“Nuisance” or “Problem” Wildlife

**Note, please always check for babies if something has started to den on your property BEFORE implementing any deterrents.

WILDNorth recommends deterrents, exclusion, and removal of attractants over relocation. Though relocation may, on the surface, seem like the most humane option, it often is not. Relocation is extremely stressful for an animal, and can reduce their chances of survival significantly. You have now moved an animal out of a known territory, where they need to now find new food and water sources, and are likely going to need to compete with the existing creatures in that territory. WILDNorth often admits babies that have been “orphaned” due to their mother being relocated.

Step 1: Remove Attractants

Wildlife are very goal oriented; they are looking for food, water, and shelter. If you want to reduce wildlife encounters on your property, the first thing you need to do is consider why that animal has chosen to live/spend time there. These are commonly called “attractants” – what attracted the animal to that area in particular. This isn’t as simple as it sounds, though – many things can be considered an attractant for an animal. You need to assess your property and remove or deal with as many of attractants as possible.

Common attractants include:

  • Feeding pets outside
  • Unsecured compost or garbage
  • Spilled seed from bird feeders
  • Access under your deck
  • Trees with low branches

Step 2: Add deterrents

After you’ve done this, you can start thinking about deterrents — how can you make your property unattractive to wildlife.

Examples of bird deterrents:

  • Scare eyes
  • Reflective/flash tape
  • Decoys

Examples of mammal deterrents:

  • Scent deterrents in areas of interest (i.e. under your deck) like synthetic coyote urine, human hair, dirty gym socks, pet excrement like kitty litter (keep this in a bag with holes poked in it), apple cider vinegar or ammonia soaked rags (keep these in a sealed bag with holes as well)
  • Sound deterrents like playing a radio station to a talk radio program near dens or high traffic areas. Wildlife view humans as a threat or predator, so the sounds of our voices can deter them
  • Light deterrents, like motion sensitive lights or a continuous (and fire-safe) light shining into areas such as den sites

Step 3: Exclude animals from areas of interest

Once the wildlife in question have moved on from your property, you can start working on exclusion. This would mean “wildlife proofing” your property; this may mean putting up chicken wire on trees that are being eaten, sealing holes under decks, capping your chimneys and vents, fencing areas off, etc. If you go through all of these steps, this will not only help you to deal with the current animal you are having a problem with, but will also help to prevent any future issues.


We recognize that this is a lot to consider, but these creatures are making these decisions for a reason, and it is much more humane to have them choose to move on rather than trapping and relocating them.

If you need more advice on deterrents and exclusion, please call the Wildlife Helpline and speak to an advisor (780-914-4118).