Category Archives: Coexisting with Wild Animals

The Truth Matters


Photo by Alex Shute on Unsplash


The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (NY) was famous for saying that “everyone is entitled to [their] own opinion, but not [their] own facts.” These words are as important today as they were the first time the Senator uttered them. 

Americans’ trust in major institutions is declining. Gallup released findings showing that trust in the media was at its second lowest point since the analytics company began yearly polling around this issue. The Pew Research Center published a video that paralleled the Gallup data but added that the general distrust of media is tempered by trust in particular news sources – highlighting the importance of personal connection to positive attitudes towards news outlets.

In the America of today everything is politicized. From masks and vaccines to wolves on the landscape – it is all too common for various sides to take zero sum positions.  Questioning the integrity of others and undermining trust and confidence in objective science-based decision-making is far too common in the U.S. and acts to divide us into separate groups where we tend to favor those that think like we do.  As Mike Brooks, Ph.D., writes in Psychology Today:

“If we can easily become judgmental and hateful of outgroup members based on random, fabricated, and trivial distinctions, just imagine how strong such feelings can be when they are based on more profound or emotionally-laden distinctions…

A 2021 article published in FACETS, a multidisciplinary open access science journal, highlights how misinformation and polarization harm conservation efforts. The authors write: 

…[H]unting, animal welfare and conservation organizations may not share the same ethical, instrumental or utilitarian values toward wildlife, yet all of these groups advocate for better conservation outcomes for wildlife…[w]hen these groups are pitted against one another over a subset of values (e.g., consumptive use of wildlife; evidence vs. anecdote; science vs. emotion), it generates conflict and weakens their collective ability to affect change on commonly shared values (e.g., the persistence of wildlife populations)…

There is, of course, a different path but it requires that we, collectively and apolitically, expect the fair and objective dissemination of facts from those that we entrust with our attention.  Spin and opposition research may be fair chase in politics but it should not be so on issues of wild spaces and wildlife.  

Rachel Tilseth, the founder of Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin, has written about the value of empathy.  I echo what she has written and add my personal view that empathy for those that disagree is a virtue. Rather than assemble a dossier of cherry-picked facts let us build a table together and construct seats for those with diverse opinions.  Let us break bread, enjoy coffee, share in the pleasantries of life – and yes, have open, honest, and real discussions about our planet and our place within it. I am not perfect but I am committed to this task. I am passionate about gray wolves and their place within our ecosystem and I believe in the science that I have read. However, I have not read all of the science there is to consume – but I am committed to growing and learning.  My worldview may be different from that of others but I invite a respectful and empathetic conversation.  

“[H]unting, animal welfare and conservation organizations may not share the same ethical, instrumental or utilitarian values toward wildlife, yet all of these groups advocate for better conservation outcomes for wildlife” 

Too often it seems that those with influence yield it without regard to the long-game or with the idea that differing groups may actually have shared goals.  No side is immune from this and we can all point to examples of irresponsible advocacy or politicking that, objectively, should not have been shared. Of course, there are exceptions, but I have to believe – perhaps I want to believe – that our shared goals can be a uniting force.   A pithy soundbite may be great for clicks but it is likely not productive.  As it relates to the gray wolf, questions of recovery goals, recovery range, management and environmental impact are too important to be debated in 280 characters or less, through a narrow-minded video or a one-sided podcast interview.

The truth matters and if we care about our wild spaces and wildlife we will not settle for the ping pong match of misinformation and polarization that is all too accepted today.   It is easy to source opinions that we agree with but let us pledge to engage with those with whom we disagree and see what common ground we can forge.


Researcher found that nearly one-third of the diet of the wolves studied consisted of dump sites on nearby farms…

Dumping cattle carcasses is illegal in Michigan and Wisconsin. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that leaving carcasses in the woods, especially in wolf range, will attract wild carnivores. It’s just plain and simple common sense practice to dispose of livestock properly. Properly disposing of dead livestock also helps prevent the spread of diseases.

It can also be a lesson well learned as in the following story told to me a couple years ago by a woman living in wolf range. I was talking with a woman that lives in the country with a resident wolf pack nearby. I asked her if she had seen any signs of them lately, and she said she hasn’t seen them, but knows they are nearby. Then, she told me her tragic story. They had two dogs, one young and one older, and recently lost the older dog because of a mistake they made. She told me that they dumped their food scraps in a pit in the woods down behind their house; That one day she came out to the garage to find the young dog cowering in the corner. Then, she heard the older dog let out a screech from the pit out behind the house. She ran to the pit, looked down into the woods, and there was no sight of the older dog. They looked but never found a trace of him. They did find wolf tracks though. I asked them if they reported the incident to the DNR and she said no because it was their fault. She said they stopped dumping food scraps in the pit in the woods behind their house. They understand their mistake and tragically too late for their older dog. They live in wolf range and are also farmers. They also respect wolves and understand their place in the ecosystem.

Recently…Research In Upper Peninsula Finds Dumped Livestock Is Changing Predatory Behavior

A study led by Tyler Petroelje, a wildlife researcher and doctoral candidate at Mississippi State University, tracked the feeding behaviors of eight wolves from two packs in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. This research was part of a broader predator-prey study that investigated a variety of factors that affect deer populations in the region. As reported by Great Lakes Echo, the study suggested that dumping cow carcasses alters wolf behavior.

In the North Woods of Wisconsin and Michigan, a wolf’s natural diet typically consists of deer and beaver, Petroelje explained. But he found that nearly one-third of the diet of the wolves studied consisted of cattle carcasses from dump sites on nearby farm

The following is recommendations for disposing of dead livestock from Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture

Livestock Carcass Disposal

Disposing of livestock carcasses is an important part of animal agriculture. Wisconsin law says that carcasses must be properly disposed of within 24 hours from April through November and within 48 hours from December through March.

Rendering, burial, burning and landfilling have been the typical means of disposal, but these are becoming less and less practical. Burial and burning create biosecurity hazards and threats to water and air quality. Rendering remains the best choice to protect the environment, public health, and animal health, but it is becoming more expensive and less available.

Cattle carcasses in particular are becoming more difficult and expensive to send to rendering because of federal regulations. The Food and Drug Administration, which regulates animal feed and pet foods, now prohibits using parts from cattle 30 months or older in any food for animals unless the spinal cord and brain are first removed.

We recommend composting carcasses to overcome these problems. Remember that composting is an active process.

Putting a carcass in the woods or on the back 40 to rot and/or be eaten by scavengers is not composting and:

• Risks disease transmission to your livestock and your neighbors’, and to wildlife.

• May contaminate water sources – including your well and your neighbors’ wells.

• Invites vermin and pests, including coyotes, that may transmit disease and prey on your livestock.

• Alienates neighbors and generally casts farmers in a bad light.

• Is illegal.

Can we learn how to coexist with our fellow sentient-beings that share our planet before it’s too late? 

Man’s destructive track record on wildlife, over the last ten thousand years, makes me think humans are not essential for the survival of the planet. Humans have caused the extinction of thousands of essential sentient-beings. Simply put, wolves are free sentient-beings. I’m not going to measure their right to exist compared to “if they help humans or not.”  Why do humans put less value on the lives of animals living in the wild? Wolves are highly social & intelligent sentient-beings, and have the right to live wild & free. Mankind, as a species, must change their way of thinking-from human domination of the planet to- peacefully coexistence with sentient-beings that share our world. 

Join the campaign to end “Wolf Hounding” in Wisconsin. 

