Eastern Wildlife Damage Control Conferences


Date of this Version

September 1985


The recent development of high tensile electric fencing for controlling deer damage has led to the installation of these fence designs throughout the Northeast. In May 1984. 55 surveys were sent to individuals in 10 states who were known to have recently constructed deer fences. Sixty-seven percent of the surveys were returned and a variety of fence-related data were generated. These include information on deer damage, a general description of fence designs being utilized, information concerning fence voltage, data on fence maintenance and several questions on fence performance, owner satisfaction, and the cost/benefits of deer damage control. The majority of fences in this study were either 5-strand vertical (40%) or 7-strand slant (33%). Slanted fences enclosed more acreage and longer rotational crops than vertical fences. Most fence owners indicated that maintenance activities were routinely carried out and that fence performance was excellent. However, the majority of fence owners reported that deer penetration did occur. The results of the survey contradicted, to some extent, data and field observations collected by the authors in southeastern New York over the past five years. An unpublished study of 12 high-tensile fences, most of which were also reported on in the survey, revealed significant differences in wire tension, bottom wire height, and voltage between and within these fences. This study indicates that many fences are actually in poor operating condition and are in need of better maintenance. Possible reasons for the widespread owner satisfaction with fences which appear to be operating at below-optimum levels are discussed.