Cows, Deer & Electric Fences

By GrowingDeer,

  Filed under: , ,

← Grant's AnswersAsk Grant


We lease some Midwest farms to hunt and there are cows in some areas for part of the warm months.  One owner fears us having multi-row electric fences because he thinks some of the cows might get caught between the wires and have problems getting out.  Do you have any experience with this type of situation?

Cows are gone by hunting season and we can open the electric fences.  After letting deer in for a few weeks to graze forage bean green leaves, can we close them out again until late season when we want them to enjoy the bean pods or will habit lead them to force their way back into the groceries?

Are you seeing or hearing reports of fewer deer in your parts of the Midwest?  In our areas of southeast Nebraska and northern Kansas we have experienced a drastic decline in deer numbers in the past 2 years.  We see fewer deer and we see the same deer multiple days so there seems to be fewer total deer.  More tags are being issued.  Late antlerless seasons are allowed after bucks have shed antlers.  There is a new 10-day Nebraska antlerless gun season that was added in the midst of bow season.  We have not seen evidence of big EHD problems.  Lots of hunters are practicing QDM in our areas so why the big drop in buck numbers?  Fewer does produce fewer buck fawns but why does it seem like such a sudden event?  We have gotten similar reports from several counties in southern Iowa and west central Illinois this year.  Do you think it is the result of official actions, over-harvests, weather cycles, voodoo, or just a really unlucky season?  Surely, it is not a matter of ALL of the bucks being in lockdown arrangements for the whole season, right?

Thanks, again, you are a GREAT resource and we appreciate your guidance.



Great to hear from you!  I hope we get to visit again this February at the Deer Study Group.

I would have no fear of cows or calves becoming entangled and/or hurt in the 2-tier Gallagher electric fence I use to protect food plot crops.  I’ve grabbed the fence (on purpose and by accident) and besides wishing I hadn’t, I was not injured.  I think the fear of a cow or calf being injured is totally unwarranted.  I think there is a much greater chance of a cow being injured by being chased into a barbed wire fence by dogs, coyotes, etc.

I’ve been very pleased with the results of the Gallagher fences at mine and several clients’ properties from New York to Alabama.  However, I haven’t tried opening the gates, then closing them again.  I believe this will work as long as the remainder of the fence is maintained with a charge.  If you give this a try, please keep me posted about the results!

I’ve heard a mix of reports from friends having their worst to best hunting season in the Midwest.  I do feel strongly that as more bucks are allowed to mature, the herd’s behaviors change.  I think herds with several bucks 4+ years old show much more of a lockdown style rut than herds with the biggest majority of bucks being 3 years old.  Three year old bucks tend to be more active and aggressive.  Once a herd has several big, mature bucks, the younger deer don’t tend to be as rowdy.  That’s not to say that hunting 4 year old bucks is boring, but that it requires a different strategy to be successful on a sustained basis.

I suspect the post rut hunts may be some of the best hunting during the 2010-11 season.  Let’s visit during February and see if this prediction is accurate.

Growing Deer together,