Every year, thousands of big game animals and birds die of injuries caused by fences. However, as a new Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) publication explains, it’s possible to build effective fences that meet the needs of landowners and minimize harm to wildlife.

The new publication, "Fencing with Wildlife in Mind," explains how to build a variety of wildlife-friendly fences, and includes instructions on how to construct enclosures around areas to exclude wildlife. When properly built, fences can allow wildlife to move through an area, both in their normal daily movements and in seasonal migration patterns.

The best fences for wildlife are highly visible to large animals and birds; allow wildlife to jump over or crawl under them; and do not block access to important habitats and travel corridors.

Primary recommendations for wildlife-friendly fencing are:

  • The top wire or rail should be smooth and 42 in. or less from the ground.
  • At least 12 in. should be left between the two top wires.
  • The bottom post or wire should be smooth and at least 16 in. off the ground.
  • Fence design should be varied, with some lower sections included to allow for easy crossings at some areas.
  • A high-visibility wire or flagging should be used to provide visual markers for animals.
"Many landowners provided us with their innovative designs for use in the publication," said Ken Morgan, private lands coordinator for the DOW. "Their suggestions help to show other landowners that these designs work in the real world. “

“Fencing with Wildlife in Mind" can be found wildlife.state.co.us/landwater/.
Editor’s note: For grazing guru Jim Gerrish’s thoughts on wildlife fencing, see “Wildlife-Friendly Fencing” at beefmagazine.com/pasture-range/.
-- Colorado DOW release