Tag Archives: wildlife control

How Many House Sparrows?

Paying attention to details is critical in wildlife control. So how many house sparrows can you find in this photo? Scroll below to see the answer.

IMG_3209.JPG
How many house sparrows can you see in this photo? Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel.

The answer is

1 on the roof

8 on the fence

1 in the bush

So the total is 10!!

Rachel Gehringher-Wiar

Dear Lincoln Journal Star,

I am writing in regards to the article on Saturday, July 19, 2014 entitled best critter defense for her garden? An outdoor cat. On page 8 of the neighborhood Extra by Rachel Gehringher-Wiar. Her advice that readers encourage the presence of free ranging cats to resolve wildlife conflicts for garden seriously misinformed the readership. Free ranging cats are indiscriminate killers removing beneficial species along with some undesirable species. While readers may want all wildlife in the backyard dead, the fact is very few animals are causing conflicts with gardens so in effect Rachel’s solution is to kill them all and let God sort them out rather than a targeted solution to the problem. In addition Rachel didn’t inform her readers about the disease issues inherent with free ranging cats, particularly toxoplasmosis as cats use gardens for toilets.

It is unfortunate that Rachel didn’t take advantage of the resources provided by the University of Nebraska Lincoln through the Internet center for wildlife damage management website (ICWDM.org). By encouraging her readers to use cats, readers will lose the benefits provided by shrews and songbirds and other beneficial species such as garter snakes and frogs that perform insect control in gardens and also beautify the landscape.

It is my hope that if Ms. Wiar wishes to provide wildlife damage information to her readership that she consult the source mentioned above. If she has any doubts about the environmental impact free ranging cats have on the environment please letter read “Feral Cats and Their Management, EC1781”available at http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/sendIt/ec1781.pdf. As an author of that university publication, I would be happy to provide her additional details should she desire it.

Sincerely,

Stephen M. Vantassel,

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.

 

Selling Your WCO Business Part 3

Selling Your WCO Business Part 3

This article is part of a 5-part series. These blogs were originally published as “Selling Your Company” Wildlife Control Technology Magazine Sept/Oct 1999. Disclaimer: Article for informational purposes and is not to replace good legal counsel.

Advertising for Buyers

Obviously the options here are endless. I would suggest a low cost approach unless your company is worth well over 100,000 dollars. If it is worth more than that you might want to consider a business broker. Their fees can be steep. I called one and found out that he charged 30% of the gross sale. To my mind that is fairly expensive others charge 10-15% of the gross sale but that price only covers the cost of finding a buyer, which is no small task as brokers must perform a great deal of work to find a good buyer willing to pay a good price. Given how small our industry is the broker will have to work very hard to find a buyer. Don’t be afraid to negotiate the terms of the commission. You might be able to find a business broker willing to work for less money. Another option is to hire a broker as a consultant. A+ Business Broker Inc. out of Florida says they consult with potential sellers for 250 dollars an hour (1-800-707-8899). That is still a lot of money but the advice could be well worth it. (Don’t be afraid to make the broker prove their competence and always seek to understand what you are paying for.

You can also try to sell your business by yourself. You can get the word out through your state association newsletter, local exterminators, businesses that refer to you etc. If you want to spend for advertising, you can place ads in WCT, pest control magazines or national trapping magazines. You can also advertise on the internet. For example, American Investor Business Brokers is located on the web at http://aibb.com/fsbo/index.htm They will even allow you to offer your business on the web for no commission. You just pay a fee to advertise the company on the web. As with all brokers and paid advertising, make sure you understand what you are getting in return for payment. Ask tough questions about their abilities and successes. Remember they are supposed to be working for you.

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.

Selling Your WCO Business Part 1

Selling your Company Part 1

This article is part of a 5-part series. These blogs were originally published as “Selling Your Company” Wildlife Control Technology Magazine Sept/Oct 1999. Disclaimer: Article for informational purposes and is not to replace good legal counsel.

One of the differences between a job and a business is you can sell a business. Businesses have value beyond the individual running it. A business has client lists, phone numbers, regular accounts, good reputation etc. Each of these elements adds to the value of a business. Another way to look at it is to ask yourself what qualities you would like in a business before you buy it. As the animal damage control industry matures, more of our members will consider selling their businesses for retirement income or because the children aren’t interested in continuing the family trade.

Selling a business is neither quick nor easy. It is a long process, filled with many potential pitfalls and maddening delays. This article will provide you with a brief outline of the issues you must consider before entering the waters of any business sale.

