Some wildlife species are drawn to residential areas because they offer food, shelter, and safety from natural predators. But in exchange, they risk running into trouble with their human neighbors.

As a Maine resident, one can control the way one experiences wildlife — enjoying the wonder of watching animals move through their habitats, not yours. To do so, one needs to understand why animals might be attracted to a property, and then take preventative steps.

How to avoid conflicts, according to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife:

Keep wildlife wild

• Watch wildlife from a distance.

• Never approach, handle, feed, or attempt to move a wild animal.

Eliminate access to shelter

• Seal potential entry points in attics or chimneys and under buildings, decks, and crawl spaces with 1/4-inch mesh hardware cloth, boards, or metal flashing.

• Trim tree limbs near rooftops and attach sheets of metal flashing around building corners.

Be smart about the garbage

• Store garbage in a building.

• Use garbage cans with latching lids that do not open if pushed over.

• If you have curbside pickup, wait until that morning to take out the trash.

• Keep dumpster lids closed and latched.

Compost responsibly

• Secure your compost to keep wildlife out.

• Never compost animal matter, which can become smelly and attract wildlife.

Feed bird the natural way

• Plant native plants in your yard that provide food and shelter for birds and other species, without attracting rodents and other animals.

Protect poultry and livestock

• Secure your poultry and livestock in a predator-proof pen, protected by electric fencing or guard animals.

• Store food indoors or in an animal-proof container.

Be responsible pet owner

• Keep your pet’s vaccinations up to date.

• Keep your pet on a leash and under control at all times.

• Do not feed pets outside unless you must; and if that is the case, clean up after.

• Do not feed feral cats.

• At night (dusk until dawn), brings your pets inside and lock pet doors to keep other animals out.

Podcast series

The Maine Warden Service K9 team brings missing persons to safety and helps protect natural resources. When these highly-trained pups are not working, they can be found doing normal dog things, like chasing balls and looking for treats.

In this mini Fish + Game Changers podcast series, Katie Yates, public outreach specialist for the MDIFW, chats with K9 Corporal Lucas Bellanceau, Landowner Relations Corporal Dave Chabot, and warden Kris MacCabe to learn what they do and how they train.

Visit to listen now or search "Fish and Game Changers" on a favorite podcast app. Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and more.

Public access to private land

Maine landowners voluntarily open up more than 10 million acres of working farms and forest lands to the public. This access is an incredible gift, and in order to preserve it, those who venture outdoors need to understand the contribution landowners make.

No matter how one is enjoying beautiful spring weather, it is important to be a good land user and respect landowners:

• Always ask for permission, whether or not there are signs on the property requesting that you do so, and regardless of who owns it (a private individual or a business).

• Learn what matters most to the landowner.

• Provide detailed information.

• Know your boundaries.

• Keep it clean.

• Keep it legal.

• Say thank you.

Learn more about how to be a good land user and how one can support the Outdoor Partners program by visiting

Courier Publications' sports staff can be reached by email at or by phone at 594-4401.