The following is a wolf hounding fact sheet: 
 Out of all the states that hunt wolves, only Wisconsin allows hound hunters to use unleashed packs of dogs to hunt wolves. Wisconsin, quite literally, throws “dogs to the wolves.”Hound hunters traditionally train their dogs to focus on specific prey by releasing their dogs to surround, attack and terrorize a prey animal (e.g. a bear cub or fox) for hours on end (up to 16 hours/day) enclosed in a small, open barrel or “roll cage.” At this point it remains disturbingly unclear as to how hound hunters will train their dogs to pursue wolves instead of other animals—will it be by capturing wolves and allowing their dogs to attack them in barrels and pens? How isn’t this worse than illegal dog fighting? WODCW’s Wolf Hounding Fact Sheet

 “There has never been a more important time for the people of Wisconsin to show they are not going to give in to a small group of people that want to torture animals for fun under the guise of “sport.” ~Rachel Tilseth

Photo of wolf by John E Marriott

Let’s bring back the heart in conservation management…

Do not feed the bears. 

I have followed the career of Dr. Jane Goodall since childhood.  I remember watching National Geographic specials with wide-eyed-wonderment. I was amazed at how Dr. Goodall observed chimpanzees in their natural habitat.  A natural habitat can be defined as; the natural environment in which an organism lives, or the physical environment that surrounds a species population. I began working to support wolf recovery as a volunteer winter wolf tracker in the year 2000.  Volunteer trackers were instructed to, “do no harm” in wolf habitat.  In other words, do not disturb them.  For instance, if wolves howled back on a survey, the survey was completed; we were instructed not to howl back, because that would be considered disturbing them. 

Wisconsin’s natural resources are kept in the public trust for now and future generations. 

I’ve been waiting patently since back in January for research to be published concerning the baiting of black bears. It was published this month in a research article, Consumption of intentional food subsidies by a hunted carnivore that reveals some startling results. 

The baiting of black bear starts in April and goes through to the end of September. That’s roughly six months of intentional food subsidies being fed to a carnivore. Not to mention, that’s a lot of disruption to the black bear’s natural habitat. Over four million gallons of bait is dropped in the woods for the purpose of hunting black bear. Bears are fed donuts, gummy bears, and cereal. Donuts have a high volume of calories, some doughnuts contain partially hydrogenated oils, which aren’t healthy for the heart, and most doughnuts are made with white flour. Glazed doughnuts contain 210 mg of sodium. 

Black bears are omnivores that eat food of both plant and animal origin.

It’s no surprise that baiting black bear is a cause for alarm. It’s been controversial for a number of years. But what’s interesting now is the research points out a number of problems resulting from the baiting of black bear. 

Female consumption of high caloric food subsidies can increase fecundity (the ability to produce an abundance of offspring or new growth; fertility), and can train cubs to seek bear baits. According to the research this can increase a population above its ecological carrying capacity. 

Black bears are omnivorous and spend spring, summer & autumn foraging for Native Forage, included known bear foods; berries, acorns, grasses and sedges, other plants, and white-tailed deer.  

Today, black bears in Wisconsin are being conditioned to search out human foods placed at bear baiting stations. This is influencing the black bears natural habitat. Researchers found that; humans are influencing the ecosystem not only through top-down forces via hunting, but also through bottom-up forces by subsidizing the food base. 

The Researchers found that if food subsidies (bait) were removed, bear-human conflicts may increase and bears may no longer be able to subsist on natural foods. 

During its first century, Yellowstone National Park was known as the place to see and interact with bears. Hundreds of people gathered nightly to watch bears feed on garbage in the park’s dumps. Enthusiastic visitors fed bears along the roads and behaved recklessly to take photographs.

High availability of energy-rich food can also alter denning chronology, shortening the denning period. 

The “heart” in conservation is missing when a species is managed for the sole purpose of harvesting it. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources estimates; most recent data indicates the bear population is currently estimated to be just under 29,000 bears. DNR manages bear population size through regulated hunting. In the end, black bears are managed for economic gain through hunting. 

