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courtney1946's avatar

Does anyone know whether loud music would likely scare a bear away?

Asked by courtney1946 (145 points ) July 17th, 2014

We live on wooded, hilly land. Recently black bears have come close to the house. If one comes on the porch or (heaven forbid) gets in the house, I wonder if loud sounds like a radio turned up, would make it run away. I don’t want to make it actually mad. Your thoughts?

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26 Answers

Dan_Lyons's avatar

I’m thinking yes, but it would depend on what music you are playing loudly. They might enjoy yes or ELP and actually come closer for a listen.
Your best bet is to keep the house locked up tight and be very careful what you put outside in your trash bins.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

You’d have to know what the bears taste run to. He might be drawn in by some.

Coloma's avatar

I have had a bear lurking around before to but never tried loud music. Maybe, but more importantly do not have any unsecured trash cans, pet food, livestock feed around to attract them. The bear in my area spent 3 days sitting in a neighbors apple tree eating every apple until the tree was stripped “bare.” lol

Coloma's avatar

P.S. Bears ( at least Black bears here in the Sierras ) LOVE birdseed, they will pillage bird feeders in a heartbeat.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Play Haydn’s Symphony No. 82 for them and see.

Coloma's avatar

@elbanditoroso No, play Berlioz or Led Zeppelin. lol

boffin's avatar

Rosanne singing the National Anthem might work…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls1YVhcLD2c

gailcalled's avatar

My sister tried banging loudly on pots and pans with their lids after a bear came up on her porch (having annihilated several bird feeders filled with sunflower seeds) but retreated behind a locked door very quickly. I would get rid of all edible temptations rather than count on loud music of any kind.

They keep their 17 bee hives behind a serious electric fence in the yard of their present house. So far, so good even though bears have been spotted in the neighborhood (rural with acres of woodlands and old fields and no residential buildings).

rojo's avatar

The Ramones is pretty well guaranteed to scare away any bear, black, brown or white.

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Unbroken's avatar

Grizzly bears are generally put off by loud noises and when cornered making yourself big.

I will vouch fpr this method as a last resort for grizzleys. However blackbears are infinitely more of a nuisance so I’ve been told, I have never met one. If you are up for it make sure your doors have windows and open outward. It goes without saying keep your garbage in the shed.

ucme's avatar

Heavy metal, they can’t bear it.

LuckyGuy's avatar

My neighbor tried scaring one away by yelling and pounding on his porch with a piece of firewood. The noise did not bother the bear at all. The bear demolished his bird feeder and then walked off.
The DEC set up a bear trap (basically a large culvert pipe with trapdoors) to catch him. It worked! In about 2 days they caught him (a young male) and released him somewhere else.

I have no other data but based upon my neighbor’s experience with yelling and pounding I do not believe loud music will work.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Bears will generally run away from a sudden loud noise – they don’t like surprises. So it will probably work the first time you do it, but if you use it regularly, they will probably get used to it. As others have said, your best option is to make your home uninteresting to them, so that visiting is not associated with a reward.

I would recommend learning more about bear behaviour, if you live so close together. I’ve worked in bear country a lot, and if you read or listen to enough advice, you begin to realize that many of the prescriptions for surviving encounters are contradictory, and that everyone has a story in which a specific method worked for them (back away slowly vs. standing still, dropping a pack vs. not dropping a pack, looking aggressive vs. looking non-threatening, etc.). It seems to me that the best thing to do is have a sense of how the bear is reacting to your presence, but then rely on your instincts to determine what to do next.

Oh, and if anyone ever tells you to fire bear bangers directly at a bear – please ignore them. That’s a great way to get attacked.

snowberry's avatar

We had black bears bothering our trash cans one summer. You could do what we did. We took several balloons, and poured a tablespoon of ammonia in each. Then we used an air compressor to blow them up. We tied them to the top of the trash cans and hung them from branches on strings. Then we smeared them with bacon grease.

