At a lakeside property, you can expect to see wildlife all around you, but some wildlife is best kept in the wild, only to be viewed from a distance. If you don’t keep wildlife at bay, you might have bird nests in your chimneys and gutters, otters in your boathouse, and bears interrupting your picnics. 

This article will give property owners and renters guidelines and recommendations to consider so their lakeside experience will be safe and uninterrupted and avoid a call to the local pest control service.

For Property Owners

Property Selection

Owners of lakeside property bear the responsibility of selecting and maintaining a rental property.  When selecting a property, it is vital to research animals and plants native to the area, paying particular attention to pests, predators, and toxic plants. 

Ask owners of neighboring properties and local conservation groups about the wildlife as well, as they have local knowledge about specific wildlife patterns and the prevalence of certain animals there. 

Avoiding Invasive Species, Big and Small

Wildlife may be a factor in deciding where you buy property, as you could decrease or avoid bear risk by being further south if you desire to purchase land in Ontario or identify lakes such as Lake Muskoka, Kawartha, and Lake Simcoe or even the Great Lake’s Lake Ontario, Lake Huron, Lake Erie, and Lake Superior without invasive species like sea lampreys. Invasive species can complicate cleaning procedures, and predators could pose threats, so knowledge of the wildlife around the property is essential.

Property Modification

Once you select a property to purchase, you’ll want to either build a structure with measures to deter wildlife from coming or update the outbuildings and other structures you already have on the property.

Property Modifications

To keep animals out, you’ll want a fence or wall around the boundaries of your property. If you already have a barrier, assess it for damage and repair any damage found. You might want to consider electric fencing if large animals like deer bypass your fence frequently or put a scent deterrent around the property. 

For lakefront properties, you may have a large portion protected by the shoreline, a natural barrier.  That said, it may welcome other unwanted guests, such as otters and geese, who make quite a mess – and yes, I speak from experience

Motion Detection Lights to Scare Away Prey

To scare away animals, both arriving from land and in the water, you should also put up motion-detecting cameras, lights, and sprinklers to record and deter wildlife, mainly nocturnal wildlife.

Installing Chimney Caps and Vent Covers

Installing chimney caps and vent covers will also ensure fewer points of entry or areas for pests to enter the house. Chimney caps keep birds from nesting in chimneys, and vent covers prevent mice and other pests from entering the house.

Repair Damage To Eliminate Entry Points

Consulting a pest control expert lets you determine where to reinforce the building. As you would repair your fencing or exterior walls, also fix the walls and foundations of your buildings.

Repair any interior damage, and check that doors and windows have firm seals that prevent insects from entering through the cracks. Ensure that areas, where food is stored are free of damage, as food invites wildlife, and any gaps will allow pests access to it.

Environmental Outdoor Modifications

If you have outdoor food or waste, you’ll want to take additional measures to prevent wildlife from finding your area attractive. 

Store garbage, compost, and recycling in a secure manner. If you live in an area with bears, purchase a bear bin or share one with a neighbor. Keep bird feeders off the ground, and consider fencing, covering, or netting any gardens with crops in them. 

You might also want to raise your garden beds so rabbits and other creatures can’t climb. Clear any brush piles, wood piles, or debris piles on your property to discourage rodents and other wildlife from moving in, and stack your wood neatly in a woodshed. 

To minimize mosquitoes and other pests that breed in water, reduce the amount of stagnant water on your property. Check and clean gutters regularly to prevent them from getting clogged with debris, and ensure you either cover or have proper drainage for outdoor containers like sandboxes and water fixtures. You might also want your property sprayed for pests like mosquitoes.

How To Keep Animals Out of Garden

You can deter wildlife from your property with how and what you plant. Hedges are an alternative to fencing, and hedging with plants that have needles or thorns on them can deter animals from trying to break through the barrier or nest in it. Some native plants also prevent deer and other animals from eating or approaching them and should be planted as they are less appealing to herbivores in your area.


Tidy up any debris, clean the gutters, limit overgrowth, inspect your structures, keep your buildings and outdoor cooking areas tidy, bring in any food and beverages inside, harvest crops as soon as they are ready, clean fallen fruit from fruit trees, and weed your property. This will minimize your property’s attractiveness to wildlife.

Regulations and Resources

Consult local authorities and wildlife laws, and stay current on any regulations relevant to how you interact with wildlife and conduct activities on your property. In some areas, it might be legal to hire a trapper to remove pests that could damage trees your structures, or otherwise be a threat to your wellbeing.

Once you have learned about the wildlife in your area, you can also tell those renting your property about the wildlife, your rules (be they on food, waste, or activities), and why it is essential to follow them. 

If wildlife bothers you or your renters, let wildlife management authorities know so they can investigate nuisances, especially those by more giant animals like deer and bears. Doing so will minimize the damage done to your guests’ experiences, your property, and the wildlife around you.

For Renters

For renters, keeping wildlife at bay is much simpler but just as important. Leave everything as the property owner has it, not modifying any plants or damaging any structures. 

Clean outdoor cooking areas like fire pits or barbecues, and bring in any garbage, food (human or pet food), and personal items before nightfall. Follow any rules the host sets, legal regulations, and conservation guidelines

If you have a boat, clean it before putting it in another lake to prevent invasive species from being introduced into new habitats. 

Only get close to wildlife, and only feed animals if the owner has permitted you to, such as feeding birds with a bird feeder. Do your best to leave no trace and report any issues as they arise to the owner of the property and, if needed, wildlife authorities.

Keeping Wildlife at Bay

Keeping wildlife at bay ensures that people and animals can enjoy the great outdoors, with neither one interfering in the other’s affairs. By following these guidelines, you can enjoy your lakeside property safely and peacefully.

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