Posts Tagged ‘noise maker’

Home vs. Bear for the year

Last night we woke to the bang that I have been expecting for a few weeks now.  Months ago I set up a “bear deterrent” using a trip wire and some black powder.  You can see the video and read about it in this previous post.

Last night at about 3:45 Yogi came for a snack but got something a bit more exciting, after this little surprise he left in a big hurry. I got up and looked outside just after the bang, there was no sign of him anywhere.  I was also surprised to not find a pile of bear shit in the drive this morning, as if this would have happened to a human or some lesser creature it would have scared the crap out of them.

The unit performed perfectly…the can’ s lid was not even disturbed, but he noise maker fired, and loudly. This morning we proceeded with our normal routine and  did not have to pick up any mess.  Yogi has learned his first lesson here on Doe Trail… you don’t mess with OUR trash can.  Sunday nights are the most common for Yogi visits as most people have Monday morning trash pick up.

The image above reflects the score as it stands this year.  Months ago he got into our trash and the idea dawned on me as how I might prevent this in the future.  The black powder / electrically ignited noise maker device was born.  The test firing worked perfectly, then a few weeks later we had some late snow that caused the string to sag and cause a misfire.  I  repaired that and re-set the device with a little more slack.  It was a few weeks after that that he ravaged our can for the second time this year.  I was bummed that the unit did not fire.  With a careful examination I discovered a minor problem. Despite my caulking of the wires and lid assembly water had cascaded down the power cable and got my powder wet.  So in the moment of need the old pioneer adage “Keep your powder dry” hit home dearly.  That morning I had a big mess to clean up and vowed to persevere.

Bear deterrent 2.0 had me invert the bottle with a loop of ignition wire below.  Any rain (and we have had a lot these last few weeks) would never enter the powder packet or noise maker chamber.  Lasts nights BOOM proved this nicely.   I will reset a new noise maker device and repeat my upside down placement.   The next boom should even the score at 2 to 2 and then I can reset and try for the season win.  If this is indeed the same bear…I think he may finally wise up and look for more natural foods, or more likely, the neighbors can.

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One of the furry ones from a few years ago, heading up my neighbors drive

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.

Trip wire on the lid, with a simple disconnect for loading / unloading.

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