When you think of electric fencing, horses and livestock readily come to mind. But, what about other animals? In some regions and circumstances, electric fencing like ElectroBraid® is also effective when used to control and manage wildlife.
Deer Fencing, Elk Fencing and More
Unlike electric fencing for horses, wildlife fencing is more often used to keep animals OUT to prevent damage. A properly designed electric fence is an effective wildlife barrier that is relatively easy to maintain and economical to install. Electric fencing has been used to successfully deter deer from damaging farm crops, and even keeping coyotes and raccoons away from chicken coops. Electric fences are easy to adapt to other situations too, including:
- Grain sheds and feed storage areas
- Airport runways
- Municipal landfills and compost sites
- Fish camps and cleaning sites
ElectroBraid® Put to the Test as Deer Barrier
ElectroBraid® fencing was the topic of a peer-reviewed study published by the USDA National Wildlife Research Center for University of Nebraska – Lincoln. The study, Evaluation of ElectroBraid fencing as a White-Tailed Deer Barrier, was conducted because increasing white-tailed deer populations pose the threat of agricultural losses as well as a threat to public safety at airports. The test was conducted on free-ranging deer in northern Ohio using a 1.3-meter (51.18 inches)-high fence with five strands of ElectroBraid spaced 25 centimeters (9.84 inches) apart. After ElectroBraid® was installed around a feeding trough and powered on, deer intrusions were reduced by 90%.
“Under the conditions and time duration of this test, the fence was an effective deer barrier ... When compared to woven fence, this electric fence is more economical to install and the manufacturer warranties the fence for 20 years. In addition, the fence may be set up, taken down, and moved relatively easily … Based on the results of this test, ElectroBraid® could be another tool in an airport white-tailed deer management program.”
Electric Fencing for Deer Installation
- Consult your local zoning office and neighborhood restrictions to determine if electric fences are permitted where you live.
- Check with your local wildlife biologist or electric fencing retailer for information on products that are appropriate for deterring your specific kind of wildlife.
- Be sure a strand is placed at mouth/muzzle height for the most successful deterrence.
- Consider using an attractant. While baiting may seem counter-intuitive since it draws wildlife toward the fenced area, an attractant helps teach wildlife to avoid the area in the future. Place bait like peanut butter in tin foil at nose height of the animal you want to deter. When the animal sniffs or licks the bait, it makes contact with the electrified fence and receives a shock, teaching them to avoid fenced areas.
- Avoid using smooth or barbed wire that can snag animals and tangle legs, especially if wires are loose or spaced too closely together. If deer or elk jump the fence, they will often get hung up and can’t pull free.
- Investigate fence designs for your specific wildlife problem. The ideal deer barrier is up to 8 feet tall (1), but many alternate design ideas are available online. If raccoons or rabbits are also a problem, a second strand of polytape or ElectroBraid® may be added about six inches above the ground (2).
Other deer fencing articles:
(1) Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management (Cornell, Clemson, U of NE-Lincoln, Utah State)
(2) Indiana Department of Natural Resources
(3) Living with wildlife