Our Charlotte Fence Contractor Explains How to Protect Wildlife from Broken or Dangerous Fences

Here at James Fence & Gate, we’re always on the alert for news that involves fencing, which is why we couldn’t help but notice the large amount of deer that seem to be getting caught in fences this season. There’s one in Georgia that was saved by a sheriff’s deputy; one in Montana saved by hunters; and one in Ohio saved by firefighters–and, we’re guessing, plenty more that didn’t make any headlines. 

While all these stories have happy endings, it’s an unfortunate reality is that most wild animals caught in fences aren’t discovered or rescued. In these cases, the animal—usually a young calf or fawn—will die a very slow and painful death from starvation. If you would like to help prevent local wildlife from meeting such a sad fate, below are some easy fence repairs you can make in your community. 

Make the Fence Easy for Animals to Traverse

Obviously, if your fence exists for security purposes, this isn’t an option for you. But if your fence is really just a way to mark your property lines, there are several adjustments you can make that will allow wildlife to safely pass through.

We recommend fences that are:

  • Below 40 inches at the top rail
  • Have a minimum of 12 inches between the two top rails/wires
  • Have a bottom rail that starts 16 inches above the ground
  • Equipped with a smooth/rounded top and bottom rail

A peer-reviewed study by Harrington & Conover found that about 70% of ungulate fence mortalities were on fences that were more than 40 inches high. Simply making the fence shorter can reduce a large number of incidents.

Make the Fence Highly Visible

If making the fence easier to bypass isn’t an option, another good solution is making it highly visible. Most animal fatalities occur on thin barbed wire fences, which are almost invisible to deer, whose eyes are more attuned to spotting movement than identifying objects. Since deer don’t see long wavelength colors like red and orange very well, try spray painting the fence bright blue. You can also add bits of reflective material; cans, PVC piping, flagging, and more to make the fence stand out.

Make Necessary Fence Repairs

A lot of deer fatalities occur when the top strands become loose. Deer attempt to jump through the wires, but are unable to clear them. If you own a property or perimeter fence, make sure to check on it every so often to make sure it’s in good repair, and that the wires (or rails) are taut. If you need fence repair or replacement, call James Fence & Gate, and our helpful Charlotte fence contractors can help.

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