U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT NEWS RELEASE
Miles City Field Office
|Release Date: 01/17/13|
Landowners Encouraged to be Mindful of Migrating Wildlife, Fences
MILES CITY, Mont. --- The BLM is encouraging landowners to be mindful of migrating big game and possible conflicts with fencing as winter progresses and snow levels increase.
Landowners are encouraged to open gates or lay down fencing wherever possible so deer, antelope and elk can avoid entanglement or “yarding up” and succumbing to exposure, starvation or stress.
Deep, drifted snow may render some fence types impassible. If the animals don’t find a way around to more favorable terrain, the results can be disastrous. This is particularly true of antelope, said BLM Biologist Jesse Hankins of the Miles City Field Office.
“In extreme winter conditions pronghorn aren’t able to drift ahead of the severe weather to more favorable habitat conditions, especially where woven wire fences are involved,” said Hankins. “Drifting snow can get up to heights where the pronghorn can’t go under the fence; and if the snow drifts tall enough -and where they don’t have the natural inclination to jump- that’s where you come into big winter mortalities.”
“In times when you don’t have livestock on either side of the fence, leave those gates open; they will pace the fence line looking for an opportune place to cross—either at a low spot or a wire that’s hanging or a gate,” said Hankins.
The seasonal reverse is also true, said Montana FWP Region Seven Supervisor Brad Schmitz. Deep, crusted snow can allow wildlife to cross fences in the winter, but once the snow is gone it can be a different story.
“Population loss for a region can happen by winter kill or winter time herd migration,” said Schmitz. “Those same fences can be problematic as wildlife try to migrate home again.”
The BLM is employing local contractors or contributing funds to willing permittees to remove, modify or replace fences on BLM-administered land that don’t meet the bureau’s wildlife-friendly fence configuration of four wires; three barbed upper wires and one smooth bottom wire –for exterior allotment boundary fences.
For more information on wildlife-friendly fence modifications contact BLM Wildlife Biologist Jesse Hankins at 406.233.2800. For additional ideas on how to design, construct or modify fencing to avoid conflict with wildlife, the booklet entitled “How to Build Fence with Wildlife in Mind” is available from your local FWP office or from the BLM Miles City Field office.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to manage and conserve the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations under our mandate of multiple-use and sustained yield. In Fiscal Year 2013, the BLM generated $4.7 billion in receipts from public lands.
Miles City Field Office 111 Garryowen Road Miles City, MT 59301
|Last updated: 01-17-2013|
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