Individual species should and must be managed for the good of the species and the habitat it depends.  “Do not feed the wildlife.”  Let’s bring back the heart of conservation. 

“The Circle has healing power. In the Circle, we are all equal. When in the Circle, no one is in front of you. No one is behind you. No one is above you. No one is below you. The Sacred Circle is designed to create unity. The Hoop of Life is also a circle. On this hoop there is a place for every species, every race, every tree and every plant. It is this completeness of Life that must be respected in order to bring about health on this planet.” ~Dave Chief, Oglala Lakota~

Human food subsidies make up more than 40% of the diet of bears in northern Wisconsin.

In a new research paper, titled “Consumption of intentional food subsidies by a hunted carnivore” authored by: Rebecca Kirby of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Jonathan Pauli assistant professor with the University of Wisconsin’s Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, and David MacFarland Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources large carnivore specialist. The Journal of Wildlife Management

The researchers documented the abundance of bear bait on forestlands, to determine the contribution of human foods to individual and population diets. That bear baiting on public lands contributed to 40% of their diet. They found that bears were relying on (human foods) subsidies throughout their lifetimes. 
Bears using baits in northern Wisconsin may be contributing to Wisconsin’s high population density compared to neighboring states. Female consumption of high caloric food subsidies can increase fecundity (the ability to produce an abundance of offspring or new growth; fertility), and can train cubs to seek bear baits. Long-term supplementation can increase a population above its ecological carrying capacity. Extensive foraging on bear bait could affect individual bear nutrition through increased body sizes and energy requirements. Increased energy requirements and habituation may create a dependency on food subsidies; if food subsidies were removed, bear-human conflicts may increase and bears may no longer be able to subsist on natural foods.  High availability of energy-rich food can also alter denning chronology, shortening the denning period. In northern Wisconsin, humans are influencing the ecosystem not only through top-down forces via hunting, but also through bottom-up forces by subsidizing the food base. Researcers’ findings emphasize the need to understand what effects conservation and management strategies that feature human subsidies can have on wildlife, particularly how they alter behavior, population sizes, and demographic parameters. Consumption of intentional food subsidies by a hunted carnivore


Is it time to reevaluate black bear baiting in Wisconsin?  Please contact WDNR Bear Advisory Committee

The Bear Advisory Committee is a diverse group representing agency, non-agency, tribal and stakeholder interests. The committee meets to propose bear quota recommendations and advises the Wildlife Policy Team on a variety of topics such as population monitoring and research priorities. Department leadership considers proposed quotas in developing department recommendations for Natural Resources Board approval.

Contact information
For information about the Bear Advisory Committee, contact:

Dave MacFarland

Carnivore specialist



Some common sense advice for coexisting with wildlife.

Here in Wisconsin north woods springtime, like in Vermont, can bring out the wildlife.  The following article has some common sense advise on living around wildlife habitats.

Carol Smith got an unexpected visitor at her home in the Fox Hill Condos off Cottage Club Road in Stowe recently. A black bear prowled around her yard and even climbed up the railing to her porch before sauntering back into the woods. Smith said she had removed her birdfeeder, as advised by state wildlife officials, but it did not prevent the curious bear from snooping around her property.

Source: Brushes with wildlife make people nervous
By Kayla Friedrich | Stowe Reporter

