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Game & Fish

Urban Wildlife Conflicts

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06/01/2007 - When wildlife and humans live in the same place, there is potential for conflict. A number of species have adapted to urban and suburban areas and can be quite common in residential developments.

As Casper continues to grow, residential development around the periphery impacts wildlife habitat and displaces animals. It also creates the potential for additional conflict. In some cases, the conflicts come from animals just trying to continue to live in the locations in which these developments are occurring. In other cases, residential development offers things that are attractive, such as lush vegetation, unsecured garbage, denning and nesting sites, and domestic animals that can be attractive prey.

In most cases wildlife and humans can coexist, but conflicts do arise. Following are a few suggestions that can help prevent conflicts.

Habitat Management- Planting landscaping plants that are not attractive (not palatable) helps reduce damage from wildlife. Lists of species that are unattractive to wildlife can be obtained from nurseries, county extension agents, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, and on the Internet.

Exclusion - Plant covers and protective netting on plants is a good way to protect them. Fencing is an effective technique; a variety of fence designs can be used. Depending on the number of plants to be protected and the planting arrangement, they can be fenced individually, or collectively. The best fence type will depend on the situation. Fencing is often the only means to protect young trees and shrubs from big game animals that rub their antlers on them during the rut. The trunks of young trees can be wrapped with a special protectant material or with a loose wrap of mesh fencing. Mothballs or ammonia-soaked rags can be used to repel and temporarily exclude fox, squirrels and skunks, especially from dens in undesirable locations.

Repellent- a variety of products can be used to protect plants from being eaten. Repellents such as Repel®, Scare Away® and Deer Away® can be purchased from nurseries, feed stores or from catalog and Internet suppliers. A repellent can be made using Tabasco® or other hot sauce diluted in water, then it can be sprayed with a spray bottle on plants. Deer can sometimes be repelled with handfuls of human hair (from barber shops or beauty salons) in 6- 8 inch 'bags' made from sections of women's nylon hose and hung 24-36 inches above the ground at approximately 3-foot intervals. Repellents are temporary and will have to be renewed periodically.

Frightening- Motion activated lights may protect areas from deer and other animals. Mylar streamers, mylar strips twisted a few times and strung between poles like single strand fencing, pinwheels, and disposable aluminum pie plates dangling from string are other methods to frighten animals. The Contech motion activated sprinkler is a sprinkler pest chaser that can also be effective. These can be purchased on the Internet.

Trapping- Live trapping can be used to relocate an animal to a new area. Live traps may be borrowed from the Game and Fish Department.

Squirrels – Problems specific to fox squirrels are primarily related to them becoming pests at bird feeders and nesting in attics or other spaces in houses.

Feeders – Use feeders specifically designed to exclude squirrels or hang the feeders so they are unreachable by them.

Nests in problem areas – Outside of the nesting/young rearing period, plug openings to attics, soffits and other places where they can enter.

The Game and Fish Department also has a Technical Bulletin entitled, "Homeowner's Guide to Resolving Wildlife Conflicts" (Technical Bulletin #45), which provides further suggestions. It can be found on the Department's website by selecting 'Habitat' from the list in the upper left of the website, selecting 'Terrestrial Habitat Home' from the drop down menu, selecting 'Technical Bulletins' from the next drop down menu, then going to the second page of technical bulletins.

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