Wednesday, August 14, 2013

To Fence or Not to Fence Your Ranch?

Wyoming state law requires ranchers to build fences around their respective ranches to benefit from the law itself. To be accurate, Wyoming doesn't strictly require fences for demarcation, but as a fence-out state for cattle, ranchers that don't have fences on their properties can't hold other ranchers liable if the latter's livestock enters their territory.

If the ranch came with the fence, however, then any trespassers would hold its owners liable for any damage inflicted. A fence-out, also called an open range, means ranchers can have their livestock roam free across the Wyoming heartland save for areas enclosed by a lawful fence. State statutes define a lawful fence as fencing strong enough to keep livestock in and out. They don't have to be the pole and board fences that are typical of ranches in popular culture. Even barbed wire fencing three layers thick are considered under state law to be legal fencing.

For ranchers raising sheep and domesticated buffalo, keep in mind that Wyoming is also a fence-in state. Unlike cattle, lamb and sheep need to be supervised by the ranchers in or out of their property, so make sure not a single sheep veers away from the herd. The difference between a fence-in and fence-out is that the fence-in principle respects property boundaries, regardless of the presence of fencing.


Post a Comment