Just how do companies secure "predator urine" such as wolf?

I can only assume it is similar to the procedure used to collect "Pregnant Mare Urine" aka Premarin, by keeping them contained and catheterized to collect said urine. I, personally, have ethical issues with this....

Honey, aloe, or an aloe/honey combo beneath the plastic cling film would be an excellent alternative to actual burn cream.

Here is the link to the page where they tell how they get the urine
they claim its from the drains in enclosures.

I like to pull out comfrey stalks and crush them to make an instant hand lotion for any kind of injury.  I haven't tried it for heat burns, but it should work for that too.  Putting a catheter in an animal to collect its urine does not sound nice.
3 months ago

S Smithsson wrote:I live in an area with many bears in town.  Most houses dont have garages or anywhere to lock up / put away trash.  I've had bears in my yard, eating bird feed.  Yelling and running at one made it go away.  I have never had one in my garbage, but the neighbors have.  I have house cats and put the litter in the garbage.  Coincidence? I dont think so.  

Perhaps I should sell packets as anti-bear additive.


This is very interesting.  This thread or a different one had a post that linked to a website selling wolf urine as a bear deterrent.  I'm thinking house cat litter should be easier to obtain.
3 months ago
Thank you to all for your responses, both supportive and challenging.  This thread has motivated me to go back to a thorough study of all the conventional approaches to bear risk management, because creative ideas are born of thorough knowledge of a topic.  I am studying all the info at as a starting place.  I have a lot of respect and admiration for the Canadian sources of information on this topic, as they are based on research and practicality and come from a compassionate point of view that values bears intrinsically as well as human aims and activities.
3 months ago

Timothy Markus wrote:

Corey Schmidt wrote:The original question was intended to elicit creative responses 'outside the box', rather than 'this is how you do it', as I feel all the normal ideas about living with bears have been expounded to a high degree elsewhere.

I think we all get that that's what you're looking for but, after dealing with bears for hundreds of thousands of years as hunters and for thousands of years as farmers,  I think there's a reason we use the methods we use to deter bears; they work and have been time-tested.  Often it's not productive to try to re-invent the wheel.  I don't mean to be negative, just realistic.  

Do you have any ideas yourself?  What kind of 'outside the box' solutions have you tried and what were the results?  What have your neighbours said about bear management?

Edit:  I think it's great to try to work with nature instead of against it, which is what you're doing.  Even if something you've used hasn't worked out, you may be able to modify it and add another deterrent.  I think the best strategy with bears is to not let them know what goodies you've got if possible and making the rest hard to get to.  We've got bears here, not as many as you, but they seem to do well on their own, so they don't seem to be much of an issue.  All it takes, though, is one bear who thinks he wants what you have and then you've got a bear problem.  I haven't seen any bears right around my property but I think that the moose may be acting as a deterrent as they love hanging around in the woods.  

good point about time tested methods.  I suppose I'm 'asking for the moon'.  I haven't yet had any truly creative ideas about the bears to try myself.  Just the obvious like minimizing attractants.  I did use ammonia before, and don't know if it worked; maybe the bears stayed away from that situation for other reasons.  Neighbors are surprised at the sudden influx.  I wonder if there are any good ideas from our thousands of years as farmers that have been largely forgotten.  Before guns but after apple trees...  Examples of creative solutions in other areas are the guy who used squirrels to harvest nuts for him, and my idea to relocate hornet's nests, refined over the last 2 summers.
We are lucky to almost never have moose here, I guess the topography discourages them.  I think they are more dangerous to life and garden than bears, though not as feared b/c their teeth aren't pointy.
3 months ago
The original question was intended to elicit creative responses 'outside the box', rather than 'this is how you do it', as I feel all the normal ideas about living with bears have been expounded to a high degree elsewhere.  I think my community is quite 'bear aware'.  Being accessible by boat or floatplane only, we have no 'garbage collection' and I know of no one who deals with their 'garbage' in any way other than keeping it inside their house or locked building until it is hauled to 'town', and limiting attraction to bears is a consideration in every undertaking- people talk about it almost as much as they talk about what kind of toilet they have (outhouses are almost universally preferred). We are used to having a few bears roaming around over the course of the summer, but this year there were more than in the last 40, according to some.  Many hypotheses have been posited- a few good wild berry years leading to a population expansion, a cold winter leading to a higher survival rate due to the bears not dying of being wet, a bad berry year this year, causing the bears to roam more widely in search of food, possible brown bear incursion into black bear territory pushing the blacks down to the coast, and no tourists this year giving the bears a much more peaceful situation to explore... There was no chance for windfall this year; it was a low fruit set year (a friend observed birds plucking apple flowers), and what little there was was harvested green by the bears.  I don't doubt that our exotic fruits, including the 'ornamental' mountain ash, are attracting bears, though it doesn't account for the sudden influx this year. They usually come to eat wild devil's club berries, and even seem to prefer these over the domestic offerings. I have read that some communities have dealt with bear issues in part by creating social pressure against any kind of fruit growing, and wouldn't like to see our community go in that direction.  For now, my neighbors have shot enough bears that incidents have again become rare, and winter is approaching.  Since my personal expenses for alcohol (and, believe it or not, cannabis) for the past 15+ years amount to $0.00,  I may take some of the money I saved and invest in a 2 or 3 joule electric fence system.  But I will continue to be open to 'bright ideas' that can lead to a more symbiotic existence with the bears, whom I love, respect, and fear.  The kind of ideas that make me feel like I'm shirtless, in tight fitting tie-dye pants, riding a she-bear 'bearback' over a rainbow and a glacier, into the sunset, her cubs dashing alongside us, under the light of the full moon and northern lights, while slurping a vegan fruit puree, locally grown and fully organic, harvested by hand at the peak of ripeness according to the biodynamic calendar etc. etc.
3 months ago

Kenneth Elwell wrote:Abundance?
Plant more, in hopes they can't eat it all? (and hope your place doesn't become bear Mecca)
Maybe plant more, but not in your zone 1... maybe out beyond your zone 5... or somewhere wild to lure them elsewhere? (not suggesting trespass or planting closer to someone else, although if someone else's hunting reduced the local bear population for you...)

I honestly know very little about bears.

Yes I think there could be something to the diversion strategy.   And it seems my neighbors who like to eat bears have reduced the bear pressure.  
3 months ago