Living with Wildlife
In Port Angeles, wildlife is an integral part of the natural environment that surrounds us. From Rabbits, Racoons and Black-tailed Deer to the occasional Black Bear, Coyote or Cougar sighting, our city is home to an amazing array of wildlife species.
Preventing Unwanted Encounters with Local Wildlife
While residents and visitors enjoy the opportunities for wildlife viewing in our area, we must also learn to act responsibly as neighbors to the surrounding wilderness.
Wild animals are naturally fearful of humans, but when we intentionally or unintentionally provide access to food and water sources, their behavior can change. This leads to interactions and potential conflicts between humans, pets, and wild animals. Through guidelines provided by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), we can foster a sense of responsibility toward our wild neighbors and ensure our interactions are both enriching and conflict-free.
Don't feed wildlife—intentionally or unintentionally.
- Keep garbage cans with tight-fitting lids in a secure space, such as inside a garage, shed or fenced area, until collection day.
- Cover new compost material with soil or lime to prevent it from smelling, and never include animal matter in your compost.
- Pick up fallen fruit and other possible attractants from your yard.
- Take down seed, suet and hummingbird feeders until fall.
- Thoroughly clean barbeque grills after each use.
Protect your pets and livestock.
- Livestock and small animals, such as goats, sheep and chickens, are attractants to predators such as cougars and coyotes. Outdoor livestock should be kept in secure pens and away from forest boundaries.
- Keep dogs and cats indoors, especially from dusk to dawn, and don't allow pets to roam unattended.
- Remove dog and cat food from wildlife-accessible areas.
Take extra caution at home and in the car.
- Install barriers, such as tree guards, chicken wire, netting or deer fencing, to protect individual plants or your entire property.
- Consider use of scare tactics, such as scarecrows, motion-sensor lighting or noisemaking devices, to deter wildlife from entering your property.
- Drive slowly at night and be especially watchful while driving at dawn or dusk, when wildlife is most active.
- Keep in mind, one deer crossing the road may be a sign that more deer are about to cross.
And when hiking or camping...
- Be aware of your surroundings, hike in a group when possible, and make noise to prevent any surprises to wildlife along the trail.
- Keep attractants, such as uneaten food or scented personal items, at least 100 yards away from camping areas.
- Pack out what you pack in. Do not leave food or waste behind.
- Avoid hiking at dusk or dawn, when wildlife is most active.
- What do I do if I encounter a cougar?
According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, relatively few people will ever encounter a cougar. If you are one of the few who do, be sure to:
- Stop, pick up small children immediately, and don’t run.
- Maintain eye contact with the cougar while backing away slowly.
- Make yourself as large as possible: stand tall, shout, wave your hands and throw anything you have available (water bottle, book). The idea is to convince the cougar that you are not prey, but a potential danger.
- If the cougar attacks, fight back. Cougars have been driven away by people who have fought back. Be aggressive and try to stay on your feet. Bear spray can also be effective.
- What do I do if I encounter a black bear?
According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, you should do the following if in close contact with a bear:
- Remain calm and assess the situation. If the bear seems unaware of you, move away quietly when it's not looking in your direction.
- If a bear walks toward you, identify yourself as a human by standing up, waiving your heads and talking to the bear in a low voice.
- If you cannot safely move away from the bear, scare it away by clapping your hands, stomping your feet and yelling. If you are in a group, stand shoulder-to-shoulder and raise and wave your arms to appear intimidating.
- Do not run from the bear and do not throw anything at the bear, which the bear could interpret as a threat.
- What do I do if I come across a fawn?
Chances are, if you find a fawn, or baby deer, alone, it is safe and healthy. According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, doe will often leave her fawn alone for long periods to feed herself and rest. While mom is away, fawns will instinctively lie low and wait for their mother to return.
Do not touch or relocate a fawn. If it appears weak, ill or injured, please contact the PAPD non-emergency line at (360) 452-4545.
Visit the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website to learn more about what to do when encountering a fawn or other young animals.
- Who do I call if there is deceased wildlife in the public right of way (a City street, median or sidewalk)?
Please contact the Streets Division of the Public Works & Utilities Department at (360) 417-4800. Crews will be dispatched to the location to remove the deceased wildlife.
- What do I do if I encounter injured wildlife?
Please call the Port Angeles Police Department non-emergency line: (360) 452-4545.
You can also report an immediate public safety issue, wildlife violation, or injured or dangerous animals to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Office at (360) 902-2936 or email@example.com.
If you are experiencing an emergency, please call 911.