Bison World Article – Fencing for Wildlife and Livestock
As a bison producer and a member of the National Bison Association, Blue Valley Ranch receives the Association’s quarterly publication Bison World Magazine. In addition to its feature articles, research and reporting on the bison industry, the magazine also contains a regular column on management tips from bison producers around the country. This past year, Blue Valley Ranch submitted an article on fencing for wildlife and livestock that was accepted in the 2nd quarter issue of 2015, which the editors were kind enough to allow us to reproduce here.
Fencing is a very important infrastructure project on any ranch in the American West that produces livestock. A poorly constructed fence can have a negative impact on the livestock it is supposed to contain, the managers who are responsible to maintain it, and the local wildlife and aesthetics of the property. A good fence should do its job with minimal impact to animals, environment or people, to the extent that you hardly notice its presence.
Blue Valley Ranch’s choice of energized, high-tensile fence has paid for itself time and time again over the last twenty years, with almost zero wildlife mortalities, minimal maintenance, and only a subtle visual impact on the ranch’s landscape.
The ranch has also invested in other fencing, however, that is intended to keep wildlife out. Several miles of 8-foot high wildlife fence protect small clones of regenerating aspen from browsing by elk.
In the end, making a wise choice in fencing infrastructure always depends on management objectives as much as construction and maintenance costs. However, thoroughly planning out any infrastructure development will always pay off in the long term.