It is Essential that People do not Feed Wildlife

Feeding wildlife is not in the best interest of wildlife as it often leads to property damage and/or safety issues for people and pets living in the area. The majority of wildlife attacks in Arizona are the result of fed wildlife becoming habituated to humans.

Feeding, attracting, or enticing wildlife (except birds and tree squirrels) is illegal in Pima, Pinal and Maricopa counties. Violations can result in up to a $300 fine. Several other cities and counties in Arizona also have restrictions on feeding wildlife with varying penalties. Check your local city or county ordinances for more information.

Keep wildlife wild and healthy with these tips

Do not intentionally feed wildlife; animals quickly associate access to food with humans.

Keep bird seed off the ground and out of reach of other wildlife. A platform can be attached to the bottom of most feeders to catch spilled seed.

Store all garbage securely. Do not discard edible garbage where javelina, bears, coyotes and other wildlife can get to it. Garbage cans should be put out on the morning of collection and secured as soon as possible to avoid animal scavenging.

Feed pets indoors or remove leftover food immediately.

Fence your garden or yard to provide a physical barrier to exclude wildlife. Poultry wire laid horizontally and buried just below the soil surface can prevent some wildlife from digging.

Securely close all openings to spaces under buildings and mobile homes. This is most critical in the spring when wildlife like foxes and skunks are looking for den sites.

Don’t let your pets roam free. They may end up a meal for coyotes, hawks, owls, bobcats and other predators, or come into conflict with javelina and skunks. Keep your pets on a leash whenever they are out of the yard, and always supervise small pets when outdoors.

Trim shrubs up from the ground so they don’t create hiding places for wildlife.

Plant native vegetation instead of tempting non-native ornamentals. Contact your nearest Arizona Game and Fish Department offices for a list of javelina-resistant plants.

Discourage wildlife presence. You can often do wildlife a favor by going out of your way to make them uncomfortable. If wildlife maintain their natural fear of people, they are less likely to become a nuisance and more likely to live a longer life. Make wildlife feel uncomfortable by making loud noises, throwing rocks, etc.

Ask your neighbors to follow these steps (and share this information with them). Wildlife that are attracted to one home often visit adjoining lots. Neighbors working together are most effective.

Contact Arizona Game and Fish if feeding activity in your neighborhood is causing wildlife to become bold. Call the 24/7 Operation Game Thief confidential tip hotline at 1-800-352-0700.
For more information about preventing conflicts with wildlife, see the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Living with Wildlife web pages.

What is the law?

Unlawful Feeding of Wildlife, ARS §13-2927

A. A person commits unlawful feeding of wildlife by intentionally, knowingly or recklessly feeding, attracting or otherwise enticing wildlife into an area, except for:

  1. Persons lawfully taking or holding wildlife pursuant to title 17 or pursuant to rules or orders of the Arizona game and fish
  2. Public employees or authorized agents acting within the scope of their authority for public safety or for wildlife management purposes.
  3. Normal agricultural or livestock operational practices.
  4. Tree squirrels or birds.

B. This section applies in a county with a population of more than two hundred eighty thousand persons.

C. Unlawful feeding of wildlife is a petty offense.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it illegal to feed wildlife?

Feeding wildlife is not in the best interest of wildlife as it often leads to property damage and/or safety issues for people and pets living in the area. The majority of wildlife attacks in Arizona are the result of fed wildlife becoming habituated to humans.

Won’t wildlife starve if people don’t feed them?

Wildlife know how and where to find the food that they depend upon, which often varies by season. Wildlife may not have the enzymes to digest some ingredients that are not found in their natural diet. Human-provided foods do not provide the proper balance of minerals. Consuming human-provided foods can cause digestive disorders, malnutrition and other diseases in wildlife. 

What is the fine for feeding wildlife?

ARS 13-2927 is a petty offense that can result in a fine of up to $300. You may also be cited with ARS 13-2908: Criminal Nuisance, which can result in an additional fine of up to $500.

What happens to wildlife that becomes too comfortable around people?

When wildlife becomes habituated to humans and public safety is an issue, the department’s only option is lethal removal.

Can I still have a bird feeder?

Yes, as long as it is in an enclosed yard or has a platform attached to catch spilled seed. The bird seed must be available only to birds and tree squirrels.

Can I put out water for birds and wildlife?

Yes, it is legal to place water in your yard for wildlife. Just be aware that excess water may bring in unwanted wildlife such as predators or javelina.

Want to Get Involved with Wildlife Conservation?

Volunteer your time, or donate to help us with conserving and protecting our wildlife. When you purchase a hunting or fishing license online, resources go back into wildlife conservation.

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With your help, we can continue to conserve & protect Arizona’s wildlife.


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If you have a passion for wildlife and want to help us conserve and protect it, we’d love to have you on our team!

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