Add a Signature

Wildlife control operators (WCOs) have trouble with marketing. Though more people are beginning to distinguish WCOs from their insect-killing cousins (Pest Control Operators), the fact is WCOs remain in the shadow of the larger pest control industry.

Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC Logo
Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC Logo

In light of those challenges, one would think that WCOs would be looking to take advantage of every opportunity to market their services. But in my experience, they don’t. One of the least expensive ways to market  a business that WCOs don’t use is the e-mail signature.

Signatures are standard blocks of text that are placed by the e-mail program at the bottom of every e-mail prior to being sent. Once you set one up, the text is automatically placed. Failure to add a signature results in a lost opportunity to let people know what you do and how to contact you. So why not add a signature to your e-mail account so that when you write future e-mails you don’t loose the marketing opportunity it provides.

About the Author

Stephen M. Vantassel is a Certified Wildlife Control Operator (CWCP®) who helps individuals, businesses, and agencies resolve wildlife damage issues through training, writing, expert witness, and research. He has written the Wildlife Damage Inspection Handbook, 3rd edition. Reach him at wildlifecontrolconsultant at gmail dot com.

Copyright

All postings are the property of Stephen M. Vantassel and Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC. Text (not images) may be reprinted in non-profit publications provided that the author and website URL is included. If images wish to be used, explicit and written permission must be obtained from Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC.

Chimney Trap System 1

It was a beautiful Saturday Summer day in Western Massachusetts. I had lined up three chimney raccoon jobs and thankfully I was able to get my wife to come along and help. I am not very good on roofs and chimneys, let alone handling so many fireplaces in one day. Some of my colleagues talk about handling these jobs in an hour, I can only wish to be that fast. My chimney raccoon removal method at the time was Rich Daniotti’s Chimney Trap System 1. This is the trap system without the chimney brushes. You are supposed to set the trap and come back the next day. I never felt confident enough with that method, so I would just drive the female up the chimney and catch her the same day.

Chimney Trap System 1 hanging by bungee cords. Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel.
Chimney Trap System 1 hanging by bungee cords. Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel.

The first two jobs went okay despite being rather long. The sun was shinning and the temperature was beginning to rise. I felt good about the money I was making but I was beginning to feel rather tired. The last job of the day was two floor house in a nearby town. We didn’t start there till after 3:00 pm. Already the sweat was pouring out of my body and it was not at all comfortable. After greeting the client and checking out the fireplace, I accessed the roof and installed the chimney trap. The roof was a little more pitched than I like and the tiles were beginning to get soft. I knew I had to move quickly in order to finish the job today. With the trap installed, I began to harass the mother to get her to climb the chimney and enter the trap. She was a little stubborn at first but in a couple of minutes, I heard the pleasant sound of the metal trap door closing. I thought it was a bit strange that it sounded so loud. I am partially deaf in my left ear, but  I figured the acoustics were right. Feeling kind a proud of myself, I exit the building looking for the chimney to see my trapped raccoon. I was a bit surprised that I didn’t see the trap. I guessed that the roof line was blocking my view, so I stepped further away from the house to get a clearer ground view of the chimney. My stomach sank when I saw the top of the chimney with no raccoon and worst of all no trap. I felt even worse knowing that the chimney was surrounded by building so if my trap fell it would not fall harmlessly to the ground. I started getting worried about the cost of potential damages. By the way, did I mention that the client was a lawyer?

I swung around the building looking for my trap. I passed a corner, looked up and there was my trap and trapped raccoon hanging by the bungee cords against the chimney. On the roof below, urine and feces were sprayed. It seems that the trap wasn’t stabilized enough or she flew out of the chimney so fast that the trap lifted up dislodging it from the chimney. Feeling that she was falling, she literally messed herself she was so scared. Thankfully, the bungee cords stopped the trap from falling on the asphalt shingled roof below. The house wasn’t damaged by the impact either because the trap only hit the side of the brick chimney. Thank God, I had truly dodged a bullet on this one. The client didn’t even notice my mistake. He was just glad that the job was getting done.

About the Author

Stephen M. Vantassel is a Certified Wildlife Control Operator (CWCP®) who helps individuals, businesses, and agencies resolve wildlife damage issues through training, writing, expert witness, and research. He has written the Wildlife Damage Inspection Handbook, 3rd edition. Reach him at wildlifecontrolconsultant at gmail dot com.

Copyright

All postings are the property of Stephen M. Vantassel and Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC. Text (not images) may be reprinted in non-profit publications provided that the author and website URL is included. If images wish to be used, explicit and written permission must be obtained from Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC.

