Harass, capture or kill a wild animal damaging private property
What you can do if a wild animal is causing damage to personal property.
Effective July 1, 2013.
You don’t need a permit to scare away, capture and relocate or kill most wild animals, if the animal is causing damage to your property. However, there are general and species-specific rules that you must follow.
Species-specific rules apply to:
- species listed as extirpated, endangered, orthreatened under the Endangered Species Act, 2007
- white-tailed deer
- American elk
- black bear
- wolves and coyotes
This is a summary of the provincial laws. You can find a complete set of rules related to this activity in:
- Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997
- Ontario Regulation 665/98 (hunting)
- Endangered Species Act, 2007
Species at risk
For more information:
Tips to prevent wildlife from damaging your property
Before removing a wild animal, you should take the following steps to make your property less attractive to wildlife:
- remove food attractants such as unsecure garbage bins, bird feed/seed or fallen fruit
- eliminate access to sites that wildlife might use to build dens (homes), such as openings under decks
- eliminate sources of drinking water
Learn how to prevent conflicts with wildlife
Using a wildlife agent
You can have someone else remove a wild animal on your behalf. This person is called a wildlife agent.
If you use someone else to remove an animal, that is damaging your property, they must meet at least 1 of these criteria:
- have a valid Outdoors Card with hunter accreditation only to harass or kill wildlife but not to capture wildlife
- have a valid trapping licence
- be employed to control wildlife by a municipality
- be your immediate family member
- be a person that runs a wildlife removal business, but only to capture and release (not kill) the problem wild animals
- be authorized by the ministry
Wildlife agents can only act if the landowner of the property asks them to.
Capturing and relocating animals
Generally, provincial laws prohibit capturing and relocating live wildlife. These laws help:
- prevent the spread of diseases
- ensure wildlife are treated humanely
- prevent wildlife from being relocated outside their home ranges
General rules for capturing and relocating animals
There is a limited exception to the laws that prohibit capturing and relocating most wildlife if you are protecting your property.
Under this exception, you or your wildlife agent must:
- release captured live wildlife within 1 kilometre of where they were captured. This is to ensure that they know where food sources and den locations are, and do not have to fight for new territory
- follow all municipal by-laws and other applicable laws
- not harass, capture or kill more wildlife than is necessary to protect your property
- deal humanely with wildlife that is killed, captured or harassed
- restrict activity to your property
- not destroy the den of a furbearing mammal or a black bear without approval from the ministry. You do not need approval for fox or skunk dens
- release captured live wildlife within 24 hours
- release wildlife on private property only with the landowner’s permission
Species-specific rules apply to some wildlife. You can find these rules below.
If you relocate an animal
Relocating an animal will not always solve the problem because whatever attracted the wildlife to your property is likely still present.
For relocation to be effective, you must also immediately take steps to discourage animals from coming back. For example, you should install a metal screen box over a plastic roof vent if squirrels have damaged and pulled open the roof vent to enter your house.
If you must kill wildlife
As a last resort, property owners or their agents may kill wildlife that is damaging their property. Restrictions apply to some wildlife, and you can find these rules below.
If wildlife must be killed, property owners or their agents must not cause unnecessary suffering to the animal.
Injured or orphaned wild animals
If you capture sick, injured or orphaned wildlife, take the animal to an authorized wildlife rehabilitator (wildlife custodian) who can provide proper care and rehabilitation.
White-tailed deer, American elk, moose and woodland caribou
You — or a wildlife agent acting on your behalf — cannot harass, capture or kill white-tailed deer, American elk, moose or woodland caribou that are damaging your property. An exception exists for deer or elk in agricultural settings if specifically authorized by the ministry. If elk or deer are causing significant damage to your agricultural property, contact your local ministry work centre.
Learn more about preventing and managing conflicts with deer, elk and moose.
If you — or a wildlife agent acting on your behalf — kill a black bear to protect property anywhere in Ontario, you need to immediately (within 24 hours) report the dead bear to the ministry by calling your local ministry work centre.
If you wish to capture and relocate a live black bear, special authorization is required from the ministry. Contact a local ministry work centre for more information.
Learn more about preventing and reporting encounters with black bears.
Wolves and coyotes
If you — or a wildlife agent acting on your behalf — kill a wolf or coyote in most parts of central and northern Ontario (Wildlife Management Units 1-42, 46-50 and 53-58) you must report the dead wolf or coyote to the ministry by calling your local ministry work centre.
Learn more about preventing and managing conflicts with coyotes.