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ideas for a "wildlife gate"?

 
Mariah Wallener
Posts: 167
Location: Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, Canada
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Not sure if this is the right sub-forum. I'm putting it here because of the emphasis in permaculture of dividing land into "zones", one of which is set aside for wildlife.

We have four acres here, laid out in a long rectangle running north-south (the house and outbuildings are at the top - north - end). The bottom 2 acres are currently woodland, some of which will be cleared and some of it used for food forest type plantings or just left in its natural state. An issue that has come to mind is this: we would like to install perimeter fencing around the entire property for various reasons, one of which is to allow our dog to roam around our property (she lives indoors and is inside at night). While I want fencing that will keep the dog in, I don't want to exclude the fantastic Roosevelt Elk who wander through our property regularly. There's nothing like waking up, looking out your window, and seeing a 6 point buck leading his harem of ladies and their babies across your field. Now I know that they can jump pretty high but they may just choose to wander elsewhere if we put up too much of an obstacle. Having them visit our property is one of the highlights of our place and I would be very sad to exclude them from the grasses they enjoy so much (plus I don't like the idea of reducing their habitat).

I was thinking: wouldn't it be great to have some kind of gate or fencing system that would keep the dog in but let elk go in and out. I'm no engineer, nor am I handy, so I thought I'd put it out here for all you folks to ponder.
 
tel jetson
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Location: woodland, washington
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not a particularly creative or permie solution, but have you considered a radio shock collar for the dog?
 
Cj Sloane
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Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
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Mariah Wallener wrote:While I want fencing that will keep the dog in, I don't want to exclude the fantastic Roosevelt Elk who wander through our property regularly. There's nothing like waking up, looking out your window, and seeing a 6 point buck leading his harem of ladies and their babies across your field. Now I know that they can jump pretty high but they may just choose to wander elsewhere if we put up too much of an obstacle. Having them visit our property is one of the highlights of our place and I would be very sad to exclude them from the grasses they enjoy so much (plus I don't like the idea of reducing their habitat).


The shock collar sounds great but you probably can only do a small area. All of my dogs have free range except one who stays in the sheep paddock because she would wander. Perimeter walks might help teach the dog your/its boundarys but it depends on the dog.

I'm not sure I understand why you want fencing. My suggestion would be to keep it open except for some paddocks (this is what I do).

However... I'd like to bring up something I read in Introduction to permaculture.pdf.

There are two type-one errors--very bad errors--to avoid. One
is to site your client on these ridges, or in wind tunnels, or in
fire funnels. The other one is to put people in the bush, to make
a tiny clearing in the bush and locate a house in there. From
the moment people move to the site, they experience terrible
conflict.
Our clients are usually very conservation minded people.
They like squirrels and chipmunks and beavers. They don't ordinarily
shoot them all day long. As soon as we locate a client
in the scrub, we make him a very attractive target for all the
local animal and bird population. They are racing for his pumpkins.
What happens? The woodchucks go there. So he has to kill
the woodchucks. He didn't want to do that. What's more, he
will kill woodchucks all his life. It's true. He has to shoot wallabies,
kill woodchucks, go out with a club and beat possums on
the head. Yet he is a gentle vegetarian soul. The animals are
badly killed and mangled so the client gets a guilt complex. He
heads back to town because he can't stand it. He has to leave
it to somebody else to carry out this bloodthirsty business, all
because you put him in the bush!
Perhaps he has a nice white pine by the fence, and he can't
grow anything within 40 feet of it. So is he going to starve or
kill the white pine? He is going to kill the white pine. Gradually,
the site begins to look like a bit of penicillin in the middle of
bacteria. Everything around gets murdered. The client turns
into the usual redneck. For what turns a person into a redneck
is constant killing. You can turn a gentle conservationist into a
real rough person. You did it. That's your fault. Or, if it was
somebody else who did it, then you have a retrofit job on your
hands.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3717
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
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Hmm.
Let me just add that I am in the middle of the woods! My LGDs keep wildlife at bay somewhat, well, at least the predators. And like I said, selective fencing has done wonders. We do have to kill a woodchuck now and again though.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Even the small White-tail deer have no problem jumping a four-foot fence, which our extremely active Border Collie has no interest in jumping. Elk could practically walk over a four-foot fence and it's unlikely to interrupt their normal route, in my opinion.

 
John Polk
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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If your dog is not a jumper, or escape artist, a simple hedgerow, about 3-4 feet tall should do the job. Any wildlife that can stand there and see over it will not be slowed down by it. Hedgerows like that make great paddock boundries, and provide a lot of nice edge.
 
Mariah Wallener
Posts: 167
Location: Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, Canada
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Radio shock collar won't work reliably enough - she's one of those dogs that would rather chase the rabbit and take the shock.

One of the reasons we want perimeter fencing is because our property borders a popular hiking trail (down at the south end). The west side of the property contains some smaller trails. So people tend to wander onto our property not realizing it is private property. I wouldn't mind that so much but I do enjoy my privacy plus the bigger issue is that ATVs are not allowed on the main trail, so some yahoos like to trespass onto private property bordering the trail in order to bypass the guard rails along the trail way. They do a lot of damage (I have nothing against ATVs. btw; we have one ourselves).

Creative cross-fencing could be a solution but it all costs $$....definitely something to think about with regard to the "master Plan".

I would like the dog to have access to a large area so that 1) her poops aren't concentrated in any one area and 2) so she can get lots of exercise (she loves exploring our woods).

And...well I know this sounds silly but I really like seeing my borders and having everything neatly enclosed. It's an aesthetics thing and I realize rather silly but me and Hubby both seem to have our hearts set on defining our piece of land that way.

Cjverde, I appreciate the quote from Introduction to Permaculture but I don't believe it applies to me, not really sure what point you were trying to make? I have no issue with the wildlife here, and if I found myself in a situation where I thought I had to start excluding wildlife from my property I'd rethink my situation. Of course, I'm not trying to make a living off my homestead so perhaps its easy for me to say that.

Tyler, you may just have the best solution. My dog is not a jumper, either, and 4 ft would be plenty for her. I suppose I could experiment with a temporary fence and see if it deters the elk or not.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
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Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
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Mariah Wallener wrote:

Cjverde, I appreciate the quote from Introduction to Permaculture but I don't believe it applies to me, not really sure what point you were trying to make?


You mentioned making a food forest so I thought it was an important point (that an unprotected food forest might feed the wild critters instead of you).
 
Mariah Wallener
Posts: 167
Location: Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, Canada
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Oh, yes. That's right. The food forest part would only be a small section of the land and if need be I could fence that off with deer/elk-sized fences. It's on a corner that is not the main route of entry and exit for the elk. Perhaps just getting more complicated with cross-fencing and gates is the answer. Maybe I haven't thought this through enough.

John, hedgerow is a good idea, though they take a few years to grow, right?. Will add that to the list of potential solutions. Thanks!
 
Dave Miller
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Location: Zone 8b: SW Washington
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Are there any large rocks/boulders on the property? Perhaps you could place them strategically to discourage the ATV's.

If it were me, I would plant a hedgerow instead of a fence. I have had good success starting hedgerow permie plants (e.g. goji, aronia) from seed - way cheaper than buying them. Last year I grew some from seed and gave away 60 extras! That probably wouldn't solve your dog problem though. But it might help him know where his turf ends.
 
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