Feeding Wildlife Dos and Don'ts

Visit the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry for helpful information about feeding wildlife. While the practice of feeding deer is discouraged, it is not prohibited by law or by-law.

Consequences of feeding wildlife Feeding wild animals may do more harm than good.

Threats to wildlife

  • animals can become dependent on artificial food sources
  • animals can lose their natural fear of humans and pets, becoming more prone to conflict artificial feed is not healthy for wildlife
  • wild animals may gather in large numbers when they are being fed -- this concentration of animals in one area can spread parasites and disease and cause destruction of natural habitat
  • feeding animals near roads increases their risk of being hit by vehicles

Threats to people

  • feeding wildlife may attract "unwanted" animals to your property
  • animals will learn to associate humans with food, and can become a problem to neighbours
  • habituated animals can become aggressive
  • feeding animals near roads increases the risk of motor vehicle accidents, resulting in property damage, injury or death

Prevent Bear Encounters (Bear Wise)

Most human-bear conflicts occur when bears are attracted by smells and rewarded with an easy meal. When bears pick up a scent with their keen noses, they will investigate it. If they find bird food, garbage or pet food, they will return as long as the food source is available. You can help deter bears from visiting your property by removing attractants, such as open garbage, bird feeders, pet food, ripe fruits and berries, and grease and food residue from barbecue grills.

For more tips on being Bear Wise at the cottage and elsewhere, please review the attached fact sheet and/or visit Ontario.ca/bearwise

Household dos and don'ts


  • appreciate wildlife from a distance
  • keep household waste, compost and pet food out-of-reach from wild animals
  • work together with your neighbours to help keep wild animals wild


  • put out food to attract wildlife
  • try to approach or touch wild animals
  • feed pets outdoors or allow pets to roam free
  • put garbage out until the morning of collection

What to do if you find a sick, injured or orphaned wild animal

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