April is one of the best times of year to see and hear wildlife in Vermont, with the waterfowl returning, spring peepers chirping in the ponds at night and animals coming out of hibernation.
Unfortunately, those animals can spur conflicts with humans, as they are frequently out during the day looking for food.
“So we have a coyote problem,” Mary Collins — an Elmore resident — said on Facebook March 13. “Earlier this week, Don was spreading manure and saw a coyote out by our brush pile — far from the house, by the riding ring. This evening, the coyote was standing just beyond the manure pile, just yards from the barn and him. It was not frightened in the least. Does anyone have any ideas about what we should do? I’m concerned.”
The coyote has since left Collins’ property of its own volition, but the incident incited a litany of responses from her friends and neighbors about what she should do. Shoot it? Leave it alone? Does it pose a threat to the animals, and could it be rabid?
A few weeks later, residents of Waterbury posed similar questions about a wandering skunk that was seen on a number of properties during the day.
Wild animals “live around us all the time; we just don’t see them,” said Eric Nuse, a retired game warden in Johnson. “It’s a hard thing, coming off of winter pretty hungry, and because they are hungry, they are often bolder than normal. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they are sick.”
Foxes and skunks are the biggest rabies threats in Lamoille County, and Nuse recommends that people watch wild animals from a distance to determine whether they may be rabid. If they look suspicious, anyone can call the rabies hotline at 800-472-2437 to report the sighting.
The signs of rabies can differ depending on the animal. However, generally an animal with rabies will be unstable on its feet, may have paralysis in some of its limbs or its throat, and nocturnal animals may be more active during the day.
Some daytime activity is normal in nocturnal animals, though, especially when they are feeding their young this time of year.
Unprovoked aggression is usually seen in skunks, foxes, raccoons and dogs that have contracted rabies, while rabid bats usually exhibit unusual friendliness, and may be unable to fly. That can be dangerous for children, who are more apt to touch a wild animal than adults.
If an animal is trapped for suspicion of rabies, the animal has to be killed, because the only way to diagnose rabies is to test the brain tissue in a lab.
“Before picking up the phone to call a trapper, think of ways to cohabitate with wildlife or convince them to move on on their own,” said Brenna Galdenzi, executive director of Protect our Wildlife, a Stowe nonprofit. “There haven’t been many cases of rabies in Lamoille County in the last few years, and there weren’t any reported in 2014 or 2015.”
Over the last five years, Lamoille County has had 14 cases of confirmed rabies, nine of them in 2012. There were no cases reported in either 2014 or 2015, but two cases have been reported in the area so far this year.
A rabid big brown bat was trapped in Stowe just last week, April 14, and a rabid raccoon was picked up in Waterbury back in February. The majority of the rabid animals in Lamoille County have been raccoons and skunks.
“If we get a call that an animal is acting strange,” said Bob Johnson, state public health veterinarian, “the decision is usually made to test the animal if it has been in contact with other animals or humans.”
The Vermont rabies hotline is 1-800-4-RABIES, and information about positive rabies tests can be found at
Tips for living with wildlife
Coyotes are one of the most maligned animals in Vermont, according to Galdenzi. There is an open season on coyotes in the state, and it’s not curtailed during breeding season.
Pups are generally born in late April or early May, remain in the den for two months, and follow their parents throughout the fall and winter to learn from them.
Coyotes have adapted to live close to humans, and they sometimes do have conflicts, but people can do things to discourage coyote behavior.
Some people opt for livestock guardian dogs — pastoral dogs bred for the purpose of protecting livestock from predators — or even guard llamas. Llamas are instinctively alert and will walk or run toward an intruder, and chase or kick it. Some llamas may also herd the animals they are guarding into a tight group or lead them away from danger.
Electric fencing can also be a deterrent.
Skunks don’t generally bother livestock, unless they get scared and spray, but there are also ways to curb their behavior.
“Skunks come out in the spring, and they have their babies in April or May,” Galdenzi said. “So, you have to be careful when calling a trapper, because if trapped, the babies will not survive without the mother.”
One way to deal with skunks on your property is to make their den unlivable. If people shine a bright light into the den during the night or play loud music, the skunks will likely move out on their own and find a new place to live.
Galdenzi had a skunk living under her deck, and her husband used those tactics to coax it to leave. After three to four days of lights aimed at the den, and a stereo playing on the deck, it was gone.
“Protect our Wildlife will help people with those types of things,” she said. “A lot of animals are out at dawn or dusk right now — don’t be alarmed; they are foraging for food. People fear what they don’t understand, and a lot of it is embedded in not being knowledgeable.”
Bears and bird feeders
Because animals are foraging for food more right now than any other time of year, Vermont law states that residents must take reasonable measures to protect their property from animals, especially bears, before lethal force can be taken.
Just recently, two bears got into the Dumpsters at Brewster River Pub in Jeffersonville, and strewed garbage everywhere.
“Bears can pose a threat,” Nuse said. “So, people should get food sources under cover, especially bird feeders. If you used to feed the birds, bears have a great memory, and will remember where feeders were in the past. Bears also love chicken food — they are not necessarily after the chickens.”
Bird feeders and Dumpsters are just two of the things that can attract hungry bears. Others are pet food, campsites with food left outside and barbecue grills.
People can protect themselves against bears by keeping chickens and honeybees secured inside electric fencing, storing trash in a secure place, and feeding pets indoors.
“Animals are the least wary of people this time of year, because they are hungry,” Nuse said. “It’s a good time of year to see wildlife; people just need to use common sense.”


