Wildlife Friendly Fences


Gone are the days of free roaming livestock. The West is becoming more settled and with
this comes the need for fences. While fences are a necessity for livestock
producers, they can be problematic barriers for wildlife that still roam free. Five-strand barbed wire, woven wire, and tall
fences become barriers causing wildlife to risk being caught in the fence or travel long
distances to find a way around. If you are considering building or converting
a fence to one that is more wildlife-friendly, The Wyoming Game and Fish Department wrote
a bulletin on Fencing Guidelines for Wildlife. In general, fences should not exceed a height
of 45 inches and the bottom wire should be at least 16 inches off the ground. This allows for passage over by species such
as deer and elk and movement under for pronghorn. In addition, there should be at least 10 inches
between top and second wire to prevent legs from being tangled when jumping over the fence. In areas where there is a high concentration
of elk, a wooden top rail can be added to increase visibility and reduce fence maintenance. In deep snow areas, you may come across a
let-down fence. With the conversion of fences to those that
are more wildlife-friendly, big game animals will be able complete their migration routes
and continue to roam free across the West. From the University of Wyoming Extension,
I’m Mae Smith, Exploring the Nature of Wyoming.

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