While some bears in western states may prey on livestock, there have been no reports of livestock depredation by the Louisiana black bear in recent history. Bears will enter livestock enclosures to feed on livestock food and several complaints have been received in Louisiana where bears were in hog or goat pens, eating feed and excluding the livestock from the feeders.
As the bear population expands into new areas, however, owners of crops and livestock in or close to occupied bear habitat should employ preventative measures to exclude or minimize the potential for bear damage. Crops and livestock should be inspected frequently so that any damage can be discovered quickly, and preventive control measures can be implemented.
Gardens, small fields and pastures should be protected with bear-resistant fences if bear damage is anticipated.
Farmers should harvest crops as quickly as possible and consider planting crops that are not attractive to bears.
There are several alternatives to control bear damage to crops and livestock. Intensive herding practices can lessen the chance that bears will prey on livestock. Carcasses of dead animals should be hauled to an approved landfill or destroyed by deep burial or incineration to prevent bears from scavenging near susceptible livestock.
Fields or pastures susceptible to bear damage can employ gas exploders, noise-making pyrotechnics, strobe lights, electronic sirens and noise generators, or scarecrows to temporarily repel bears. Long-term and repetitious use of these devices, however, may render them ineffective.
Livestock guardian dogs (LGD’s) such as Anatolian Shepherds or Great Pyrenees are becoming more popular with goat, sheep, and chicken farmers, mostly as a deterrent to fox, coyote, and feral dog depredation. But the LGD’s should also be effective in dissuading bears from investigating the livestock area.
If damage occurs, USDA Wildlife Services or the state wildlife agency should be contacted for further control strategies.
Owners of crops and livestock in or close to occupied bear habitat should employ preventative measures to exclude or minimize the potential for bear damage.