Winter Trapping Tips

Winter Trapping Tips

Each season brings its own challenges to the WCO and winter is no different. Here are a few tips to maximize your results when Mother Nature tries to slow you down.
1. Choose the right glue board. I am not a big fan of glue boards but sometimes they are needed. In cold weather, choose the freezer-style glue boards as they stay tacky even down to freezing temperatures.

Board used to protect a cage trap from snow. Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel.
Board used to protect a cage trap from snow. Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel.

2. Protect your cage traps from snow. Snow can conceal your bait and bury your traps making it ineffective. Worse yet, you have to dig out your traps later. Protect your traps in advance by setting them under an evergreen tree, under an eave, on the lee side of a tree or building, or place a sheet of plywood on top.
3. Improve your baiting technique. Bait won’t volatize as easily in cold weather so don’t think that your bait will have the same draw as it does in the summer. Thus you need to pay more attention to locating your traps in the best location. But since that may not be possible (see point 2) think about using trailing lures to help guide the animal to the trap.

About the Author

Stephen M. Vantassel is a Certified Wildlife Control Operator (CWCP®) who helps individuals, businesses, and agencies resolve wildlife damage issues through training, writing, expert witness, and research. He has written the Wildlife Damage Inspection Handbook, 3rd edition. Reach him at wildlifecontrolconsultant at gmail dot com.

Copyright

All postings are the property of Stephen M. Vantassel and Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC. Text (not images) may be reprinted in non-profit publications provided that the author and website URL is included. If images wish to be used, explicit and written permission must be obtained from Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC.

Mice Looking for Water

Mice treated with toxicants don't go outside looking for water. They die where they die. Photo by Stephen M.  Vantassel.
Mice treated with toxicants don’t go outside looking for water. They die where they die. Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel.

Many people who use toxicants (i.e. poison bait) to control mice, think that when mice consume the bait, they will go outside of the structure “looking for water.”  The notion of poisoned mice looking for water is a common one. I understand that some pest control operators even used the clause “mice looking for water” to convince the client to accept the use of toxicants on their property.

The fact is mice that consume toxicants die where they die. No pest control operator or wildlife control operator should be saying that they “know” where the mice will die. The most likely place for mice to die is their nest as they will seek the safety of their home as they begin to feel poorly. But as this photo to the right shows, there is no guarantee on where the mouse will die.

About the Author

Stephen M. Vantassel is a Certified Wildlife Control Operator (CWCP®) who helps individuals, businesses, and agencies resolve wildlife damage issues through training, writing, expert witness, and research. His latest books are the Wildlife Damage Inspection Handbook, 3rd edition and The Practical Guide to the Control of Feral Cats. He can be contacted at wildlifecontrolconsultant at gmail dot com.
If you would like your publication, video, or product reviewed, please contact the author at the e-mail above.

Copyright

All postings are the property of Stephen M. Vantassel and Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC. Text (not images) may be reprinted in non-profit publications provided that the author and website URL is included. If images wish to be used, explicit and written permission must be obtained from Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC.

Does Home Insurance Cover Your Business?

Lots of wildlife control operators (WCO) start their businesses out of their house. Home-based

Insurance. Photo by GraphicStock.
Insurance. Photo by GraphicStock.

businesses has a long tradition in the U.S. But a recent article in Kiplinger’s Personal Finance raised the question whether your homeowner’s insurance will cover WCOs operating a business out of their house. I have heard of getting business insurance to cover your vehicle or truck. But I didn’t think of getting insurance for covering activities at your house.

Curious, I went online and found a page at http://www.allstate.com/tools-and-resources/business-insurance/home-based-business.aspx.  Sure enough, homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover many business activities at your home. For example, receive shipments at your home? If the delivery guy slips and hurts himself, then your homeowner’s insurance may not cover the injuries. If you have a fire, your business equipment may not be covered by your fire insurance.

What should you do? Read your homeowner’s policy and look for gaps. Then consult with your insurance agent and inquire about additional coverage that will fill the gaps. You may be surprised that it is cheaper than you might expect.

About the Author

Stephen M. Vantassel is a Certified Wildlife Control Professional (CWCP). He is available for writing, research, consultation, expert testimony, wildlife damage identification, training, and education.  Articles may be reprinted provided they include my byline and URL of my blog. Photos may not be reprinted without express written permission.

Control Woodchucks

Act fast if you want to control woodchucks (Marmota monax).

Control Woodchuck (Marmota monax). Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel.
Woodchuck (Marmota monax). Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel.

In the northern latitudes, woodchucks will be entering their burrows to hibernate. If you have woodchucks and don’t want them around for next year, then you only have a few weeks to control woodchucks before hibernation. As a general rule, woodchucks enter their dens in the first week of November for states at the latitude of Massachusetts.

Woodchucks found in locations more northerly than Massachusetts will hibernate sooner and those below later. For woodchucks in the deep south, they may not hibernate at all.

