3D Fencing Project - Grey Wooded Forage Association

3D Fencing
Project #: 2011C
Warren & Eric Bloomquist, Otto Seidel, Darryl Murphy & Rene’ Poirier
By: Ponoka County Agricultural Services & Grey Wooded Forage Association
Funding: Agriculture Opportunities Fund (AOF)
Sponsors for site east of Ponoka: Ponoka County Agricultural Services, PowerFlex Fence Canada & Gallagher Canada
Sponsors for 2 Sundre sites: Lone Star Ranch & Sales, Rocky Mountain House Co-op, West Frazer, Gallagher, Sundog Solar,
PowerFlex Fence Canada, Anchor JB Ranch (Jim Bauer), Kokanee Heavy Truck Sales, Mountain View County & Signs by Jan
Farmers across Alberta are suffering great losses from elk
and deer feeding on and fouling their winter feed supply. To
find solutions for these serious problems, in addition to a project site east of Ponoka, we are initiating two new 3D fencing
project sites in the Sundre area, in Mountain View County.
These project sites are being set up to determine and
demonstrate the viability of 3D Electric Fencing for keeping
game animals out of farmers feed stacks, bale yard, swath grazing and other feeding areas.
In November of 2011 we built a “3D” electric fence
around a 10 acre field of swaths for swath grazing. This fence
consisted of a four wire inner fence and a one wire outer fence
constructed three feet away from the inner fence and about
three feet high. A 3D fence was also built around a grain storage bag at another nearby site.
Rob Davidson, from PowerFlex Fence Canada, supplied
enough high tensile wire and PowerFlex posts for both sites, as
well as a 30 Joule fence energizer. Shayne Steffen and Justin
Babcock from Ponoka County provided manpower, corner
posts, rented a post pounder and had a sign made to promote the
project. Ponoka County also sponsored the project with
$500.00 for GWFA travel expenses. GWFA provided a variety
of electric fence insulators and manpower for the project.
During the winter of 2011/2012 there had been no evidence of deer going through the fences all winter, so there was
no damage to the swaths or the grain storage bag done by deer.
There were deer on a nearby field also belonging to Warren
Bloomquist. The area didn’t get a whole lot of snow that winter, which may have contributed to the success of the fence.
During the winter of 2012/2013 the area received more
than the usual amount of snow, and it was a long winter to boot.
Warren discovered that deer were breaching the fence in late
December and early January. By the time we got out there, the
deer had damaged a couple of acres of swaths already. There
was some hair on the bottom wires, good evidence that they’re
crawling under.
So it was back to the drawing board. Some of the questions that we discussed were: Were the outside wire and the
bottom wire too high? Were the deer not grounding well
enough to get shocked? Was the energizer sufficiently
grounded? Could we have used scent caps to entice the deer to
touch the fence with their noses? Would that have helped in
this case? Were the deer hungry enough to get more resourceful? We took a look at what we might be able to change to
hopefully get better results.
In November, 2013 we made a few changes. We added
6 more ground rods 10 feet apart. We added a Gallagher Polytape on the south side on the outside single wire fence, and we
put it 6” lower than the high tensile wire. We added scent caps
with deer attractant scent and also rubbed some on the Polytape. We found one place where the bottom wire of the 4 wire
fence was making a dead ground. Fixing this and the improved
ground field would improved the fence’s shocking power considerably.
Warren told us in January that he had finished grazing the
swaths in that field and had no deer issues in there. He commented that he should have put a 3D fence around his barley
bag, because he had lots of damage to it. The snow cover was
quite heavy and we heard reports of hungry deer all over our
area, so we considered the winter of 2013/2014 to be a pretty
good test for the fence.
We learned from Warren that he sold his cattle in December, 2014, so his project site is being wrapped up.
rounding up supplies and sponsorship for the project. Thanks
to her hard work, most of the supplies for the project were donated. Steve Cannon, of Lonestar Ranch & Sales in Red Deer
donated two Gallagher fence energizers, complete with solar
panels and batteries. He also supplied us with an awesome aluminum energizer/solar panel stand, the high tensile wire, spinning jenny, insulators and tighteners. Jim Bauer, of Anchor JB
Ranch, supplied us with a pile of Pasture-Pro composite fence
posts and the “cotter pins” to fasten the wire to the posts. The
Rocky Mountain House Co-op and West Frazer supplied the
wooden fence posts, PowerFlex Fence Canada provided an energizer and Sundog Solar provided a solar panel and regulator.
Signs for the two sites were made by “Signs by Jan” and sponsored and installed by Mountain View County. Kokanee
Heavy Truck Sales provided a generous cash contribution to
help with some of the purchased supplies and expenses for the
Ginette and I, with the help of our cooperators, Otto and
Darryl, built the fences around bale yards at the two locations.
We decided that we wanted to experiment with 3D Fenc- We were fortunate that the weather was decent for the week we
ing in the West Country, somewhere where elk are a major
were working at the sites, even though it had been cold already.
problem. We located two potential cooperators in the Sundre
A good cover of snow kept the ground from freezing, so we
area that were having significant elk damage to their winter hay had no trouble putting posts in, except where vehicles had travsupplies. Otto Seidel witnessed up to 75 elk at a time last win- elled.
ter and Darryl Murphy witnessed up to 140 elk making a mess
of their feed supplies over several winters. Both Otto and Darryl agreed to be cooperators for the project.
My trusty assistant, Ginette Boucher, then got to work
Rocky Mtn. House
eliminate that damage. 3D fencing can be used around
swath grazing, stockpiled grass, grain storage, bale yards
and even gardens. Problem Wildlife Specialist, Todd
Ponich, says this could be of value across the whole
province if it works well. He’s considering 3D fencing
to keep large herds of elk out of cornfields in southern
Alberta during the growing season as well. Apparently
corn producers in the Suffield area suffer huge losses to
their corn crops due to elk damage.
Fence construction consisted of erecting a 4 wire, high
tensile electric fence about 4 feet high. An additional one wire
fence was built outside of that, 3 feet from the 4 wire fence and
3 feet high. Gates were built to have the same configuration.
Once the fences and gates were built, fence energizers and
ground fields were installed. We also flagged the fence and
attached foil cups with scents to attract cow elk.
Now we’re monitoring the sites, doing some occasional
maintenance to the fences and keeping the elk attractant scents
fresh. We want these critters to have their first experience with
the fences to be with their noses. We’ve noticed that cattle that
have their first experience with a high powered electric fence
with their noses get educated very well. We figure the same
would apply to deer and elk.
3D Fencing is quite possibly a way producers who have
problems with wildlife damage to feed supplies, can reduce, or