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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Evaluation of wire fences for coyote control

Published source details

Thompson B.C. (1979) Evaluation of wire fences for coyote control. Journal of Range Management, 32, 457-461


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Install electric fencing to reduce predation of livestock by mammals to reduce human-wildlife conflict Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A replicated, controlled study in 1975–1976 in a captive facility in Oregon, USA (Thompson 1979) found that most coyotes Canis latrans crossed electric fences and all 18 electric fence designs trialled were crossed by at least some coyotes. Coyotes crossed fences in 48–100% of the 20–30 tests/design. The most successful design (crossed in 13 of 27 tests) included three low-down electric wires laid out horizontally from the main vertical conventional fence (99-cm-high woven wire with two barbed wires above and one at the base). See paper for further details of fence designs. Tests involved 10 coyotes, conditioned to walk a route. Electric fences of 18 designs were sequentially placed along this route and 20–30 tests were conducted for each to see if coyotes would cross. The 18 designs represented modifications of standard fences used to house livestock in the study area, supplemented with wires charged by a 12-V battery. Trials were conducted from April 1975 to March 1976 and lasted each time for 10–15 minutes.

(Summarised by Ricardo Rocha)

Install non-electric fencing to exclude predators or herbviores and reduce human-wildlife conflict Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A replicated, controlled study in 1975–1976 in a captive facility in Oregon, USA (Thompson 1979) found that a high woven wire fence with small mesh, an overhang and an wire apron projecting out from the fence base (to deter burrowing) was the most effective of 34 fence designs at deterring crossings by coyotes Canis latrans. Fence performance varied from 0 to 71% of coyotes failing to cross fences. The best-performing non-electric fence prevented more crossings (14 of 15 trials) than did the best-performing electric fence (11 of 15 trials) or a standard sheep fence (6 of 15 trials). One of two coyotes, which had already crossed a standard sheep fence, crossed the best-performing fence during each of two tests whilst the other failed to cross it during four tests. Best-performing fence measurements were not stated explicitly but the paper recommends fences are ≥168 cm high, with mesh ≤15.2 × 10.2 cm and with an overhang and apron of ≥38 cm. Initial tests involved 10 coyotes, conditioned to walk a route, with 34 fence designs sequentially installed on the route. Subsequent trials, with five new coyotes, tested their ability to cross fences to reach a tethered rabbit. In final trials, coyotes that crossed a standard sheep fence and killed a tethered rabbit were tested using the best-performing fence design. Coyotes were wild caught. Trials were conducted from April 1975 to March 1976.

(Summarised by Alexis Kovach )