Don’t panic if you miss the window. Many woodchucks, particularly those born this year, will not survive the winter. But if they do, you will have another chance to control them in February when they emerge from hibernation very hungry. And hunger makes it easier to control woodchucks as they are easily lured into cage traps.

Stephen M. Vantassel is a certified wildlife control professional who helps individuals and property owners resolve conflicts with wildlife. He is available for research, writing, training, expert testimony, and consultation.  This article may be reprinted provided full credit including website address is included. Use of images requires written permission from the photographer.

Correcting Deer Rub Damage

Correcting Deer Rub Damage

Bucks damage young trees when they use the trees to scrape off the felt on their antlers. Sometimes the scraping damages the tree’s bark severely enough to kill the tree. More often, the tree can survive, provided the damage does not exceed 50% of the tree’s circumference.  If you have a tree that has been damaged, you can help its chances of surviving by following these steps.

Buck scrape that has severely damaged this tree. It will likely die. Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel.
Buck scrape that has severely damaged this tree. It will likely die. Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel.

1. Remove loose strips of bark to make the surface smooth. This helps the tree heal faster.

2. Trim any broken branches to 1/4-inch from trunk.

3. Do not apply any wraps or paint. Wrapping attracts insects.

Author

Stephen M. Vantassel is a CWCP. He provides consulting, research, writing, and other services to companies and individuals.

NWCOA Shooting Workshop

NWCOA Shooting Workshop

Shooting is an important but potentially risky tool used for wildlife damage management. Once the bullet leaves the gun, it can’t be taken back so it is critical that shooters have the skills and decision making ability to use the firearm appropriately. This is the reason behind NWCOA’s Shooting Workshop.

NWCOA Shooting Workshop (Sept, 2014) in Roanoke, VA. Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel.
NWCOA Shooting Workshop (Sept, 2014) in Roanoke, VA. Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel.

I had the privilege to attend the workshop which took place on September 21-22, 2014 in Roanoke, VA.

Training was led by Dr. Anthony DeNicola of White Buffalo, Inc. Dr. DeNicola has years of experience shooting in sensitive environments and is an exceptional marksman.

The training covered equipment, decision making, safety, marksmanship, gun cleaning, shot placement, and baiting.

NWCOA is planning to expand its training opportunities in shooting so if you need to improve your shooting abilities, stay tuned.

About the Author

Stephen M. Vantassel is a CWCP. He offers consultation, writing, expert witness, and research support for clients.

Coexisting with Furbearers

Coexisting with Local Furbearers. Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel.
Coexisting with Local Furbearers. Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel.

Book Review: Coexisting with Local Furbearers: Good Practices in Management and Intervention by Gaétan Fournier. Quebec, Canada: Fédération des Trappeurs Gestionnaires du Québec, 2014. 248 pp.

Canada has had a long fur trapping tradition and coexisting with furbearers. With about 1/10th the population of the U.S. and about twice the land area, it’s a veritable trapping paradise. But even Canadians encounter conflicts with wildlife which need to be resolved.
This text is designed to train fur trappers in how to prevent and manage the conflicts caused by fur bearers. The guiding principle behind the book is to reduce the killing of valuable furbearing species outside the trapping season through the use of non-lethal techniques and targeted removals.
The book has 8 chapters: Introduction, managing human/wildlife conflicts, mandatory steps for professional operations, managing nuisance furbearing animals, the dilemma of translocation, repellents and their limitations, disposing of animal remains, and conclusion. , the bulk of the book falls under Chapter 4, managing nuisance furbearing animals. There readers will find detailed information on the biology, non-lethal control methods, lethal control methods, diseases, and other concerns, for beaver, muskrat, river otter, mink, squirrels, weasels, raccoon, skunk, red fox, coyote, wolf, and black bear. Note the information tends to center on damage issues affecting rural, livestock, infrastructure, and non-building settings. If you are looking for instructions on running a business in Columbus, OH, this is not the book for you.

Fournier included several appendices to cover important topics, such as diseases, selective trapping, attractants (i.e. baits/lures), and specialist equipment. Appendices contain important information that may not be expected given their placement in the appendices.
I had the privilege and pleasure to be a technical editor for this publication, so forgive me if I gush a bit about this book. It is smartly illustrated with beautiful color images and superb line drawings. Trappers interested in research-based wildlife control should get a copy of this text. I am confident that readers will improve their understanding of wildlife biology and techniques used to manage their damage.

To obtain a copy, send an e-mail containing your complete address, quantity desired to: ftgq@ftgq.qc.ca. FTGQ will send a PayPal invoice that will inform you about the price of the book and the shipping fees (all in Canadian dollars).

Stephen M. Vantassel, CWCP®

http://wildlifecontrolconsultant.com