Exclusion fencing

Exclusion fencing is widely used in Australia to manage the undesirable impacts of medium-sized to large-sized mammals, including wild dogs, feral pigs and macropods. The method has high social acceptability. Fencing has been widely used to manage the impacts of deer overseas, and there is a demand from private and public land managers for information about how to use this method in Australia.

Deer can jump higher than sheep, cattle and goats. This means standard sheep, cattle and goat fences (typically 1.2 m in height) do not exclude deer.

Deer exclusion fence on the Bogong High Plains, Victoria (Elaine Thomas, Parks Victoria).

To exclude deer, fences should be a minimum of 1.9 m in height, have a mesh netting of 17/190/15, and posts spaced at a maximum of 10 m are recommended. Macropods, feral pigs,and wild dogs are also prevented from jumping over or pushing through fencing to these specifications. To prevent animals from pushing or digging under fencing and creating holes for deer to move through, a 30 cm netting apron is also desirable. If an apron is used, the pole spacing needs to be shorter (typically at 5 m intervals). An electric outrigger wire outside the fence (20–60 cm above the ground, depending on the mix of species to be excluded) can reduce the pressure on the fence and apron from deer, feral pigs, macropods and wild dogs.

The key issues around using deer-exclusion fences relate to whether they are being constructed in agricultural or conservation settings. For more information, read the report: Using exclusion fencing to manage feral deer impacts in Australia.