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Consider Wildlife When Decorating for the Holidays 
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Post Consider Wildlife When Decorating for the Holidays
From the DOW:

CONSIDER WILDLIFE WHEN DECORATING FOR THE HOLIDAYS

Everyone enjoys seeing brightly lit, festively decorated homes of the holiday season. Most of us would never guess that these decorations can be a serious hazard to wildlife, especially deer and elk.

Each year, wildlife officers are called about problems with animals caught in wired lights or decorations stuck on animals’ horns, antlers or legs. Most of these incidents can be prevented by following a few simple tips on where and how to use decorations.

- Wait to put up outdoor lights on posts, shrubs or small trees until after the peak of the deer rut, sometime after the first week of December.

-Trees with trunk diameters of two to six inches are most likely to be rubbed by bucks which entangle lights in their antlers – only string lights on larger diameter trees.

-Use multiple short strands of wire plugged together versus one long strand so that if animals become entangled they will have less wire to deal with.

-Avoid stringing lights “clothesline” style across areas — firmly attach lights to tree limbs, gutters, or fence posts.

-Place some flagging along the wired decorations so that deer can see where the wire is and avoid entanglement.

These ideas can also apply to general yard planning year-round. Wildlife can also benefit from:

-Removing volleyball nets from their posts during the winter – don’t wrap nets around the post, as animals may still be enticed to rub their antlers on it and get caught.

-Disconnecting and storing water hoses, tomato cages and other gardening materials (netting, stakes, ties, etc.) until spring.

-Taking down and storing hammocks and swings when not in use.

-Flagging or removing empty clotheslines until they are needed.

-Fencing yards with animals in mind, as illustrated at: Fencing

One of the greatest hazards to an entangled animal can be a well-meaning citizen who comes too close. The Division of Wildlife (DOW) cautions people not to approach or try to help an entangled animal. Greater injury to the animal or injury to the person may result. Precaution is the preferred tool to problem-solving.

Capturing and handling animals can be very stressful to them and can result in fatalities. Because of this, the DOW generally does not remove objects from animals unless the object is impeding the animal's travel (legs lashed together), has completely blocked the animal’s vision, or is around the animal’s jaw, neck or chest where constriction will affect survival. However, animals which have become attached to each other because of manmade materials do need DOW's assistance, as this kind of entanglement can result in death. In the case of deer and elk with wire or other non-life threatening materials on the antlers, the problem usually comes off each year when antlers are shed. (See Durango Herald story)

Thank you for your help in keeping wildlife safe this holiday season and throughout the year!


Mon Dec 04, 2006 10:07 pm
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