View Full Version : Fencing vs. wildlife?

Dec. 30, 2010, 07:26 PM
The land we're planning to move to is part of a large parcel of land in agricultural production. It backs up to a very large tract of timberland and there is a great deal of wildlife in the area, including bears, bobcats, and coyotes. I'm trying to plan my fencing but curious about whether I should be concerned about fencing OUT critters as well as fencing them in :winkgrin: Mostly concerned about the coyotes and bobcats.

For those in similar settings, do you find that a regular 3-4 strand electric fence (wire or tape) will deter wildlife from coming into your pastures or should I consider a more high security perimeter fence? I'll be fencing in about 15 acres worth of pasture, including all the crossfencing for rotating pastures so cost is a concern :yes:

Dec. 30, 2010, 07:35 PM
No fence you put in will keep out coyote or bobcat. They'll jump right over it or climb it.

But if you're just keeping horses - I don't think the native species of NC are going to bother them much. Small animals like sheep, goats, calves, chickens dogs, cats.... those might be at risk if you have a lot of predators.

Woven wire aka horse wire tends to hold up well and does discourage the casual predator - like a jerk neighbors loose horse chasing dog. You can put an oak sight board on top.

Lasts for years, downed branches/small trees doesn't usually take out the fence - just pops the top board off or breaks it.

Not the prettiest fence in the world but highly functional and appropriate for multiple species of livestock. Not sure if it would keep a determined feral hog out but it does keep a domestic hog in. :)

I doubt much, if any, cost share money is available but check with your SWCD and extension and see what's going on. You may qualify for a tax credit or assistance if you install certain conservation practices (rotational paddocks, sacrifice paddocks, fence off water, etc.)

Hope that helps.

Dec. 30, 2010, 07:51 PM
No fence you put in will keep out coyote or bobcat. They'll jump right over it or climb it.

Even an amazingly HOT hotwire??:eek: Better keep my gun in the barn then. haha!

And definitely going to check with SWCD. I used to work for Extension :D so I'm somewhat familiar with their programs but as I was in another county, things may be different. Most of what was offered in my county was fencing for keeping livestock out of waterways. Definitely worth checking in to though as I know one horse owner who had most of the costs of having her pastures sprigged offset by the cost share program!

Dec. 30, 2010, 08:18 PM
I know one horse owner who had most of the costs of having her pastures sprigged offset by the cost share program!

Now you know two. :lol: I also worked with Ducks Unlimited and benefited from a matching grant in addition to cost share. Most of the restoration work in the riparian buffer I did on my own dime - plantings, wood duck boxes, bluebird boxes, native grasses for quail, etc. Place isn't Middleburg pretty but who cares.

I thought you worked in Extension but wasn't positive. Good folks - underappreciated.

If your land is near the beach or near the swamp there may be other stuff available - may not be much in this economy but it's worth investigating.

Have fun planning everything. It will be a grand adventure, I'm sure.

Dec. 30, 2010, 08:33 PM
Now you know two. :lol:

Awesome! :D And thanks for the input :yes:

Dec. 30, 2010, 09:06 PM
Nope, none of our native wildlife are a threat to your horses, unless you are in the habit of leaving foals out at night tied to trees smeared in steak sauce. I'd just focus on what keeps your horses safely in.

Dec. 30, 2010, 10:21 PM
Agree with JSwan and Wildlifer. :yes:
1) Look for any possible help with the fencing costs.
2) None of your native wildlife should be a threat to horses
3) never tie a foal to tree at night slathered in steak sauce. :winkgrin:

And huge congrats on your new parcel of land!

Dec. 30, 2010, 11:54 PM

Is there any Federal program for this sort of thing? Alabama is *awful* about helping the small farmer. When I asked if there were any programs for a small-12 acre-tract I was told "no". Anything I could plant/raise to make money on a field that size-even just a little? "No".

