We used infrared-activated video cameras and direct observation to evaluate the effects of 2-wire high-tensile electric fence (2-WF), 3-wire high-tensile electric fence (3-WF), and 4-wire high-tensile electric fence (4-WF) designs on elk (Cervus elaphus), mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), and pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) movements. In addition, high-tensile electric fences (HTEF) were tested for their effectiveness on domestic cattle (Bos taurus; 2-WF and 3-WF) and bison (Bison bison; 3-WF and 4-WF). Shock energy on the test fences ranged from 0.5–4.5 J. The wildlife species we studied were physically capable of crossing all of the fence designs. However, difficulty in crossing the fences varied between species and designs. The elk and mule deer observed were more successful (100%) at crossing the 2-WF than pronghorn (51%). Mule deer (95%) and pronghorn (91%) were more successful at crossing 4-WF than elk (59%). The majority of elk (79%), mule deer (93%), and pronghorn (97%) successfully crossed 3-WF. Electric shock did not appear to affect elk, mule deer, or pronghorn at a charge of 0.5–4.5 J, and overall <1% were shocked when interacting with HTEF. For domestic cattle, 2-WF was 99% effective in calf separation tests and 100% effective for bull separation. Bison were successfully contained by both 3-WF (100%) and 4-WF (99.8% [˜100%]). Our data suggest the 3-WF design overall was the least restrictive for elk, mule deer, and pronghorn and effectively confined domestic cattle and bison.
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