Learning How to Coexist with Wolves by Meeting the Needs of the Local People

People share the northern Wisconsin forests with wolves. ​These folks​view the wolf from several perspectives:​​​ some fear him, others love him, ​and still ​​there are those who outright ​hate him.  ​​Regardless of opinion, the wolf is the most talked about wild animal in Wisconsin. ​So how do we all live in these woods with such a well-known creature? ​

Dr. Jane Goodall believed in order to save Chimpanzees local people’s needs must be addressed; she said: ​”People living in the forests surrounding critical chimpanzee habitat are among the poorest on the planet. Consequently, it is short-sighted to develop solutions for chimps without addressing the needs of local people. Effective programs must provide win-win solutions for both chimps and people. Thankfully, conserving forests benefits both local people as well as chimps and other fauna (Source:​ Lessons Learned from Dr. Jane Goodall, by Nancy Merrick).

Dr. Jane Goodall

​We can apply these same words to our situation by meeting the needs of our own locals.​ Firstly, these needs can be economic. If local communities rely heavily on hunting to meet their financial needs, then we need to offer alternatives. Wolf-ecotourism could be that alternative. Such an endeavor would offer job opportunities to many. But how does that affect wild wolves?  People traipsing all over wolf habitat in the hope of viewing the elusive wild wolf will likely only disturb them. Perhaps then, we should arrange for guided tours that are allowed to go only in certain areas.


Secondly, another way to meet the needs of the local people would be in providing wolf education and awareness.  Living with Wolves and National Geographic developed a Grey wolf Educator’s Guide for schools.  This guide is about: “The purpose of this guide is to provide educators of students from kindergarten to high school with activities that will enrich students’ understanding about the gray wolf of North America. The activities are intended to dispel common myths and prejudices that are held about these animals and to encourage youth to get involved in conservation efforts.” (Source: Grey Wolf Educator Guide, by Living with Wolves and National Geographic.) These guides would benefit local people and wolves.  People would have a new perspective about how beneficial wolves are for ecosystems.

Living with Wolves

Lastly, helping local people live alongside a large carnivore such as the wolf requires a way to mitigate conflicts. Wisconsin Department of Natural resources has a Wildlife Damage Specialist, Brad Koele.   Click here to watch WODCW’s video interview with Koele The WDNR Wildlife Damage program could be expanded to add citizen liaisons as volunteers. Volunteers would attend local county board meetings. The volunteers would take any wolf related concerns back to the WDNR Wildlife Damage specialist.  A volunteer wolf liaison program would give local people a voice in wolf management.

Solving the needs of the local people is a necessary step to resolving conflicts that stand in the way of coexisting with wolves.



