Elk NetworkVolunteers Make Fencing ‘Friendlier’ for Wyoming Wildlife

General | August 25, 2023

Negotiating fencing for migrating wildlife is always a dicey situation. It will be much easier in a section of northern Wyoming thanks to a group effort by the U.S. Forest Service and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. About two dozen volunteers gathered to pull old fencing and replace it with wildlife-friendly fencing on the Bighorn National Forest.

“Anywhere we have a fence, it’s good to reconstruct it so wildlife won’t have as much of a chance of getting caught,” Thad Berrett, Powder River Ranger District ranger, told the Buffalo Bulletin. “We want the deer and elk to get under easier. Any of the big game species we have here are going to benefit from that.”

Crews removed about a quarter mile of old sheep or woven wire and barbed wire fencing and replaced it with four-wire fencing, allowing wildlife to jump over or crawl under while keeping cattle in. The lowest wire sits about 16 inches off the ground allowing pronghorn antelope to crawl under. Elk and mule deer, unless they’re young, jump over.

Several area organizations came together in 2020 to form the Bighorn Fencing Initiative. The group tackles several fencing projects each year.

RMEF had a video crew on hand and will release short film in the coming months.

(Photo credit: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)