Elk NetworkFencing with Wildlife in Mind

General | February 15, 2018

Below is an article published by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

Chances are if you own property anywhere in Wyoming, you have a big game species on or near your land. You may also have fences that those wildlife damage or maybe even get damaged by. There are a lot of options available to help reduce fencing issues – for you and for wildlife. Following are some questions and resources to help identify solutions:

  1. What do you need your fence to do? Is it a livestock fence to keep stock in or out of your property? Or is it simply a boundary fence to mark the edge of your property. Is the fence necessary?
  1. If the fence is deemed necessary, what type of fence is it? Do you need that type of fence? If you have horses or cattle, you probably don’t need the same type of fence as someone with sheep or goats. If it’s simply a boundary fence, is there another way to mark the property to show neighbors or others they are crossing that boundary that wouldn’t get in the way of wildlife.
  1. Once you identify the type of fence you need, then several considerations may be important to make when it comes to reducing risks to wildlife. The season of your use for the fence (summer, winter, spring, fall, or year-round) – if there are times the fence isn’t needed to keep your domesticated animals in (or other folk’s critters out), then can the fence be lowered, or gates left open to allow wildlife to move more freely past the fence line?
  1. Is the current fence in good condition or dilapidated to the point it isn’t really helping contain livestock (or pets)? Fences in poor condition often pose bigger hazards to wildlife than those in good shape.

If you decide you need the fences you have, but they could be modified, moved, or replaced with different styles of fence that meet your needs and allow better wildlife passage, there are many ways to make that happen. To browse through wildlife friendly fencing options check out the resource: A Wyoming Landowner’s Handbook to Fences and Wildlife – Practical Tips for Fencing with Wildlife in Mind.

Several agencies and conservation groups offer cost-share and volunteer assistance to help offset the burden of those costs. Several to check on would be your local Conservation District and County Cooperative Extension Office as well as the Natural Resources Conservation Service and us at the Game and Fish. 

(Photo source: Wyoming Game and Fish Department)