Tuesday, June 13, 2017

In Montana, Beekeepers Protect Their Hives With Fences — And Guns

As anyone who's read Winnie the Pooh will tell you, bears love honey. But in Montana, that love of honey and hives comes at a cost. Every year, a handful of black bears are shot and killed by beekeepers across the state. And while it’s perfectly legal, some think the law needs an update. And honey is how Wüstner makes his living. He’s a commercial beekeeper and he leases about fifty bee yards in western Montana. Almost all of them are secured with reams of barbed, solar-powered electric fence. It’s there to keep black bears out. They love beehives. And Jamie Jonkel, a bear manager for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks says placing a beehive on the ground in Montana is like "putting a dead horse in the back pasture and not expecting bears to feed on that dead horse." So he encourages all beekeepers to surround their yards with electric fence, which deters bears. But it isn’t the law; instead, the law says a beekeeper can kill a black bear if it attacks their hives...more

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