Wildlife Conflicts

Many wildlife conflicts can be resolved with a basic understanding of the wildlife we coexist with in Fairfax County.

A comprehensive approach to managing a wildlife conflict must: 

  • Strictly adhere to all federal and state laws, regulations and county ordinances
  • Show compassion for Wildlife and people
  • Show tolerance and basic understanding of species ecology and behavior

Gaining a better understanding of species-specific ecology and behavior is an effective tool for successful mitigation of wildlife conflicts.

Exploring humane long-term exclusion and repellency options should be the first step towards resolving most wildlife conflicts. More information on non-lethal exclusion and repellency methods is available at The Center for Human-Wildlife Conflict Resolution.

Lethal control methods should be a last resort, including the trapping and killing of “nuisance wildlife”. Unless the underlying attractant of that species (e.g. food source) has been identified and minimized or removed, the conflict will not be resolved.

If you have additional questions or concerns, contact the Fairfax County Wildlife Biologist at (703)-246-6868.

What is the most common wildlife conflict reported by residents in Fairfax County?

The most common wildlife conflict reported by residents involves white-tailed deer and deer damage on private property.                            

Deer Damage
Deer Damage

There are four primary steps to mitigate this conflict:

  • Explore humane long-term exclusion and repellency methods
    • . Your local nursery is an excellent resource when selecting native, exotic and ornamental plants that may be less attractive to deer.
    • Deer exclusion fencing may be an option for some homeowners. Proper deer exclusion fencing must be at least 7 feet high and surround the entire property. Local ordinances and/or HOA rules may prohibit the construction of these fences. Other issues to consider are fence cost and maintenance.
    • A novel and popular alternative to “deer-resistant” planting or exclusion fencing is the construction of a small greenhouse on your property. Greenhouses can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on your needs and desires. Check with your HOA and local ordinances to see if this is an option available to you.

  • Discourage others from feeding deer or other wildlife
    • It is illegal to feed deer the first Saturday in September through the first Saturday in January.
    • Feeding wildlife increases the likelihood of spreading wildlife diseases and creates an unnatural dependency on humans.
    • Wildlife-related state laws and regulations.

  • Report evidence of deer damage on private and public parkland to the Fairfax County Wildlife Biologist
    • The Wildlife Biologist studies areas of high reported environmental damage, public health and public safety concerns when selecting park sites as part of the Deer Management program.

  • Explore population control options on  private property


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