Wildlife is one of Nevada’s treasured assets. As a result of urban expansion, humans and wildlife are often found living in each other’s backyards. This fact sheet discusses ways to reduce conflicts between humans and wildlife, and focuses on vertebrate animals, or animals that have a backbone.
Unfortunately, there is no single solution for managing nuisance wildlife safely and effectively. Your options depend on the species of animal, where you live, and your comfort level with different methods of control.
The first step is to properly identify the species of animal that you’d like to manage. Assistance with identification can be obtained from Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW), University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (Extension) and the Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDOA). It’s important to properly identify the problem wildlife, as many animals in Nevada are protected during all or part of the year. This includes game species and migratory birds. You may be subject to a fine or other penalties if you harass or kill one of these animals, even if it is a nuisance to you.
Shooting is sometimes but not always an option for managing nuisance wildlife. Before you decide to shoot a nuisance animal, you should be aware that there are specific rules and regulations related to the discharge of firearms. Check with local authorities, including the NDOW, before shooting a nuisance animal.
While you can live‐trap some nuisance wildlife, relocation is not allowed. The trapped animals must be destroyed, since they may carry disease and relocation could spread the disease. Additionally, many of these diseases are transmissible to humans. Always use caution when dealing with wildlife and never approach wildlife that is acting strangely. The USDA Wildlife Services will loan out traps and humanely euthanize trapped animals. They can be reached at 1‐866‐4USDAWS (1‐866‐487‐3297) or (775) 851‐4848.
To be successful at controlling nuisance wildlife, you’ll need an exclusion plan. It does little good to remove raccoons from your attic if you do not discourage more raccoons from taking up residence. Similarly, you can shoot the jackrabbit in your yard, but unless you fix the hole in your fence, another jackrabbit will crawl through. Exclusion requires the following:
The following tables list common nuisance wildlife in Nevada. Legal status, hunting and trapping restrictions, exemptions, and other control measures are listed for each species. Additional information about nuisance wildlife and a list of websites are provided on the last page.
Control of large carnivores, such as bears, mountain lions and bobcats, should not be attempted by the average homeowner. For aid in controlling these species, contact the Nevada Department of Wildlife Dispatch Office at (775) 688‐1331 or (775) 688‐1332. NDOW also maintains a Bear Hotline at 775‐688‐BEAR that is wired directly into NDOW’s Dispatch Center in Reno. Normal business hours are 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. As with almost all pests, after the animal is removed, apply exclusion techniques and remove temptations to eliminate recurrence of the problem.
In Nevada, the Endangered Species Act is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Nevada Department of Wildlife. This law protects all plants and animals listed as endangered or threatened in the state. “Protects” means an endangered or threatened species may not be injured or harassed even inadvertently.
What does this mean for your nuisance wildlife control plans? Even if the endangered or threatened species is not the target of your pest control plan, if they are in the vicinity, you must consider the wellbeing of the endangered or threatened species during your planning process. It also means that the species may not be killed, harmed or collected without a permit. Such permits are only granted under very stringent guidelines and very specific circumstances.
There are a few animals in Nevada that have either federal‐ or state‐protected status under the Endangered Species Act. The pygmy rabbit has state “Species of Special Concern” status and may not be hunted, trapped, killed or harassed.
Many bird species are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), including ducks, geese, songbirds, gulls, shorebirds, wading birds and birds of prey. These birds may not be hunted, captured or killed. Additionally, you may not destroy or harass nests or eggs. Before they have built a nest or laid any eggs, you can use scare tactics or harass birds to discourage them from nesting on your property. However, once they have laid eggs, under the MBTA you may not disturb the nest.
There are a few exceptions:
Many animals in Nevada are designated game animals. These animals can only be hunted during their specific hunting season. You must have a valid hunting license. These include cottontail rabbits, white‐tailed jackrabbits, deer and big game species, quail, crows, ducks, geese and other waterfowl.
Some animals in Nevada are designated as furbearing. Control of these animals requires a valid trapping license and may only be allowed during certain times of the year during the specified trapping season. Beaver, bobcat, fox and muskrat are designated as furbearing in Nevada.
*Only five species of bats are protected.
**Palmers and Hidden Forest Uinta Chipmunks are protected under state law.
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Carpenter, J., Donaldson, S., and Hefner, M., 2011, Dealing with Nuisance Wildlife, University of Nevada Extension, FS-2011-40
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