How to prevent conflicts

Make a property uninviting

  • Use scarecrows, lights, noise makers or flags to make your property less attractive.
  • Spray commercially prepared or homemade repellents on plants to keep deer away.
  • Use tree guards to protect young, individual trees on your property.
  • To protect an area, install fences or cattle guards and make them visible with branches or brightly-coloured tape.
  • Electric fencing can be very effective at preventing deer from accessing a property.

Take precautions in the outdoors

  • If a deer, elk or moose approaches you, back off and look for a tree, fence or building to hide behind. If the animal charges, run to the nearest obstruction (like a tree, fence or building).
  • Be extra cautious around female moose with calves, and around bulls during the fall mating season.
  • Watch for signs of animal activity such as tracks, claw marks and droppings.
  • Make noise as you travel through the woods. Talk, sing or whistle.
  • Avoid areas frequently visited by animals.
  • Travel in groups.
  • If hiking alone, tell someone where you plan to go and what time you expect to return.
  • Keep dogs leashed so they don't provoke attacks by wild animals.

How to manage conflicts

  • You cannot harass or take lethal action against moose to protect property.
  • You cannot harass or take lethal action against deer or elk to protect property, unless significant damage is occurring to agricultural property and you have a valid authorization from the ministry.
  • To reduce elk damage, contact your local ministry office for advice and technical assistance to implement prevention measures.
  • To manage moose and deer populations, you may hunt moose and deer in the open season if you:
    • have a valid outdoors card and appropriate licences and tags
    • follow hunting regulations, seasons and municipal bylaws

What you can do if deer or elk are damaging your agricultural property

Conflicts can occur when white-tailed deer and American elk damage agricultural property.

Ontario’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act sets out the legal actions you can take if deer or elk have been causing, or are about to cause, ongoing damage to your agricultural property. In these situations, the ministry may issue you, or a wildlife agent acting on your behalf, a special authorization to harass or remove the wildlife.

To be eligible for this authorization, you must:

  • demonstrate that you have tried alternative methods to prevent or mitigate deer or elk damage
  • allow ministry staff to access your property to verify and determine the significance of the damage

If we issue an authorization, it will include a set of conditions to ensure you use acceptable practices when removing or harassing deer or elk.

Contact your local ministry work centre for more information.