This page outlines the Animal Damage Control Policy, developed by the Maine Department of Inland Fish and Wildlife (MDIFW). This document should be used as a starting off point, and steps may be modified depending on the circumstances. Please note that for certain approaches there needs to be direct evidence indicating wildlife as the cause of water pollution. While poor water quality assumed relating to wildlife can be addressed with preventative measures and regulated hunting and trapping seasons further action requiring MDIFW permission warrants investigation into the issue.
Animal Damage Control Policy
Step 1 – Contact your Regional Biologist
It may be helpful to start with contacting MDIFW Biologists or Wardens. Some actions can be taken without permission such as habitat modification, removal of attractants, and utilizing legal hunting and trapping effort by licensed individuals. However additional action generally requires permission from MDIFW. Contact information can be found here. Use the map below to determine which region your community is in. Afterwards, contact the wildlife biologist corresponding to that region. The regional wildlife biologist will inform and help develop appropriate responses to the individual circumstances.
Step 2 – Education and Extension
Shellfish committees can work with landowners to take reasonable precautions to prevent human/wildlife conflicts. The regional wildlife biologist can provide appropriate directions or information which will enable the property owner to both alleviate the problem and to avoid it in the future.
Step 3 – Prevention
In most cases animals can be removed and/or preventative measures taken to prevent the conflict from reoccurring. Where effective and economically reasonable, measures can be taken to exclude problem wildlife from areas or attractions to which they cause damage or pose a health or safety issue. Information on appropriate prevention techniques will be provided by the regional wildlife biologist. Examples of this related to water quality issues may be working with willing shoreland owners to minimize shorefront properties attractiveness to geese (leaving shoreline areas to not be mowed etc.), not feeding ducks, removing bird feeders that might attract lots of racoons, ensuring landowner permission and appropriate permits for certain species to engage in harassing to prevent loafing and habitual use of an area. This might require engaging federal agencies (USDA Wildlife Services) for permits or assistance.
Step 4 – Use of Hunting and Trapping Regulations
When appropriate/practical, removal of the offending animal(s) will be encouraged during the legal hunting or trapping season for that species. This would likely be the most appropriate resolution for most issues (especially when not well evidenced and only assumptions based on indications from E. coli samples or other DNA testing). Examples might be using a local trapper to remove beaver annually during the open season, or working with landowners to allow hunting of resident geese.
Step 5 – Live Capture / Relocation
This may be an appropriate method, when animals continue to cause a problem and when the above procedures are not applicable, practical, or are cost prohibitive, and removing the offending animal is justified (i.e., causing significant damage to property or pose a real safety threat). Rarely would this be warranted and would also require cooperation from landowners, town etc. as well as engaging the services of a permitted Animal Damage Control Agent. There are many factors MDIFW considers with this option including its efficacy for the situation, population levels of certain species, and the negative effects of relocating wildlife.
Step 6 – Lethal Control
Lethal control may be justified when the above procedures are not applicable, practical, or are cost prohibitive. Regional wildlife biologists or district wardens must give verbal or written permission in order for any person to kill wildlife. This also would rarely be an issue and would warrant concrete evidence of the problem and associated wildlife and be determined as an effective solution balanced with other factors. It would also come as a last resort after the other steps have not been effective or determined to not be practical. For example, MDIFW may permit hiring of an Animal Damage Control Agent to remove beaver outside the regulated trapping season if evidenced as the problem and other methods have not been practical.