Dealing with Nuisance Wildlife

Birdfeeder bears

We all love wildlife, but when wild animals are in the wrong place at the wrong time -- think bears at your birdfeeder, skunks under your porch, or deer in the garden -- you need a strategy. When wildlife/human conflicts occur, it's important to remember that there are no “cookbook recipe” solutions. Each wildlife problem is unique and you need to have some understanding of the animal and the available control methods before beginning any control strategy.

If you need technical assistance or help with a wildlife conflict in New Hampshire, call USDA Wildlife Services at 603-223-6832 or contact a wildlife biologist at a N.H. Fish and Game Regional Office (click here).

To prevent human/wildlife conflicts, it's important to have an understanding of the wildlife that you may be dealing with. Remember that basic wildlife requirements are food, cover and space. The fundamental first step in controlling a wildlife problem is to keep these wildlife requirements in mind and make prudent modifications in your own behavior.

The major control techniques

It is critical to combine or integrate these basic control techniques with an understanding of the wildlife to be controlled.

Before Removing an Animal

If removing the animal(s) seems to be your best course of action, think about or be aware of these important considerations (click on a question to read the answer):

How many animals are you dealing with?
A need for multiple removals can be time-consuming and costly.
Is your target animal feeding young?
Consider delaying implementation of a control program until the young are weaned and mobile.
Are you likely to impact or capture non-target animals?
A live trap set for a woodchuck can suddenly turn into an uncovered and occupied skunk trap. The unintended capture of domestic pets is possible if proper precautions are not taken.
Will you be dealing with sick or injured animals?
Some wildlife disease symptoms or unhealthy conditions are observable, while others require laboratory testing if an animal and human exposure occurs.  Most exposures, aside from the scratch or bite of an animal, are transmitted from handling traps or animals without wearing some form of personal protective equipment.  The amount of equipment needed depends on the situation but, at a minimum, should include gloves and eye protection.  Contact your physician if you suspect that you’ve had and exposure to a sick animal.
If using a cage trap, do you have a plan and know how to release a captured animal?
Click here for important tips to keep in mind before you set out a cage trap to catch nuisance wildllife. Be aware that extracting a live animal, particularly a skunk, can be challenging unless you are well-informed.
Will you be transporting the animal elsewhere for release or do you intend to euthanize it?
If you plan to relocate the animal, be sure you are properly equipped to do so and that you have permission from the landowner where you intend to release it. Do not relocate a sick or diseased animal. If you plan to kill or dispatch the animal, be sure you are properly equipped and properly skilled and informed to humanely do so.
Will removal of the animal alone solve your problem?
Removal of a nuisance animal can result in its prompt replacement by another animal.Better to eliminate the attractant, protect the damaged resource, or properly exclude the animal, rather than stack up a large number of animals without addressing the real problem, which can range from a failure to eliminate attractants to a failure to secure access or properly protect sensitive resources. Any action taken should focus on the prevention of future conflicts.
Are you planning to remove bats from your property?
Be aware that exclusion of bats from unoccupied structures is prohibited from May 15 to August 15 unless the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services has documented a rabid bat on the property.This rule, established in 2012,reflects a growing concern for the status of many of New Hampshire's bat populations, which have been decimated by White Nose Syndrome in recent years.
USDA Wildlife Services

Fish and Game encourages people experiencing human/wildlife conflicts to contact our damage control partners at USDA Wildlife Services, who can be reached at 603-223-6832.These professionals have the technical training and experience to properly guide you in your wildlife conflict decision-making process. This is an essential part of their mission.

If Wildlife Services is not able to help resolve your problems by providing technical information, they can direct you to a list of professional Nuisance Wildlife Control Operators (NWCOs) who, for a fee, can help you resolve your nuisance wildlife issue.


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NH Fish and Game Dept.
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Concord, NH 03301

603-271-3421
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