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Can Bears Climb Fences? (Read This First!)

Bears are nature’s tanks. They are formidable and relatively not aggressive by nature. However, when it comes to the safety of their cubs, they will become aggressive.

Also, if they need to protect their food, some species of bears will become more aggressive. Bears despite their size are agile creatures. No human can outrun them, and thus the idea of them coming into our property can be scary.

There are multiple ways to deter bears from coming inside our property be it for finding shelter or in search of food. Let us go over some of the ways we can protect homes from wild bears.

Can bears climb fences?

Fences are essentially not something that can stop bears from coming in. Bears are capable of climbing most of the fences. There are multiple footages to back this claim. Bears can be seen even climbing sturdy fences in order to get to the other side in search of food.

Bears are formidable creatures that are more than capable of looking intimidating and large. They are agile and fatal when they need to be. They can outrun any humans. Even Usain Bolt will be only able to beat a lumbering polar bear.

Fences to them are not obstacles that they cannot overcome if they wanted to. Black bears for example are excellent climbers and the young ones have been seen to leap from one to another.

There are videos on the internet that show these incidents and even one where a black bear is seen to climb a real fence. These animals seem to not care about anything that’s in front of them while searching for food.

There are some different kinds of fences that are good against some particular animal, but are they good against bears? Let us find that out below.

Chain link fences:

Black bears seem to have climbed over 7ft chain link fences with ease. 

However, areas with lower concentrations of bears or bears that have not been exposed to food sources yet, are places where chain-link fences have proven to be successfully kept out bears. 

The best way to ensure the bears do not enter we need something better than these fences.

Vinyl fences:

Vinyl fence is a type of fence that is cheaper than a wood fence even. These are not fences that are able to keep bears at bay in any way whatsoever.

They are very weak and provide no other benefit than a normal wooden fence. Thus, having them installed for protection from bears will be an insult to the bears.

Wire fences:

If it is a normal wire fence, then the probability of a wire crossing the fence is not out of the picture. However, if the wire is charged with electricity, then it is the best way to keep bears away from the property.

Wood fences:

The most basic kind of fence. These fences do not offer much of anything when it comes to stopping wildlife from entering properties.

It is better if we do not install any wooden fences if we want other wildlife. Especially if the threat of the area is a bear.

How high can bears jump?

Even though bears are large creatures they are fairly agile creatures for their size. An average adult bear can run from 35-40km/h and easily outrun an average human. However, luckily for us, they cannot jump very well vertically.

Bears cannot jump using their back legs while standing at one point. But they are able to jump on all fours and they are great leapers.

Either way, bears generally do not jump over something that will not get in their way. Because jumping requires a lot of energy. A grizzly bear for example can jump over 4ft easily and twice its stride horizontally.

How high should a fence be to keep bears out?

We already know that bears are not good at jumping vertically. They cannot reach anything that is above 7½ft up. On the other hand, fences to keep bears out is another thing.

Fences in general are not good enough to keep the bears out unless they are very tall or slick. Bears are excellent climbers, especially the black bear is a very agile animal.

Therefore, if we have to use conventional fences to steer away bears then we have to build fences at least 8ft high up.

Can bears climb walls?

When a bear is on its quest to find food, it will stop at nothing even if it comes in front of them. If they feel like it, they will leap, swim, climb or even burrow and make a tunnel to get around obstacles.

A wall will not be able to stop a bear if it is not high enough. They will try to climb over a wall if it impedes them. Bears tend to try to climb things if they deem them to be climbable.

There are videos on the internet about bears even climbing the walls of a canyon, which is quite hard to believe considering their size. However, remarkably they are exceptional climbers.

What kind of fence keeps bears out?

The best kind of fence that will keep bears out from our property is the electrical fence. These fences will provide an electric shock either in a constant flow or in an aperiodic flow of electricity.

Therefore, any bear coming in contact with this fence will get an electric shock. Normally the scenario unfolds in a way where the bear comes close and senses the electricity and leaves.

Under normal circumstances, the electric fence functions as an open circuit with consecutive pulses of electricity that are delivered by the energizer. These are sent through the charged wires of our fence.

How to discourage bears from climbing fences?

If the fences that we set up aren’t helping us keep the bears out. We need to take other steps that can help us steer clear of the bears. These are not all permanent solutions.

However, these are some of the ways it might help us have the best chance of avoiding the bears. Let us go below to know what others steps we could take.

Put away trash cans:

It is a way to avoid a bear coming to our property. Bears in search of food can smell the contents of our trash can. Keeping trash cans in an enclosed area like the garage or basement can help with this situation.

Clean the grill:

Leftovers from a previous grilling session. If we do not clean up after we use the grill, the bears are able to smell the leftovers from afar.

Do not use Bird Feeder:

Birds feeders are a good way for bears to have a snack. Therefore, having them around will not be a good idea. No matter what the watching of birds and other wildlife is worth, it is not worth the risk of attracting bears.

How to build a fence bears can’t climb?

Since we know we have to install an electric fence to deter the bears from our property. Hence, we made an easy brief list of steps to follow below. These steps will allow us to easily build an electric fence that can be used.

Dig the Holes:

Dig holes that are going to support the poles we will install. These holes need to be no more than 8ft apart. The holes should have a depth of 12 inches.

Install supporting posts:

Install the supporting poles we need for the fence in the holes we just made earlier. Small amounts of soil are recommended while backfilling the holes.

Prepare a route:

Mark out the route of our fence where the wire will be fenced and also don’t forget to find out the gate area beforehand.


Start the wiring of the fence with them not any more than 8 inches off the ground. The fence should also have 5 strands of wire at least.

Using Electric Fence Insulators:

These are important because they will hold the wire strands in place. Make sure more insulators are installed around the gate.

Dare Products 3359-10 831950 Tube Post Insulator (10 Pack), Black

Starting the Fence Strainers:

This will help us be able to tighten the wire periodically while itself keeps the wire taut.

Fence Shock Electric Fence Wire Strainer, 10PCS Heavy Duty Inline Wire Tensioner, Wire Ratchet Tensioner for Electric Fence, Farm Fence

Wiring the Gate Handle:

We run the wire strands around the apiary of the gate. Run it through the gate handle and screw it in place.

Final thoughts

Bears are heavyweight animals that are unexpectedly agile when they need to be. They can climb trees and an average bear can run at the speed of 35km/h. Therefore, a fence that is not very slick or tall, in most cases the bears will be able to climb it.