Undesirable Wildlife Management

* Many wildlife species are protected under federal or state law. Contact local wildlife officer at Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) before removing or disturbing any wild animal.

Materials and Tools needed
varies by project.

Seeing wildlife from a distance is enjoyable, but having bears in your yard or snakes in your house is probably not enjoyable for most people. The key to preventing unwanted wildlife encounters is keeping problem wildlife away from your homes and other structures. This does not mean destroying their habitat, but rather creating appropriate buffers and separations.

Common problematic wildlife include bears, mountain lions, coyotes, raccoons, skunks, small mammals and snakes. Even deer can be a nuisance if they eat your carefully planted shrubs and wildflowers.

Wildlife Deterrent / Prevention Methods:

Remove Food Sources

Deer, cottontail rabbits, and other herbivores are attracted to ornamental plants. Almost overnight, deer can wipe out beds full of planted shrubs and flowers. Additionally, bears are attracted to berry laden shrubs. To avoid conflicts, only plant deer-resistant vegetation and avoid planting berry-producing shrubs, such as chokecherry, near your home.

Leaving even a small amount of garbage outside attracts bears, coyotes, raccoons, mice and other small mammals. A small amount of leftover food on a grill can entice bears. Keep garbage in sealed metal or plastic containers and use bear- proof trash containers if you live in bear habitat.

Although watching birds feed is an enjoyable activity, bird feeders can entice bears and teach them to come close to human habitat for food. Colorado Parks and Wildlife recommends not putting out bird feeders during the warmer months or placing them at least 10 feet off the ground. The area under the bird feeders should also be kept clean from fallen bird seeds to prevent attracting bears, squirrels, mice, and other unwanted scavengers.

Remove Potential Wildlife Shelters

Don’t have piles of boards, leaves or other debris near structures; these piles provide shelter for snakes, coyotes, cottontail rabbits, mice and other mammals.

Do not landscape with expanses of large rocks, especially in sunny areas, for they can provide habitat for rattlesnakes and other snakes.

Although beavers provide many ecological benefits, there are times when a beaver dam can pose a potential flood risk. If you are concerned that a beaver dam is blocking the main stream channel or are considering removing it, contact your local Colorado Parks and Wildlife office. They can help you determine if the dam should be removed, as well as the best way to go about removing it.

Create Barriers/ Buffers

Although you might not want a wildlife-proof fence around your entire property, fencing may be practical around homes, dog kennels/runs or small livestock areas like chicken coops. The size and type of fencing depends on the kinds of wildlife you are trying to keep out. Some good guidelines are:

  • Consider appropriate fence heights. For example, mountain lions – 10- 12’ high, deer and elk – 6-8’ high.
  • Don’t have branches overhanging fences, animals such as raccoons can use them to climb over the fence
  • For more information on fencing see the Colorado Parks and Wildlife – Fencing with Wildlife in Mind

Keep grasses and other vegetation around your house short to create a visual barrier for snakes, mice and other small mammals.

Plug holes in structures (even a ¼ in hole can allow snakes & other small mammals into your house). Block rooftop openings to deter pigeons and bats.

Protect Pets and Livestock from Carnivores:


Keep pets indoors at night or keep them in a kennel with a secure top.


Place livestock in enclosed sheds or barns at night and keep doors closed.


Don’t feed pets outside; store food and dishes indoors.

Contacts for Wildlife Conflicts

If you have conflicts with unwanted wildlife on your land, contact your local CPW Office. Do not attempt to remove sick animals (especially – raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes) as they may have rabies.

CPW Headquarters (Denver): (303) 297-1192

Northeast Region CPW Office (Denver): (303) 291-7227

If you encounter an aggressive animal outside of CPW hours, contact the Colorado State Patrol.

More Strategies to help accomplish Objectives you identified in the Questionnaires: