Wildlife Friendly Wrought-Iron Gates and Fences

deer ang gates

Deer Caught in Improperly Constructed Gates and Fences

As Sonoma County becomes increasingly urbanized, more human-related, life-threatening hazards are being introduced into the lives of wildlife. Each year Wildlife Fawn Rescue receives many calls to rescue both fawns and adult deer from wrought-iron gates and fences. This grave emergency calls for immediate action. We can help and will respond quickly. Wildlife Fawn Rescue is the only available facility in Sonoma County that has proper skills and equipment to release these frantic deer without further harm. We’re able to release both fawns and adult deer from these treacherous traps. Call us at (707) 935-4550.

Often, especially during the dry months of summer and fall, deer will attempt to enter an enclosed, lush garden, vineyard or orchard, any location that furnishes the essential water and browse it seeks for survival. A hungry deer will quickly push its head through the lower bars, then gradually manipulate the flexible shoulders and ribcage inside. Once this point has been reached it’s unable to move either forward or back and becomes firmly wedged mid-body. The effort of this helpless deer struggling to be free causes deep abrasions. Internal organs may be seriously damaged and it will die.

This situation is dangerous for both the deer and for humans. Do not go near. Do not waste valuable time attempting to pull frightened animals from this trap. The deer will panic at being approached by a predator, which humans are, and it will intensify its struggle. An inexperienced person can be badly injured. Pulling can kill the deer due to both shock and internal injuries, and this effort will not release it. Do not attempt to cut the bars. Extreme stress can kill.

The good news is that this problem need not happen. These incidents can be easily avoided by awareness and planning ahead. Some of the most lovely gates are designed in a way that assures no animals will become wedged. Bottom bars may not be artistically designed with winding vines, cross bars, swirls and angles which prevent tragedies from happening. Openings, as high as at least three feet from the ground must be small enough to prevent even a young fawn from pushing its head through. Place these vertical bars close together, three inches between bars. For more widely spaced bars, insert horizontal cross-pieces into the design along the lower section. Brutal, sharp spikes at the top will not deter a hungry deer from attempting to hurdle the gate and becoming impaled. Be creative and your gate, the entrance to your home, will beome a eye-catching piece of art and will at the same time save both your landscape and a life.

To prevent these unnecessary tragedies:

  • Space lower vertical bars closer together (3 inches) to prevent a fawn from squeezing its head, shoulders and ribs through.

    Interweave horizontal bars into the design on the bottom (3 feet) of the gate or fence. Bring them completely across to the edges, not only in the center.

  • Eliminate all spikes from the top of gates and fences.

  • Install the gate and fence close to the ground (3 inches) to prevent a fawn from crawling under.

  • Leave a narrow corridor between the outside perimeter of the fence and the adjoining property to allow wildlife to travel in search of food, water and a safe habitat.

Plan ahead when you enclose your property. Think wild.

Each year Wildlife Fawn Rescue receives many calls to release fawns or adult deer that have become wedged between the bars of wrought iron gates and fences or impaled on decorative spikes placed across the top of the gate. Unable to free themselves the deer will die if not discovered in time for us to release them. Spikes are fatal to all deer impaled while attempting to leap over them. Most often we can save these helpless animals if we are called quickly. Even if the animal is in shock or limp, if it is alive, call us at (707) 931-4550. We will come.