The first question you must answer before selling your business is, “Why are you selling?”. The decision to sell your business, like starting it, should never be made flippantly or without mature reflection. Don’t rush into the decision. You must determine if your reasons are appropriate. Remember, if you got into business to be your own boss, selling your business may require that you work for others. Consult with trusted friends and family about your consideration of selling. Sometimes others can see potential pitfalls more clearly than we can see them ourselves.

Once the decision to sell has been made, you must determine what you want for the company. Since this industry is so young, we don’t have many examples of how our type of business can be properly valued. One of the problems with this industry is that it is a service based business. Service companies are difficult to value because you can’t patent a service. While our work is dangerous, time consuming and dirty, it is still not a difficult business for someone else to start from scratch. Obviously, businesses that require special skills and or equipment are more likely to demand higher sales premiums because they are inherently more difficult for someone to start from scratch. By the way, one of the ways to add more value to your business is to push for more regulations. Regulations helps put the squeeze on upstarts.

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.

Car Damaging Animals

Car Damaging Animals

Vehicle. Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel.
Vehicle. Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel.

Surprisingly, I have received a number of people asking me how to stop animals from chewing on the cables in their vehicles. The damage and inconvenience caused by these automotive loving animals ranges from nests, to chewing cables and tubes. Of course, people are always looking for magic solutions such as something they can spray or plug in to stop the animals from getting near their vehicles. The problem with chemicals and sprays lies with the heat generated by the vehicle. One wonders if a fire could result from the chemical being heated up; not to mention the smell, health threat and or potential damage to the vehicle. Don’t bother with ultrasound as there is simply no conclusive scientific evidence that they work to repel animals in real world situations.

So how can you respond to car damaging animals?

First, identify the culprit. Chances are the problem will be caused by mice, rats or squirrels, probably in that order. For additional help purchase, The Wildlife Damage Inspection Handbook 3rd ed.

Second, reduce the rodent population through reducing food sources and population control. Removing and/or modifying bird feeders, reducing harborage and woodpiles will go a long way to reduce the problem. Now removing food and harborage is not an instant solution. But it is an integral part of the long term solution. Population control will be greatly enhanced when you reduce other food sources as it will make the baiting system more attractive. (Always check wildlife regulations in your area before instituting any animal damage control program). For population control, consider trapping.

Finally, try to garage your car and or park it in an area away from the tree line. In other words, park your car in the middle of the parking lot so that wildlife have to travel farther to reach your car. Are any of these suggestions magic? No. But they will reduce the problem. As always, I am open to other suggestions. Just e-mail me at wildlifecontrolconsultant@gmail.com

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.

 

Canine Trapping Sets and Techniques–A Review

Pennsylvania Trappers Association, editors. 2008. Canine Trapping: Sets and Techniques by Top PA Trappers. PA Trappers Association. 120 pp.

Canine Trapping by PA Trappers
Canine Trapping by PA Trappers

The trapping of canines, be they coyotes, red fox or gray fox, is considered by most fur takers to be the ultimate expression of trapping expertise. Capturing an occasional canine is commendable and worthy of praise. But if you want to be a consistent canine trapper then you would do well to read the pages of this book.

Like their other book, Trapping Techniques, this volume is a collection of articles from various Pennsylvania trappers who have substantial experience catching canines. The first article, Trapping Ethics, sets the tone for the remaining articles. Essentially, Ed Price argues that trappers have a responsibility to treat the resource with respect and to not just follow the law but to think about how your actions will affect fellow trappers.

Later articles discuss fundamental skills for catching canines in general, such as set locations and dirt hole trapping. While much of the information is fairly standard, readers should be fascinated by the various and potentially conflicting opinions regarding specific techniques. For example, “Are canines spooked by large backings at a set or is it really much to do about nothing?” Another question is, “Does urine work by increasing territorial aggression or curiosity?” I’m sure you can find others. My point is that the book illustrates that trapping is as much art as it is science. Ultimately, you have to decide what works for you in your situation.

The book also contains articles reviews general principles for catching individual species (i.e. red fox, gray fox, and coyotes), while others delve into specific sets for footholds and cable-restraints. I was pleasantly surprised by the attention paid to trapping gray fox. Grays are one of the least understood canines as when compared to the red fox, very little academic research has centered on grays. Trappers in mixed habitats should find the information useful in adding gray fox to their lines.