North Woods Living, Tips for ‘Coexisting with Your Wild Neighbors’

Living in the north woods near wild animals can be a wonderful experience. There is nothing that can match sighting a

Life in the Northwoods photography by Michael Crowley
Life in the Northwoods photography by Michael Crowley

bobcat with kits, a doe with a new fawn, snowy owls, bear, swans, and porcupines.  If you have chosen to live in a north woods rural area, here are a few tips for living along side wildlife or better yet, methods for coexisting with your wild neighbors. After all, these wild creatures you have chosen to live among were here first. Living along side wildlife requires respecting their habitat and teaching them how to respect yours as well.

In the news this week in rural norther Wisconsin.

Bill Lea photograph
Bill Lea photograph

Bears have been coming to close, Grantsburg Village Board and Wisconsin DNR took the first steps toward formulating a plan.  It is unfortunate that this plan calls for lethal methods as a way to solve the problem between wildlife and humans. Has there been any measures taken to prevent these bears from coming into the village limits?

There are non lethal methods that north wood’s residents can use to deter wild animals..

  • Keeping your pets safe.

First of all, do not leave pets or their food outside. Leaving pets and their food outside will attract wild animals.  Keep your pets leashed or in a fenced area while out-of-doors, Do not leave pets unattended out-of-doors for long periods of time.

  • Don’t feed wildlife.
Industrious wild bear (photographer unknown0
Industrious wild bear (photographer unknown)

Wildlife can fend for themselves and know where to find their own food. Do you need to feed wild birds? Why do you feed wild birds? Bird feeders are for humans more than wild birds. Humans feed wild birds for the pleasure of viewing them. But these viewing backyard bird feeders attract more than wild birds.  Wild bears enjoy an easy meal off of a backyard bird feeder. Deer, raccoon, and squirrel will also find the backyard bird feeder tempting. Feeding wild birds can result in wild animals becoming habituated to humans. When wild animals become habituated to humans it can have disastrous effects. Imagine stepping outside to feed the birds and you encounter a sow with cubs. Everyone knows how this encounter could turn out.

Other concerns for  do not feed the birds including it may delay migration or changing birds habits.

  • Wild animals are attracted to garbage and gardens.

it is recommended to keep your garbage out of sight and smell of wild animals.. keep your garbage cans in a locked bear proof shed. If you have a garden just fence it in or even use an electrical fence. Even garden compost will attract wild animals.

  • What to do when you encounter wild animals in your backyard.

Assuming you have done all of the above methods to keep wild animals away from your home and family.  The next step is to teach wild animals, bear, coyote, bobcat, cougar, and wolves to fear you, Wild animals have a natural fear of humans. If you live where these wild animals do, then teach them to fear you. This is the best way to keep them out of your backyard.

Photograph of a wild coyote by Ron Niebrugge
Photograph of a wild coyote by Ron Niebrugge

Always keep a safe distance between you and any wild animal that has wondered onto your property. Use a loud device as a deterrent, such as a blow-horn, or fire crackers to scare these unwanted intruders away. Never throw these devices at or on the animal. The idea is to deter not to harm them.

Another wild animal deterrent called hazing which will teach them to fear you. Again, it is recommended to keep a safe distance away from any wild animal you encounter.  Hazing method involves making yourself larger than the wild animal by waving your arms and shouting at the wild animal saying, “go away coyote!”

Other methods of hazing you can use are pepper sprays and a blow-horn is a very good deterrent to keep on hand. You may need to use these deterrents several times to make the unwanted wild animal get the message. Wild animals have a natural fear of humans and you may need to remind them of this natural fear.

There may be times when a wild animal could be dangerous. If the wild animals appears skinny and unhealthy or stumbles this could be a sign of Rabies. In this case stay away from the wild animal. Call local law enforcement. While you wait for them to arrive keep tabs on the whereabouts of the infected animals from a safe distance.

In summary, wild animals have a natural fear of humans. Living along side of wildlife requires keeping space between their habitat and yours.   In other words, educate yourself on how to safely live with your wild neighbors.

Feature photograph is by Michael Crowley of Life in the Northwoods