Wildlife FAQs

A guide for respectfully and safely managing wildlife encounters on your property.
A bear wanders near a deer carcass on a grassy hillside

Embracing Nature's Circle: Witnessing the Bear's Role as Nature's Scavenger. This scene took place just off a roadway and near homes here in BVS. Black bears are omnivorous, meaning they have a varied diet that includes both hunting and scavenging. While black bears are capable of hunting small mammals like deer fawns, rodents, or fish, they are primarily opportunistic scavengers. They often rely on their keen sense of smell to locate carrion, such as dead animals or carcasses, which provides an important food source for them.

A bear examines a deer carcass on a grassy hillside

As part of the natural cycle, the bear's scavenging behavior helps maintain ecological harmony, allowing nutrients to be returned to the environment. While it may be uncomfortable to some, this glimpse into nature's efficient processes reminds us of the interconnectedness and resilience found in our wild surroundings.

A bear begins to eat a deer carcass located on a grassy hillside

Bears possess an incredible sense of smell, capable of detecting man-made scents with the same intensity as that of a carcass. It is crucial for property owners to recognize their role in preventing bear-human conflicts by avoiding the creation of enticing odors that may lure bears into residential areas. By being mindful of their waste management, securing food sources, and minimizing attractive scents, property owners can help mitigate potential risks and foster a safer coexistence with these magnificent creatures.

Yes, it is generally safe to enjoy outdoor activities. However, be mindful of your surroundings, follow trail guidelines, and respect wildlife by observing them from a safe distance.

Avoid feeding or approaching wild animals, secure trash and food sources, educate yourself about local wildlife habits, and report any unusual or concerning behavior to wildlife authorities.

Secure garbage cans, avoid leaving out pet food, and remove other potential food sources that might attract bears. Additionally, fruiting trees can be protected or harvested to reduce their appeal

Secure enclosures with sturdy fencing, use guardian animals (such as dogs or donkeys), and employ deterrents like motion sensor lights or noise-making devices.

Keep small pets indoors or supervised when outside, especially during dawn and dusk when predators are most active. Install adequate fencing to create a barrier between pets and potential predators.

Utilize deer-resistant plants, install fencing around vulnerable areas, and consider motion-activated deterrents like sprinklers or noise devices.

Maintain a safe distance and observe them from afar. Do not approach or feed them, as elk can become aggressive, especially during the rutting season.

It's uncommon for people in California to get hurt by black bears, but it can happen. Bears, just like any other animal, can be unpredictable. Usually, if a black bear gets aggressive, it's because it's been surprised, scared, or it's trying to protect its cubs. Sometimes, a bear that's used to being around people or that's learned to associate them with food might act boldly and could become a danger. Remember, every situation is unique and the best strategy is to avoid such encounters in the first place.

If you spot a bear and it hasn't seen you:

Maintain a safe distance and quietly back away. Let the bear know you're there by making some noise - you can shout, clap your hands, use a loud device, or even whistle. However, don't run or look directly into its eyes. Give the bear space to move away on its own.

If you come across a bear and it has noticed you:

Again, keep a safe distance and back off slowly. Try to appear larger by raising and waving your arms. Make noise as mentioned earlier. Don't run or make eye contact, and let the bear move away by itself.

If you encounter a bear and it starts moving towards you:

Maintain your safe distance and retreat slowly. Make yourself seem larger and make loud noises. If there are small children around, keep them close to you. Don't run or stare the bear in the eyes. Allow the bear to leave on its own terms. It's a good idea to carry bear spray and know how to use it. If a black bear does touch you, fight back and then dial 9-1-1.

If you find a bear inside your home or another building:

Stay as far away as you can and slowly move back. Don't try to approach or scare the bear. Instead, give it a clear path to exit. If the bear can't find its way out, go somewhere safe and call 9-1-1 right away.

Should you suspect the creature may have succumbed to disease or poison, please contact the California Fish & Wildlife Region 4 (Central Region) office at (559) 243-4005 ext. 151. They will guide you on the appropriate next steps.

When interacting with the remains of any wildlife, always wear gloves, be it for moving, examining, or preparing them for disposal. Various gloves are suitable, including leather, rubber, or latex. Rubber or latex are particularly recommended as they are economical, easily accessible, and can be disinfected or disposed of once you've finished.

If the remains are far enough away from your home that they won't cause you any discomfort, feel free to allow nature to take care of it. This is the best way whenever possible, because the remains are an important part of the food chain for other wildlife.

In cases where the cause of death appears natural or due to predation and you intend to manage the remains yourself, try to avoid direct contact with any bodily fluids of the animal. If accidental contact occurs, promptly clean the affected skin area with soap and water.

Also, be cautious of any potential external parasites, such as fleas or ticks. If it's feasible and you don't suspect pesticide poisoning (which could affect test results), consider using a flea & tick spray on the animal before handling it.

Once you've ensured safety in handling, the next crucial step is respectful disposal of the remains. Burying is an economical method - ensure to dig a hole at least 4 feet deep and cover the animal with lime to deter other animals from disturbing the site.

If you prefer, the Tehachapi Landfill accepts deceased animals for a fee. For larger animals or multiple carcasses, it's important to inform the Department at 661-862-8900 or 1-800-552-KERN before delivering them. Ensure the remains are contained and don't exhibit odors or leakage.
- Use a black, opaque bag for transportation.
- The responsibility for unloading the animals lies with the customer.
- Deliver the remains to the site during morning hours.

Please call Public Works at 661-821-4428 for the pickup of carcasses that pose a road hazard.

The animal is respectfully relocated to open wildlands, a distance away from residential areas. Here, it serves a purpose in the circle of life by providing nourishment to other wildlife, subtly encouraging predators to stay within their natural habitats and away from homes. If the animal's life was humanely ended using a firearm and the body contains a bullet, we take special care to bury the creature deeply. This measure ensures that the bullet remains inaccessible, avoiding any unintentional harm to other wildlife who may accidentally consume it. We take these steps to respect and protect the balance of our shared natural world.

While not extremely common, condors and turkey vultures do occasionally visit the area. Be observant and report any sightings to local wildlife authorities for conservation purposes.

Bull elk in this community have attacked moving vehicles when in rut. It's important to drive cautiously and maintain awareness when driving through areas known for elk activity. Stay alert for any signs of elk near roadways, and be aware that they can act unpredictably.