Last night we got a visit from one of our local bears. It was about 12:45 and Miss Maybelle was vocalizing with her “The Bear is outside Voice”. The motion light had tripped in the drive, and I could see out through the laundry window that the trash can was tipped over and a big furry one was digging his way inside. This phenomenon happens a lot on Sunday nights, since the most common neighborhood trash pickup day is Monday morning. We had a visit a couple of weeks ago, and had some minor trash scattering, so last night was only the second time this year.
Some people put their trash in a shed or garage if they have one, and I have seen many sheds ripped apart because of this. The choice of a damaged $20 plastic trash can or repairing the door to a $2500 shed seems like a no-brainier to me. We generate a very small amount of trash, so it is not uncommon to only take the can to the green boxes once a month or so. The weekly service that most of my neighbors subscribe to is simply a huge overkill and unnecessary expense for us.
This is the disclaimer part….
I love having wildlife in the neighborhood, and bears, mountain lions and foxes are the more common and larger animals. I just don’t want them to become “trained” to feed on man-made food, trash etc. They are wild animals and should eat wild food. Some of my neighbors actually “feed” the foxes. The only animals we feed are the birds.
To “retrain” the local bears I have been going outside and smacking a broom on the side of the house when they visit…my presence and the noise drives them off. Miss Maybelle’s barking has no effect as a deterrent, nor the peeps from the little dogs. I could take out one of my revolvers and fire a shot into the hillside or the ground to drive them off…but this is both dangerous to them and illegal (my house is in the city limits and the discharging of a fire arm is a no-no).
Plan “B ” was hatched as an automatic and nearly instantaneous event that will allow “re-training” to occur while we are here or not. The MacGyver in me had me design and build a device today…after being awake some time last night….I picked up the materials at Home Depot today…cost was about $4.50. I did some prototype testing and found a method that is both quick and harmless. The idea came from how people have made “dry ice bombs” with soda bottles. My modification uses a minute charge of black powder with an electric ignition. Just enough charge to rupture the bottle’s bottom and make a bit of noise. This powder charge is less than 1/2 of what I would use for a single .44 cal. round in one of my black powder revolvers…and of course there is NO projectile.
The trip wire is connected to the garbage can lid and its mere weight will flip the switch that ignites the charge. The string that is connected to the switch is actually tied through a 1/8″ hole drilled through the toggle. My hope is that any tampering with the can will release the lid. The lid trigger is well out of the reach of any of our dogs so there is no risk of a “false alarm”.
In the video I temporarily hooked up the dog cable to test the firing. The noise charge is now taped to the side of the shed and directed downward.