Preventing Wildlife Conflicts


Many of North Carolina's wildlife species thrive around people. There are a variety of effective techniques that help ensure most interactions between wildlife and people are positive ones. Follow the general tips below to prevent and alleviate conflicts with wildlife. Keep in mind that wild animals are looking for food, water, shelter and safety. If a wild animal is regularly visiting your property and you want it to stop, removing the animal's access to one or more of those resources can make the area much less attractive.

  • Do not feed wildlife. Over time, this causes animals to lose their natural fear of humans, and they may begin to approach humans for food. Do not throw food scraps out into the yard.
  • Do not leave pet food outside; Remove food bowls when pets are not eating and keep bags of food inside or in a secure container.
  • Attract birds with natural food by adding native plants to your property. Plants provide healthy food and natural shelter for birds in ways that bird feeders can't. Remove feeders immediately if a bear has been visiting them. Learn more here.
  • Close crawl spaces and openings under houses, porches and outbuildings. Wild animals may use these spaces to hide or raise their young.
  • Trim tree limbs away from buildings to prevent wild animals from gaining access to the roof/attic.
  • Protect gardens, beehives and chickens with fencing. Chicken wire buried underground with an outward-facing 90-degree bend on the bottom can prevent animals from burrowing underneath. A line of electric wire strung above fencing can prevent animals climbing over the fence. Predator proof chicken coops and runs to protect them from wild predators. Bee-hives in bear county can be protected with electric fencing.  
  • Keep pets inside a fence, leashed or supervised when outside. Letting pets roam outside without supervision can put them at risk from wild predators, moving vehicles, diseased animals, or fights over territory. Protect your pets by being present. 
  • Basic hazing can be used to show certain wild animals where they are not welcome. See the species-specific recommendations for hazing below.
  • Talk to your neighbors about wildlife issues you are experiencing. Working together as a community can be crucial for solving many wildlife problems.



Will NCWRC pick up an animal I have trapped?

No. When setting a trap, it is your responsibility to not only follow all trapping rules and regulations but also be prepared to handle any animals that you trap. It is the responsibility of the trapper to visit traps daily and remove any captured animal(s). Most wildlife species cannot be relocated. Due to 15A NCAC 10B .0106, wild animals in the order Carnivora, armadillos, groundhogs, nutria, and beaver trapped under depredation circumstances shall be humanly euthanized at the site of capture or at a facility. If you do not want to release the animal yourself, a Wildlife Control Agent can be hired.

Who picks up dead animals?

Property owners are responsible for disposing of dead animals on their property. The animal can be buried or left to decompose naturally. Some cities/counties offer a curbside pick-up service. DOT may remove dead animals on state-maintained roadways if causing traffic concerns. Wildlife Control Agents can be hired to remove dead animals, however not all agents offer this service.

Can wildlife be relocated?

It is illegal to relocate many wildlife species in North Carolina, including those in the order Carnivora (e.g., coyotes, foxes, raccoons, skunks, bears, bobcats, mink, weasels, and otter), armadillos, groundhogs, nutria, and beaver. When these species have been trapped for depredation reasons (causing property damage), they must either be humanely euthanized or released on the same property they were captured (15A NCAC 10B .0106). Feral swine must be euthanized while still in the trap, in accordance with G.S. 113-291.12. For species not listed above, captured individuals can either be euthanized, released where they were captured, or released on private property with permission from the property's owner. It is illegal to release wildlife on public lands, including but not limited to game lands, parks, wildlife preserves, and roadsides. 

Importantly, relocation is not considered to be an environmentally responsible or humane method of resolving wildlife conflicts for the following reasons:

  • High mortality - wildlife removed from their home territory have a low chance of survival.
  • Ineffective - strong homing instincts drive relocated wildlife to return to their home territory, or die trying. Relocation also does not solve the underlying issue that attracted the animal in the first place.
  • Spreads disease - relocating wild animals helps spread any diseases or parasites they are carrying to new areas.
  • Relocates the problem - wildlife that have become habituated to humans will continue to cause issues wherever they are relocated. 

How can I protect my pet from wildlife?

The best way to protect pets from wild animals is by closely supervising them when they're outside. Dogs should be kept on a leash or inside a dog-proof fence (at least 6 feet tall with barrier to prevent digging under). Toy breed dogs are especially vulnerable; they should be kept on a short leash and never left outside without supervision, especially at dawn and dusk. Cats should never be allowed to freely roam outside. 

Can feeding wildlife be harmful?

Leaving out food for wild animals, while seemingly benign, can contribute a variety of harmful outcomes including the spread of disease, overpopulation, and preventable conflicts between people and wildlife. Fed wildlife can lose their natural, healthy fear of people, putting them at risk and leading, in some cases, to aggressive behavior that can put people at risk. The best way to help wildlife is to manage your property using native plants that feed and provide shelter for wild animals naturally. 

Hazards of Feeding Wildlife (PDF)

Attract Birds, Not Bears (PDF)

Native Plants for Birds


Contact a Wildlife Control Agent




  • Identify the species of wildlife involved.
  • Consider the preventative measures above to reduce interactions with wildlife.
  • Before contacting for assistance be certain the animal is causing property damage so as to require action.

If these measures fail to resolve the wildlife-caused damage, located and contact a Wildlife Control Agent by clicking the button above.