Fences and barriers

There are different types of fences and barriers that can be used to repel wolves. Here are some options:
  1. Electric fence: An electric fence is the most effective way to keep wolves out. The fence consists of metal or plastic wires that are electrified. When a wolf touches the fence, it receives an unpleasant but non-lethal electric shock and backs away: if the impulse is strong enough, the hunting target behind the fence becomes less interesting for it. It is important to note here that the height above ground of the line of conductor material is appropriate for both the animal to be guarded and the standard heights for wolf defence. 
  2. Wildlife fence: Wildlife fences are often used to repel wild animals and can also be effective for wolf repelling. They consist of a close-meshed wire mesh that is high enough to prevent wolves from climbing over it. Wildlife fences should be buried deep enough into the ground to prevent undermining. They should also be additionally electrified with live conductor materials, run in spacer insulators, to prove not only the physical barrier but also the effect of deterrent conditioning by the unpleasant electric shock when touched.
  3. Wolf-repellent enclosures or combination of two fencing systems: By combining two fence lines, a safety ring is created between animals to be herded and the wolf. In addition, separate fence lines can be drawn here for wolf and livestock, i.e. an electric fence against wolf and a non-electrified fixed fence for horned sheep, goats or cattle.
Barbed wire fences are in no way recommended and do not provide sufficient protection against wolves. Mesh fences, like game fences, should definitely be equipped with appropriate additional electrification.

The ideal complement to the wolf-repellent electric fence are appropriately trained guard dogs (HSH). These specialised herding dogs function both like a perfectly adapted mobile alarm system and can give early warning of the danger of a wolf attack. In addition, the dogs themselves fulfil an important protective function by their very presence: the wolf perceives the guard dog as an equal opponent with whom it would have to fight: this is what the cautious smart hunter wants to avoid if possible!

How a wolf repellent system from AKO works

When an animal touches the wire, an electric circuit is closed, i.e. the electric current flows through the animal and back to the unit via the earth. This gives the animal an unpleasant, albeit harmless, electric shock and it backs away. This system works for both fencing and repelling animals. An electric fence acts as a psychological barrier and according to the principle of negative conditioning. When the fence is touched by an inexperienced animal (i.e. the wolf), it is therefore particularly important that the electric shock has its full effect in order to make the animal retreat accordingly and create a learning experience. If a wolf defence system is inadequately equipped (e.g. insufficient impact strength of the device, inferior conductor material, insufficient earthing), it can therefore happen in the long term that the wolf loses respect for the fence/net barrier and therefore accepts the unpleasant stimulus of the electric shock in order to reach its goal, i.e. its prey.
Grafik Wolfsberührung mit dem Elektrozaun
An electric fence system consists of
  • An electric fence device that generates regular current pulses.
  • Conductor material that transports the current (does not necessarily have to return to the start of the fence, i.e. does not have to be closed); this must run a maximum of 20 cm above ground, following the contour of the ground, and up to 60 cm at intervals of max. 20 cm. Ideal distances between conductors for basic protection against wolves are therefore 20 / 40 / 60 / 90 cm - at best extended with an additional row at 120 cm.
  • Insulators, which insulate the current from the earth and the remaining components.
  • Permanent or mobile posts that are used as needed to maintain the fence or net; to compensate for uneven ground, the spacing of the posts must be adjusted accordingly.
  • The grounding of the electric fence unit to close the required circuit - ideally deep in moist soil, if necessary support with several earth rods or bentonite mix.
Fence route
The fence must be equally adapted to local conditions and the hunting behaviour of the wolf:
  • A distance of max. 20 cm between the ground and the lowest strand must not be exceeded in order to prevent undermining.
  • In order to prevent the wolf from jumping in, the course of the fence must be either:
  • be at least 2.50 m away from a significant rise/slope,
  • the fence must be raised accordingly to compensate for the rise/slope, or
  • separate fences must be erected directly on the rise/slope for herding animals and for wolf protection*;
  • If the fence runs over a ditch, it should additionally be extended below the lowest strand by a vertical chain curtain. The chain curtain must then also be electrified. To prevent excessive discharge (e.g. during floods), an energy limiter should be installed.
  • Gates in the fence are potential weak points; therefore, they should also be electrified by appropriate extensions.
  • Ensure that the lowest wire follows the ground contour and is taut.
Please observe the following principles of electric fence construction when assembling and selecting your fence components:
  • the conductor material should have the lowest possible resistance to allow the current to flow in the best possible way throughout the fence; the resistance, measured in ohms/metre, should be less than 1 -> the less the better! Therefore, use conductor material with thick wires as well as good connections (Litzclip solutions).
  • The earthing system (earth rods and supply cable) should also have as low a resistance as possible in order to allow the current to flow in the best possible way in the event of animal contact. This means that the galvanised earth rods, at least 1 m long, should ideally be placed in a damp and overgrown area. If necessary, support this by using multiple earth rods or bentonite.
  • Insulators, on the other hand, should have as high a resistance as possible: these include gate handles and screw-in insulators with which the conductor material is guided along the posts: their function is to prevent unwanted conduction of the current from the fence to the ground.
* In the case of 2 or more electric fences, each operated by different devices, the distance between the two fence lines must be at least 2.50 m.

As a rule, measures to protect herds of farm animals endangered by wolves, e.g. sheep, goats, horses and cattle, are promoted. The establishment of a wolf-repellent minimum protection here includes the erection of electrically charged utility mesh or strand fences with a minimum height of 90 cm. Please also note that there may be different requirements depending on the federal state. Further requirements and information can also be found in the DIN VDE standard 0131 as well as the guide on electric fences VDE SPEC 90006 in its latest version.