We all know that pronghorns don’t much like to jump fences; often they will run along the highway right of way, not crossing the fence when they should, and sometimes this leads to pronghorn mortality.
If you are a rancher and you want to get federal money from the NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) to do range improvements, you have to agree to build wildlife-friendly fence. Four wires: lowest wire is smooth and 18 inches high, top wire is barbed and 42 inches high. These designs let antelope and some other critters go under and deer go over without damage to critters or fence.
This works pretty well. Some ranchers have gotten used to the design; a calf might stray under but the mother cow will not, and the calf will come back to mother, and all is well.
But this is not the way fences are built along highways. Most are woven “sheep-tight” wire topped with a strand or three of barbed wire. Pronghorns cannot go under or through these fences. Consequently, sometimes we see stories about 15 of them killed in one big collision near Pinedale, or problems with migration in the Red Desert.
This is a two-question poll.
First question: Should fences along highways be built to NRCS standards, or is that so impractical for agriculture that it would be a bad idea?
Lead to second question. We have pronghorns all over in our subdivision in southwest Gillette. I have frequently seen bunches of them jump wire fences. Some of my friends who live elsewhere make jokes about how we must have trained them specially, because “everyone knows that pronghorns don’t jump fences”.
Second question: Have you seen pronghorns routinely jump over wire fences?
Enter your responses in comment box below or e-mail them to [email protected]