Bears swat at anything that irritates them, so it wasn’t long after our bear showed up at the trash cans, that it broke the balloons, and got a snoot full of ammonia. It never bothered those trash cans again, but it didn’t keep it from coming around where people were. Eventually the forest service people showed up and caught the bear in the trap (see @LuckyGuy‘s description above).

cazzie's avatar

If they smell food, noise won’t deter them. Get rid of all bird feeders or large trash cans. Bears are omnivorous scroungers and they need a lot of food. If they start getting close to the house and show no fear, my dad would take my brothers bb gun to them. Or rock salt in an old shotgun. If that isn’t an option call your local DNR office.

snowberry's avatar

Best to keep a good supply of bear spray on hand. Apparently there’s a big difference between bear spray and pepper spray. https://www.stormfront.org/forum/t443995/

Don’t go out alone, make sure your outside animals are safe, and carry bear spray! If bear spray isn’t available in your area (but it should be if you have bears), you should be able to get it on the Internet.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I know it isn’t popular to say this here but when I am alone in my woods in the Southern Tier I carry my handgun, a .380 Auto, in my jacket or pants pocket. It is incredibly loud. I figure the first 2 shots would be noise makers. The rest would be used as last resort, just in case. (I am aware the 380 is small and supposedly not powerful enough to kill a bear but I figure something is better than nothing. It is small enough for me to carry comfortably in my pocket. Anything larger would end up sitting in the car. Useless.)

That said, I have never seen a bear in my woods. This is bear country and I’ve been told by various people in town they are out there on my property but I’ve not seen them.
I honestly do not know if the shots would scare a bear away. I would prefer to never find out.

When my kids were young we’d go there and camp occasionally. Our favorite night would be the weekend of the Perseid Meteor shower in mid August with no Moon . Dark, dark sky, higher altitude, no lights anywhere. We’d put down a blanket and watch the fireworks.
Unbeknownst to them, I was cocked and locked just in case we had a visitor. We never did.

I never told them I was carrying, nor that there were bears in the area. I did not want them to fear nature or the property. As their parent, I considered it my job to protect them. One person worrying is enough. They were given the gift of enjoying those magical nights without fear.

susanc's avatar

No. Because If you go into the woods today, you’re in for a big surprise. If you go into the woods today, you’d better not close your eyes. di da di da di daddly da, di da di da di daddly da, today’s the day the teddy bears have their pic-nic.
And that is every day. They like picnic music and they love to dance about.
Move to the city.

RocketGuy's avatar

@LuckyGuy – I would say that the wilds is the most justified place to carry (aside from war zones). That’s where there are things that truly want to kill you.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@RocketGuy Thank you. I am not ashamed to admit that I am afraid of bears and the coywolves that hunt at night. If they can take down a fit, 150 pound deer they can take down a middle aged guy in tennis shoes or one of his young kids..
If I wasn’t armed there is no way I would ever have taken my children for walks in the woods at night. We never would have set out a blanket on top of the ridge and watched the meteor showers or satellite passes. We would never have gone on a mission to find the back corner of the property and the creek that runs behind.
That small black device hidden secretly in my pocket gave me enough confidence to offer my kids the gift of the night sky with no fear of the dark.

While out there I constantly kept up the chatter with my sons in the hope that our voices would keep the critters at bay. Maybe it worked. I don’t know.

dappled_leaves's avatar

<—- Has never felt the need to carry a gun. I carry bear spray and occasionally bangers for noise – both as last-resort options.

@RocketGuy Bears don’t truly want to kill you. They want to eat, and they want to be left alone.

However, the OP is asking about what to do if a bear enters the house. If you’re in the house, I think this is extremely unlikely to occur, unless you leave your doors open all night or while you’re away.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Ever try a starter pistol.

rojo's avatar

I am sticking with my Ramones answer over the starter pistol!

Unbroken's avatar

Didn’t read the answer and my experience comes from grizzlies which are a bit different. But loud noises do discourage most of them. Keeping your home neat having doors that open out and with windows near or in them.. Disposing of trash quickly, a garbage shed instead of bins making sure it is not so small and light they can lift up and shake.. also with padlocks. Only hang meat or fish in a very secure location like a smoke shack away from the main house or at least with a separate entrance. Have the area around the house cleared so they can’t hide the trees. You will also be able to look for bear trails and droppings as well as wallows. They like berries and also have raided gardens so keep that in mind. Grizzlies were creatures of habit as they had established paths to known food sources. Never use bear spray never run or turn your back on them. Make loud noises move slowly make sure you are not between them and a cub or food. Use your jacket to make yourself appear bigger. If you do have a gun don’t use it unless you know it is powerful enough and you have a good enough aim to kill it first shot. I don’t know about black bears but grizzlies usually needed a clean head shot from at least a 45 cal. if you wound them they are just going to get mad. Believe me you never want to see a bear on an adrenaline rush with you or another person as a target.
Never feed the bears. That may seem obvious but many do it. They think they can break the rules… and sometimes they can but it usually costs either the bear or another persons life when all is said and done…

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