What makes an animal a “nuisance?” Most wildlife never comes close to people. In fact, many people enjoy seeing such animals and believe that having them nearby adds to the value of their land. However, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division animals such as deer, coyotes, bears, raccoons, foxes and skunks often get labeled as a nuisance due to their sometimes intrusive and destructive habits in suburban settings.
“You can make a huge difference on whether or not that animal truly becomes a nuisance,” says Alex Coley, assistant chief with the Game Management Section. “With just some simple preventative measures, you can find a way to still enjoy nature in your backyard, without presenting an all-access pass to your yard and home.”
Following are basic tips to help keep wildlife from becoming a nuisance:
Don’t feed wildlife.
Keep items, such as grills, pet food or bird feeders, off-limits. Clean and store grills when not in use, keep pet food indoors or feed pets indoors, and refill bird feeders infrequently and in small amounts.
Make trash cans inaccessible. Keep lids securely fastened or store trash cans in a secured location until trash pick-up.
“Wildlife can, and will, take advantage of ‘easy food’ opportunities. So, it is our job, as homeowners, to ensure that we are keeping these non-natural foods away from wildlife – for our safety and for the animals,” says Coley.
Options for handling nuisance wildlife (including a list of professional nuisance trappers), fact sheets, wildlife rehabilitator information, tips on managing land for wildlife, guides on rabies and much more can be found on the Wildlife Resources Division’s webpage www.georgiawildlife.com/nuisancewildlife.