Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mule Deer Caught In Fence - Carmel Junction, Utah

This is one of the saddest scenes I have confronted as a photographer. This mule deer fawn has caught its' foot in a barbed wire fence it attempted to jump. The animal was still alive when I found it today, while driving east of Zion National Park, a few miles west of Carmel Junction, Utah..
The wire had cut completely to the bone all around the foot. I attempted to cut the wire with some small pliers I had, but I couldn't cut the heavy wire.
 I drove to Carmel Junction and asked a cashier in the store to call the authorities and she called dispatch and they contacted a deputy sheriff to meet me at the scene. When the  deputy arrived an hour later, we agreed that the best thing to do was to put the deer out of its' misery and shoot it. The deputy shot the deer and I left.
Deer often misjudge how high to lift their hind legs when jumping wire fences and the foot gets caught under the top wire and above the next wire. There is no escape from this. A slow painful death always results from being caught this way. There was a dead fawn caught in the fence the same way, less than a hundred yards from this live one.
This fence was in place to keep privately owned cattle, which were grazing on Government BLM land, from getting onto the highway. My solution would be to ban private cattle and other livestock from ALL PUBLIC LANDS and remove these horrible wildlife killing fences.


  1. Oh, gosh! That's just so sad...what a horrible ending for the deer...DAMN CATTLE!!!!

  2. Larry, livestock aren't going to be banned from public lands, at least not in our lifetimes. Plus, fences on private lands are also killing wildlife. Fences like the one in your photo are overkill (no pun intended).

    When I saw your post I googled fences and wildlife and quickly found a good article on fencing with wildlife in mind by the Colorado Department of Wildlife. Here is the link:

    This raises the question as to whether BLM, and other federal, State and local agencies, have standards for fencing and, if so, do they take wildlife into consideration? BLM and the Forest Service, for example, have multiple use mandates and have to take wildlife into consideration in managing their lands. Let's find out if they're doing so. Unlike banning livestock, this seems feasible.


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