Not very helpful;-(


Dec. 31, 2010, 08:07 AM
One of the benefits of insomnia and 2 cups of French Roast in the am is that I am wide awake and can Google at the speed of light.:winkgrin:

My sister and I chat often about conservation efforts in NC - though when I visit I have the good sense not to wear my "I'm a Plover Lover" T-shirt. Them's fighting words if you know what I mean.

Anyway - there is some really cool stuff going on, especially in nutrient management and mortality management.

Here's the link to the NC SWCD website. http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/swc/

Check out the programs and initiatives link - and don't restrict yourself to just the cost share section but devour and digest all the information on the entire site.

Since you may not be intimately familiar with your land and the are in general, check out the GIS maps on your county website. (if you can't find maps pm me and I'll help)

GIS maps will show you how your land fits into a region - show the water features, topography, elevations, types of soils, etc.

The maps (and/or your survey map) may help you decide how to place your fencing (like if there is a wet weather stream but you fence it off instead of putting a floodgate that keeps livestock in when it's dry, but rises to accommodate water when needed- you inadvertently wipe out your fence the first time it rains. D'oh!)

Here is the FSA website - link to conservation programs.


Participants in cost share or other programs need to obtain a FSA number from the USDA (the SWCD and FSA staff will help you with the paperwork)
Also, you'll see that there are many programs available, as well as free advice and assistance, to landowners.

Whether at the state or federal level, you'll find that some programs require the land to be in production, others do not. Most, if not all, require the landowner/farmer to enter into an agreement for a period of years, in which the landowner agrees to maintain the conservation practice that was installed. (keep the fence intact, for example)

Before accepting any cost-share or grant, or entering into any agreement with any entity/agency-I'd advise consulting a CPA or tax attorney to discuss any possible tax or legal ramifications.

Here's another good link - housed within the USDA.

Natural Resources Conservation Service:


And last, but not least - your extension.


Again - more programs (which you may or may not qualify for), but always - free advice, advocacy, mentoring and assistance. He or she may be more informed about food animals/production farms than horse farms, so double check advice on things like recommended grass plantings - you're not feeding dairy cows. :D

Another bit of "light" reading is this:


This is where you find your state wildlife action plan. When you look at the variety of programs out there - many of those programs factor this plan into their work.

All of these conservation efforts are intended to complement private conservation efforts, public (nonprofit) conservation efforts (this includes sporting/hunting clubs and groups), and to mitigate the impact ag operations (including horse farms) have on the environment.

Farmers are pretty sophisticated these days. They're educated and informed - and do a helluva lot of conservation on their land. Millions of acres have been restored, protected/set aside, or managed differently.

Horse owners are a bit of a different breed. Many buy some land, move the horses out - and a year later the place is a mud pit. Overgrazed, sagging fences, manure, horrific flies, buildings placed in low lying areas - or, the entire area is razed and turned into something resembling a golf course, which is great if a person has the money. Most of us are on a budget.

The programs are an effort to mitigate the negative impact of ag operations (including horse farms), while preserving property rights and (hopefully) slowing the loss of farmland and open space.

Oh - the last link is to the Equestrian Land Conservation Resource: http://www.elcr.org/index.php

A great organization well worth supporting.

Sorry for the long winded post - I'd blame the French Roast except I always get rather excited about farm planning and conservation.

Have fun.

oh - for folks in other states the same info applies - except you'll need to work with your state/local SWCD and extension.

ETA: These links are intended to be a starting point only. It's not intended to be a comprehensive listing of every program or effort in the US.

Happy New Year!

Dec. 31, 2010, 01:22 PM
Well my electrobraid keep out a black bear last Sept.....it made two attempts with in about a minute and both times there was a blood curdling scream......we heard him go crashing throught the neighbors bush.......he hasn't been back since.......but he was a constant bother at my neighbors right next door along with everyone else in our subdivision this past summer/fall.

My electrobraid runs 10,000 to 12,000 volts and I run three positive and one negative line........so hitting the pos and neg packs and extra big punch.

