There was a time—only a few decades ago—when catching a fleeting glance of a white-tailed deer bounding across a meadow would have been rare indeed; when spotting a bear in your backyard happened only once in a blue moon; when coyotes in this area were an uncommon occurrence.
The balance between wildlife and people has changed dramatically since then as we continue to mutually encroach on each others’ territory.
This combination of people and animals has at times brought about conflicts as we inevitably cross paths more and more frequently.
Most wildlife has an inherent fear of people with no interest in coming close to us.
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.
“Wildlife can, and will, take advantage of ‘easy food’ opportunities,” Chief of the Game Management Section of Wildlife Resources Division John Bowers said. “So, it is our job, as homeowners, to ensure that we are keeping these nonnatural foods away from wildlife—for our safety and for wildlife.”
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 and 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 pickup.
Options for handling nuisance wildlife (including a list of professional nuisance trappers), fact sheets, wildlife rehabilitation information, tips on managing land for wildlife, guides on rabies and much more can be found at georgiawildlife.com/nuisancewildlife.