Nuisance Wildlife

RESOLVING WILDLIFE CONFLICTS

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries does NOT provide nuisance animal control or removal services. We do permit individuals (Nuisance Wildlife Control Operators) to provide these services for a fee.  The Department maintains a list of over 100 nuisance animal trappers located across the state at www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/nwco  Contact the nuisance trapper closest to you for assistance with problem wildlife.

NWCO's are permitted to handle most species except deer, bears, migratory birds, and alligators. In many situations, however, calling in a professional is not entirely necessary. The following are steps an individual can take for getting rid of nuisance wildlife:

1. Make sure food for wildlife is not available around your home.
     A) NEVER feed wild animals.
    
     B) Make sure no pet food is left out at night.
    
     C) Secure trash can lids and compost heaps.
   
     D) Do not leave domestic animals that may be potential prey items loose or in shoddy or weak shelters.

2. Eliminate areas that can possibly be used by wildlife as shelter.
     A) Seal any holes that may give wildlife access to your attic or the interior of your home. Some species of bats can fit through holes the size of a dime, so keeping your home well maintained is imperative for keeping nuisance animals out.
    
     B) Skirting installed under mobile homes can prevent animals from gaining access underneath. Chicken wire or lattice can be used under raised houses.
    
     C) Keep grass mowed to eliminate cover for wildlife.
     
     D) Eliminate piles of wood or debris that can be used as shelter.

3. Live trap the animal and release it.
     A) Title 76 outlines the rules for live trapping and releasing wildlife without a permit.
    
     B) *WARNING* It can be dangerous to handle trapped animals.
It is often easier to get an animal into a trap than to get one out. Heavy leather gloves should be worn and extreme caution must be used when releasing animals. Always stand behind the trap and point the open end towards a clear area when releasing, giving the animal a clear path out and away.
    
     C) Should a bite occur, DO NOT RELEASE THE ANIMAL if it hasn't already been released. Regardless of the animal species, contact your state public health veterinarian for instructions on having the animal tested for rabies and contact your doctor. If a bite occurs, and the animal has been released and cannot be immediately re-captured, contact your doctor and the state public health veterinarian. Animals that appear healthy may be sick. Certain mammal species including but not limited to bats and skunks may be infected with the rabies virus and transmit it to humans. The rabies virus is fatal to humans if not treated before symptoms develop.

     D) Trapped animals should be released a minimum of five miles from the trap site to prevent their return.

     E) Trapping in the spring and early summer should be avoided. These are the breeding seasons for most wildlife, and removing adult animals may result in young animals being orphaned. If these young are in an attic or under a house etc., it can result in them dying thereby causing a new problem as they decay.

     F) LDWF does not loan or rent traps. Traps are available from some parish animal control offices. Traps may be purchased at hardware stores and lawn and garden centers.

In cases where a bird or mammal has been injured and is in need of assistance, concerned citizens should contact a certified wildlife rehabilitator listed at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/rehab . Wildlife rehabilitators have the training, skills, and facilities necessary to care for most injured animals, and are permitted by LDWF to rehabilitate injured wildlife in Louisiana.

Possessing wild animals without a permit is against state law. Furthermore, certatin species, such as migratory birds, are afforded additional protection under federal law.

There are two levels of rehabilitation permits, these include:

State permitted rehabilitators who may legally possess small mammal species and a few species of birds. These bird species include pigeons, starlings, house sparrows and domestic duck species. These species are not protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (http://www.fws.gov/forms/3-200-10b.pdf), therefore state permitted wildlife rehabilitators may legally house only these bird species.

Federally permitted rehabilitators may legally possess small mammal species as well as most birds listed in the Migratory Bird Treaty Act:
http://www.fws.gov/forms/3-200-10b.pdf.

Should a rehabilitator not be available, the animals should be left in their natural habitat. Though this may sound like a cruel alternative, it is a natural process that helps regulate wildlife population levels.

Each year, well-intentioned people attempt to rescue small animals they thought were abandoned. However, many animals are taken from a completely normal situation. The mother of the small animal may be attempting to teach her offspring how to forage, walk or fly.

While it may appear that the small animal is left alone, a mother's watchful eye may not be far away. Adult animals frequently leave their young to forage for food, but rarely abandon them.

Wildlife parents attempt to conceal their young from humans and other animals. When humans handle or move young wildlife, it increases the chances that the parent may abandon the young or may not be able to find them. The best advice would be to leave young animals alone trying not to disturb them and let the parents care for them.

DO NOT CALL A WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR DIRECTLY FOR ANY SITUATION REGARDING A FAWN OR DEER. Rehabilitators are not permitted to take any deer/fawns without prior LDWF approval. ALL CALLS REGARDING DEER/FAWNS MUST BE HANDLED THROUGH YOUR LOCAL REGIONAL OFFICE. Louisiana deer typically fawn any time between the months of March through September, dependent upon the area of the state you live in. During the first few weeks of a fawn's life, it is most vulnerable to predators such as coyotes, black bears, bobcats, and feral dogs.  Fawns have very little scent, and their reddish to light brown coats dappled with white spots are perfect camouflage while lying in herbaceous or woody cover.  To avoid these predators, does select locations for their fawns to hide and to remain still.   Does will often leave the fawns alone, while walking off some distance to browse or observe the fawn's location.  This is another predator avoidance maneuver.  

It is very easy for people that are out hiking or working in deer habitat, to walk up on fawns lying still in the woods or old fields.  Every year Louisiana citizens call LDWF with reports of lost fawns, and often have "rescued" the fawn and brought it home.  Though well meaning, it is the wrong thing to do, and in fact is illegal.  Wild white-tailed deer may not be captured, including fawns.  If you find a fawn, back away from it and leave it alone.  The unseen doe likely is watching you, or will soon be back to nurse and check on the fawn.