Had it been any other electric the bear would have just broken through but Electrobraid is incredibly strong.....I beleive over 2000lbs tensile strength


Dec. 31, 2010, 03:18 PM
JSwan covered most of it -- you can also check the website of my agency, NC Wildlife Resources Commission (ncwildlife.org) for our Wildlife Action Plan and the Conservation Trust For NC (just google for the link, they are the umbrella for all of NC's land trusts and can help with funding and ideas). For us (NCWRC) if you can provide protection for important habitats like riparian areas through putting them in an easement or something, we can sometimes provide cash. Budgets are tight right now, but there are different pots of money, some more accessible than others, so it never hurts to ask.

Dec. 31, 2010, 06:29 PM
JSwan - Impressive! I wish coffee make me that productive! :winkgrin:

Dalemma - that's good to hear. I guess I'm not so much worried about the wildlife harming my animals but more so just don't want them crashing through my pastures if I can help it. I can always adjust my fences accordingly if I decide to get chickens or goats later on.

wildlifer - thanks for the info! :yes:

Jan. 6, 2011, 01:00 PM
I was in the process of ordering some supplies from Electrobraid and came across this about their fencing and wildlife.



Jan. 7, 2011, 01:06 PM
I was in the process of ordering some supplies from Electrobraid and came across this about their fencing and wildlife.



Thanks :yes: Have you used the electrobraid for long? What do you think of it? I helped install it for a horse fencing field day once - fairly easy - but haven't ever spoken with the farm owners to find out how it held up over time.

Daydream Believer
Jan. 7, 2011, 01:15 PM
I'll let you know on the hotwire/tape. I have 4 strands of Horseguard and it's well charged. It does keep out large animals like bears and large dogs. Smaller dogs, foxes and other animals can go under it. I'm about to add another two strands to the bottom to see if it will keep out the smaller predators so I can free range my poultry without having to use the netting.

Electric Poultry netting or that developed for goats would keep out almost anything that can't jump well. Deer can go over my fence but that is all that can jump it. No dog can as it's over 4 feet high and there's no way for them to climb it.

No fence is foolproof and it won't protect my poultry from aerial attacks from hawks but I do know the netting works very very well for ground predators so I don't see why an electric fence that is tight and hot would not also work.

Jan. 7, 2011, 01:33 PM
This is a very interesting thread. Thank the lord for French Roast!

Regarding the Electrobraid, we've had it up for one year, three strands. We have a border collie sized dog and he can run under it in certain spots but gives it a wide berth in general. It's very flexible stuff and works well on our fairly rugged terrain especially with the option to attach to trees.

For real predator control the advice is to lay a chicken wire apron on the ground around the exterior, having a a couple of hot wires and a ground wire might accomplish the same thing and would definitely be less expensive. We had to lay the apron and add ground rods, (I believe we thoroughly defoliated) as well around a bee yard to maximize the effect from a relatively low powered solar charger and it did keep the bear out. In that case it was a cost effective option.

Jan. 8, 2011, 01:10 PM
Thanks :yes: Have you used the electrobraid for long? What do you think of it? I helped install it for a horse fencing field day once - fairly easy - but haven't ever spoken with the farm owners to find out how it held up over time.

I've had it up for about 11 years........and love it. There is someone else on this forum that has had if for quite some time and loves it ......just can't think of the name.

You must keep it tensioned in order to avoid injury.....if it is tight it can't take a wrap on your horse......my exterior pasture fencing is due to be tightened prior to putting them back out.....all the snow has caused the lines to stretch very minimally.......the last time I tighened it was 2 years ago so it is due......but other than that the maintenance is small.

The intitial set up requires some work on end posts and corner bracing as they must be strong as the fence is under tension.....I used steel posts concreted into the ground.....so zero up keep......I'll see if I can find a picture of a corner or end post.

Found it


The posts in the front of the picture or end post with only one diagonal post the post in the far top corner of the picture is of a corner that has two diagoanl braces.


Jan. 8, 2011, 06:24 PM
Thank you for the info :yes: