50 ways to help protect and conserve Maine’s mammals

Fri, 03/20/2020 - 8:00am

Our beautiful state is 200! But Maine wouldn’t be “Maine” without our fish, wildlife, and recreation opportunities. Celebrate with us by learning 200 ways YOU can help conserve Maine for generations to come.

Here are 50 ways you can help conserve Maine’s mammals from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. 

1. If you care, leave it there! If you come across baby wildlife, leave them alone. The mom will come back, and your interference can lead to unwanted harm.

2. Choose to use silent fireworks. The bang in fireworks is an unnecessary feature and causes severe stress on wildlife.

3. Make or buy a bat house to attract Maine’s endangered and threatened bat species like the eastern small-footed bat, the little brown bat & northern long eared bat! Learn how to make a proper bat house here.

4. Bring in bird feeders and clean up extra bird feed on the ground to avoid conflicts with unwanted wildlife in your yard.

5. Visit the Maine Wildlife Park to learn more about Maine’s wildlife species!

6. Purchase MDIFW gear at L.L.Bean. A portion of the sales goes to the Department to help fund conservation efforts.

7. Leave wildlife wild, do not attempt to adopt or care for any wildlife.

8. Beavers are a keystone species, meaning other species in the ecosystem largely depend on them for creating wetlands. Before trying to remove a beaver, learn your options of how to prevent and resolve conflicts.

9. Buy a hunting and fishing license, even if you don’t hunt or fish! This is our core funding mechanism. We not only get the money from the license itself, but it also increases matching and federal funding.

10. Buy sporting equipment. The work done by our fish and wildlife biologists is partly funded by an excise tax collected from the sale of sporting equipment such as firearms, ammunition, bows and arrows, fishing tackle, and motorboat fuel.

11. Keep trash inside until pickup day and use tightly latched lids and tip-proof barrels to avoid conflicts with unwanted wildlife in your yard.

12. If you happen to come across a bear den and see a bear flee, leave the area so the mother is likely to return and immediately report the bear den to MDIFW.

13. Support hunting and trapping in order to properly manage wildlife populations. Hunting and trapping is closely regulated by MDIFW, promoting the safest and most humane methods of management.

14. If you are a landowner or member of a community who is interested in helping wildlife and their habitats, work with The Beginning with Habitat Program which offers FREE mapping and technical assistance. They will also help identify the important wildlife species that live in your town and the best way to conserve them.

15. Feed pets indoors and keep pets inside from dusk until dawn to avoid conflicts with unwanted wildlife in your yard.

16. Reduce, reuse and recycle. Wildlife can often get caught in cans, containers and other waste.

17. Create a bat-friendly yard by planting flowers that are late day blooming to attract insects that bats consume.

18. When hunting for deer, use artificial urine lures or others scents rather than natural deer pee. This helps prevent the introduction of chronic wasting disease to Maine. CWD can be found in bodily fluids of infected deer and many urine products are not regulated, potentially introducing a deadly infection into the environment.

19. Follow the laws and don’t transport firewood and other materials that could bring in invasive species and alter the natural ecosystem.

20. Thoroughly clean your grill and bring food indoors to avoid conflicts with unwanted wildlife in your yard.

21. If you see a brown rabbit mid-winter, contact a regional biologist. It is either the critically endangered New England cottontail or a rival species that should not be in Maine.

22. If you’re in southern Maine, manage your land to help our endangered New England cottontail by promoting young forested growth.

23. If you feed deer, spread out feed and rotate feed sites to avoid unnatural aggregation of deer, and keep feed away from roads. Enhance natural browse availability by dropping hardwood tree tops and limbs in winter or provide pelletized feed or feed mixes formulated for deer. Avoid foods like whole corn, potatoes, and hay.

24. Like other wild animals, bats will seek shelter in an attic, wall, chimney, or other suitable area. Prevent bats from entering the living space of your home by sealing off cracks and holes (½ inch or larger) before or after the summer pupping season.

25. Attract bats to your property by maintaining standing dead trees (biologists call these snags) that often have many cavities. Flying squirrels and some birds also like these cavities.

26. Delay the mowing and harvesting of your hay and fields until August to avoid areas inhabited by rabbits and nesting birds.

27. To help maintain a healthy bear population, support bear hunting and introduce a friend to bear hunting. Populations that become too high end up suffering from starvation and disease.

28. If you have livestock, keep them indoors at night to prevent conflicts with predators.

29. Keep your distance far and your presence short if you come across a moose or other wildlife.

30. Thank a hunter or trapper! Hunters and trappers are conservationists and help maintain proper population levels for the ecosystem.

31. Keep poultry in cages with doors to prevent wildlife from eating your birds to avoid conflicts with unwanted wildlife in your yard.

32. Consider predator hunting for bobcat, coyote and fox to help keep populations at a healthy level for their environment.

33. Slow down when you see a moose or deer crossing sign, especially during dusk or dawn to prevent collisions.

34. Avoid shining headlights or spotlights into fields at night. This can cause wildlife to be spooked and flee an area they are resting or feeding in. It is illegal during the fall hunting season!

35. If you go for a walk with your best dog friend, pick up their poop! Feces can negatively affect aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.

36. Become a game warden and help protect Maine’s natural resources every day!

37. When hunting, proper shot placement is critical for a quick, ethical harvest. Remember, practice makes perfect and never take a shot you are not confident in.

38. Never chase wildlife if you encounter them on a trail or road. Wait for them to move off the road or trail until you can pass safely.  

39. Respect closure signs at caves that host hibernating bats during the winter. Our bat populations were decimated by a fungus introduced by humans.

40. Support open space planning in your communities. All wildlife benefit and so do we!

41. If you are a landowner, consider opening your land to huntingHunters are conservationists.

42. When filing your Maine state taxes, say yes to the “Chickadee Check-off” on the charitable contributions page to donate to the Endangered & Nongame Wildlife Fund.

43. Your dog cannot roam free without affecting wildlife. Obey leash laws or other restrictions on public property.

44. Purchase a Loon Conservation Registration Plate to provide funding for Maine’s Endangered and Nongame Wildlife Fund.

45. Encourage conservation of larger blocks of forest or grassland, or wetland habitat.  In order to maintain habitat for animals that have large home ranges, such as bear, bobcat, fisher, and moose, and other animals that are sensitive to human disturbance, such as upland sandpipers and wood thrushes, we need to conserve larger blocks of forest or grassland, or wetland habitat. 

46. Vaccinate your pets to help reduce the spread of rabies and other diseases.

47. Keep cats inside. Cats prey on birds and small mammals like mice, voles, and even squirrels, chipmunks, weasels, taking away food from larger mammals. 

48. Understand and appreciate fox behavior, especially during denning season in the spring. During this time they are likely out during daylight in search of food to provide for their young.

49. Purchase Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund Lottery Tickets. The Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund conserves wildlife and open spaces through the sale of instant, scratch lottery tickets by supporting projects that promote conservation of Maine’s fish and wildlife habitat, acquisition and management of special places, endangered species, and conservation law enforcement.

50. Always treat mammals with respect. Set a good example for others by keeping your distance, educating yourself on best practices, and keeping wildlife wild.