To many people, a fence running through the rolling hills of Wyoming is nothing much to consider. But for wildlife, fencing matters for their survival. The term wildlife-friendly fence is a fence that is designed to contain livestock while still allowing wildlife to pass through without harm. There are many fence designs labeled as wildlife-friendly, but it is important that any fence design take into consideration how to keep some animals in while letting others cross. 

The friendliest fence for wildlife is no fence at all. Allowing wildlife to move freely through daily and seasonal ranges is the most natural and stress-free land for all of Wyoming’s species from big game such as elk, deer and antelope to smaller critters like foxes, badgers and even porcupines. However, when a fence is necessary to contain livestock or to deter wildlife from entering areas such as highways or agricultural fields, choosing the right fence design saves wildlife.

In general, when wildlife movement is likely and encouraged, the fewest strands of wire on the fence line is best. Keeping the bottom wire high and the top wire low typically allows for the safest crossing by wildlife. There are many wildlife-friendly fencing styles, but the best fence is well thought-out, considering all the species that may encounter it and the time of year they cross.

A standard three or four wire wildlife-friendly fence that is meant to contain livestock but also allow passage by most wildlife will have these parts:

  • a top wire no higher than 42 inches so wildlife can jump over
  • a smooth bottom wire set 16 inches off the ground so wildlife can go under
  • One to two evenly spaced wires in between the top and bottom wires
Other common wildlife-friendly fence styles include, two or three wire electric, pole top and a seasonal let down fence.

When considering new fencing options or making repairs and replacements, please remember Wyoming’s numerous wildlife species that may be affected by your choices.

For a great write up on wildlife-friendly fencing options, download our guide.

Seth Roseberry
Sheridan Region Habitat & Access Coordinator


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