By Ryan Hill


EL DORADO COUNTY (CBS13) — Young deer in El Dorado County have something else to look out for besides traps, snares and cars. Wrought iron fences around homes are a danger to the deer.

Dave Cook with the Sierra Wildlife Rescue told CBS13 that wrought iron fences are becoming traps for young deer in the area.

The fawns try to follow their mothers that jump over these fences through the four-inch-gaps in the fence line. Fawns are able to squeeze part of the way through the gap, but can’t make it all the way. Their shoulders are narrow enough to make it through but their hips aren’t.

“To be stuck right in the middle of her abdomen, right in between the rib cage and the hips and just ram the heck out herself,” Cook said.

Some of these fawns’ suffer deep cuts. But sometimes are the gashes are just the beginning.

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“Sometimes they can break their hips. They break a leg. They rip the flesh. They can cause internal injuries,” Cook said.

Cook told CBS13 that roughly 50% of the young deer he rescues from the fences die. He said that he receives anywhere from 36 to 40 calls for fawns stuck in wrought iron fences during the summer months.

The calls go down in volume as the deer continue to grow. The four inches of space on the wrought iron fence is a big risk for the fawns. But Cook said, when they get older and are able to jump, the sharp pointed edges on top of the fence pose an even bigger risk.

“A yearling or an adult deer that tries to jump over the top, sometimes won’t have enough lift and will come down right on the spikes. And that’s always fatal,” Cook said.

Cook said that there’s a way to make sure that none of these deer have to be saved at all.

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“You can run hardware cloth along here,” Cook said referencing the gaps in the fence. “You could run plastic netting.”

Cook told CBS13 there’s a mesh called deer netting that homeowners can buy at a hardware store. He also said there’s a more expensive option to prevent fawns from being wedged in these fences.

“Some people will go and put a bar in between; have a third bar welded. Usually, they will only go up a couple of feet,” Cook said.

Some homeowners also elect to install a divider on the sharp pointed edges on top of these fences.

Cook’s been offering advice on how to save fawns for two decades. But he said it irritates him still seeing these small gaps of death for these deer.

“Some people seem to feel bad about it and try to take remedial action in the future,” Cook said. “But a lot of people seem not to care very much.”

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