High Tensile Electric Fence Phase II - Liability Issues, Maintenance Costs and Containment of Bison: FHWA-WY-05/01F
Fences are typically built to restrict the movement of livestock and consequently become barriers to wildlife.
Research done by Karhu and Anderson (2003) has shown that High Tensile Electric Fence (HTEF) can contain livestock while allowing wildlife to freely move across the fence. Before widespread implementation of HTEF can occur, issues involving the liability and maintenance of HTEF need to be addressed.
We investigated liability issues and maintenance costs of 3-Wire HTEF. We also tested the effectiveness of 3-Wire HTEF at containing bison. The 3-Wire HTEF was designed according to recommendations made by Karhu and Anderson (2003). The design stipulated wire spacing of 22, 32, and 42-inches above the ground, 12.5 gauge 170,000-psi tensile strength wire, and ¾ inch to 1 inch diameter solid fiberglass posts 60-inches long spaced 50-feet apart.
The liability associated with the use of 3-Wire HTEF appears to be no greater than the liability incurred with the use of more traditional fence designs. Selection of an Underwriters Laboratory (UL) certified energizer as well as proper fence maintenance and monitoring limits fence owner liability.
Maintenance of the 3-Wire HTEF was minimal. Most of the maintenance issues that occurred were due to improper construction and/or problems with the satellite monitoring system. Once these problems were corrected the fence and monitoring systems functioned effectively, at containing livestock and allowing pronghorn to cross with relative ease. Almost 96 percent of the pronghorn observed interacting with the HTEF were successful in crossing it.
Bison appear to be effectively contained by the 3-Wire HTEF. In 4 out of 5 tests there was 100 percent containment of bison. We feel that there is potential to use this fence design for the containment of bison. We provide a record of our maintenance on the 3-Wire HTEF and associated costs. We also provide specific information on the design and construction of 3-Wire HTEF. Overall we feel that 3-Wire HTEF has the potential to be an effective means of controlling livestock while allowing wildlife to move across the fence wildlife.