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Living with Wildlife: Interactions

Living with Wildlife
Introduction & Species | Interacting with Wildlife | Common Questions

Wildlife Abatement

At any time, non-lethal abatement (harassment) or hazing techniques may be implemented to frighten or discourage animals from using your property. Abatement can occur at any time without a permit so long as the animal is not injured, touched, or handled by a person or their pets and all local ordinances are being followed. Abatement techniques can be audial (i.e. firecrackers, pyrotechnics, air horns), visual (i.e. handheld lasers, scarecrows, remote controlled devices), or physical (i.e. motion activated sprayer, sprinklers, or garden hoses).

In the event of encountering wildlife where you feel unsafe, keep the following suggestions in mind:

  • Bring pets and small children near you. If possible, hold them in your arms.
  • Do not approach an animal or corner it and give it a way to escape.
  • Do not run from the animal. Stand and face the animal, making eye contact.
  • Make yourself appear large. Raise your arms, stand tall and wide, and use clothing to appear larger.
  • In a loud, firm voice, yell and make noise and shout at the animal. You can also stomp your feet, shake a can of coins, or use other items to make noise.
  • Throw small items like small stones or sticks at the animal. Do not throw food.
  • If necessary, fight back and defend yourself.

Tips for Positive Interactions

  • Do not feed wildlife. Remove both food and water sources. Feeding wildlife can potentially cause animals to lose fear of humans, disrupt their natural behaviors and biology, spread disease and illness, create conflicts with other wildlife, and can lead to poor diet and nutrition for the animal.
  • Feed pets indoors whenever possible. If fed outdoors, pick up leftover pet food. Do not let spilled food accumulate on the ground.
  • Keep birdfeeders out of reach of wildlife or bring them inside at night. Do not let spilled food accumulate on the ground.
  • Prevent access to chimneys with an approved cover on top of the chimney. Repair soffits to prevent access to attics. Keep dampers closed when not in use but consult a knowledgeable source to prevent a fire hazard.
  • Prune tree limbs away from the roof (10 feet away is best) or install a 3-foot-wide band of sheet metal (6 feet above the ground), around the trunks of trees which overhang your house (take care not to girdle the tree). This will reduce access to your roof by wildlife such as raccoons and squirrels.
  • Garbage cans should be kept indoors when possible. Garbage can lids should be locked or tight-fitting to prevent access. Care should be taken to make sure cans are not easily tipped over.
  • Install metal skirting (i.e. strong hardware cloth) around the bottom of a deck to prevent a wild animal from making a den under structures.
  • Provide structures for fish in ornamental ponds and water gardens to provide protective cover. Consider covering the pond during the night with metal screening.
  • Cover window wells with grates or hardware cloth.
  • Seal up holes around and under home foundations to help keep out rodents, insects, and snakes. You can bury ¼ inch mesh hardware cloth 1-2 feet deep in places where animals might gain access to your crawl space through digging.
  • Fence gardens and cover fruit trees and berry bushes with netting or use an approved non-toxic repellent spray.
  • Repair broken, weak, or rotted areas on the roof, soffit, and fascia of your house.
  • Prevent bird-window strikes. This can be accomplished by marking large windows with patterns that can be seen 10 feet away. Avoid placing feeders close to windows.
  • Cover compost piles when not in use.
  • Pick up fallen fruit to avoid attracting wildlife.
  • Keep grills and grease traps covered and clean regularly to prevent attracting wildlife.
  • Always keep all pets supervised when outdoors and on leashes when being walked. Pets weighing approximately 15 pounds or less are more susceptible to predation. Predator vests and collars are commercially available if you are concerned about small pets.
  • Keep domesticated birds in covered enclosures that are routinely maintained.
  • Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not handle or remove wildlife without proper licenses or permits.

Report a Conflict

Indiana residents having conflicts with river otters, bobcats, badgers, sandhill cranes, or white-tailed deer can help Indiana DNR collect information by using the wildlife complaint form. This form allows DNR to track conflict reports for key species of interest. The form does not submit a permit application on your behalf to remove an animal, and it should not be used to submit sightings of these species. If you are interested in removing any of these species, contact your local district wildlife biologist. DNR appreciates the support of Indiana residents in helping us collect better information about wildlife conflicts.

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