Two articles by master bait makers, Russ Carmen and Bob Jameson, should help trappers make the most of their lure and urine use. Finally, the article on time management contains tips to shave minutes and possibly hours on your trapline each day. I am sure readers will find at least one tip to implement on their lines.

The book is 5 x8.5 inches in size, saddle-stitched and paperback. It is illustrated with line-drawings and black and white photos. Several articles could have benefited from additional illustrations. In addition, greater attention to editorial issues would have reduced the number of typos, layout changes, and improved clarity. Nevertheless, the information is invaluable and well worth the price. Whether you are a beginner to intermediate trapper, this book will help you improve the efficiency of your canine trapping. Regardless of your skill level, purchase of a book helps support your fellow Pennsylvania trappers.

Copies can be purchased for $12.00 plus shipping online at http://www. patrappers.com. Payment is made through PayPal. Both of their books are available for only $20.00 plus shipping.

About the Author

Stephen M. Vantassel is a certified wildlife control operator 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.

 

Responding to Competition-Part 3

Responding to Competition-Part 3

Collection of foothold traps (Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel).
Collection of traps often symbolize competition in the wildlife control industry. Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel.

A third area you need to consider is price. I don’t like talking about price because studies show that price is usually not the first issue people have with a service company. I want to warn our readers to avoid the siren’s call to lower prices. Now if you discover a better and more efficient way to do your business then by all means lower prices if competition forces you. The key is not to reduce your profit margin. The fact is anyone can lower prices. The danger to this industry lies in the hands of the low ballers. These are the guys who travel twenty miles for a squirrel and only charge 20 dollars. Even if you are loosing business to these guys try to fight the urge to simply lower your prices. Instead, try to add value to the price you already charge. You can add value by extending or establishing a warranty, have insurance, have workman’s comp insurance, that you are a Certified Wildlife Control Professional etc. Do and say things that show your potential clients that you don’t charge low prices because you don’t do low price quality work.  Show your clients that you are more expensive and like the Loreal commercial, you are worth every penny.

I cannot stress enough that price is not the key reason why most clients go with one service provider over another. (Most customers go with the first company that answers the phone but if that doesn’t do it, then customers decide on satisfaction). In my reading, a key reason why people choose one company over another is peace of mind. In other words, if the client hired you do they feel like they have made a safe choice? The scariest thing for a client is the feeling that they have hired a loser company. Unlike the experience in buying a product, a customer can’t return a service. You have to overcome the customer’s fear of hiring the wrong customer by giving them some level of security. If they can’t find it, they will then go to the lowest bidder to reduce their potential loss.

Finally, prepare for coming competition. As I said in the first paragraph, the industry is maturing. As much as you hate to admit it the easy money has been made. The rise in competition should force everyone to start treating their work as a business rather than a paid hobby. If you have an established business and the new guy on the block is beginning to take a bite out of your customer base, don’t panic. The business community is littered with the wreckage of fast growing companies that came in bragging how their business model would destroy the competition. The fact many new companies look great at the beginning. But the realities of heavy hours, dead beat clients, and bills quickly take their toll on these upstarts. The principle you have to keep in mind is to always run a lean operation that is ready to adapt and survive during the initial slow period caused by a new company.  For more often than not, that new company won’t be able to maintain their hectic pace for long. When and if they burn out, you will be to pick up the pieces and the profits.

There is certainly a lot more that can be said about preparing and responding to competition. However, I think you have seen enough to begin thinking about how you might handle that eventual occurrence or might respond to it if the competition is already upon you. Remember, if business was easy, everyone would be doing it.

About the Author

Stephen M. Vantassel is a certified wildlife control operator 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.

Responding to Competition-Part 1

Responding to Competition-Part 1

Stephen M. Vantassel speaking at the 2013 NWCOA/UNL Goose Academy in Indianapolis, IN. Photo by Vikki Rawe
Stephen M. Vantassel speaking at the 2013 NWCOA/UNL Goose Academy in Indianapolis, IN

Well, we have finally made it. The NWCO industry has finally started hitting a new plateau in its rapid growth. One of the best signs of this has been my receipt of calls regarding how to expand business. One call wanted to know how to handle the competition that has been crushing him. While painful for the caller, I see these sorts of questions as good news. It means that the industry is maturing. The result of this competition will be the improvement of customer service, pricing and techniques. The best days are ahead.

But if you learn that competition has been eating into your business I have a few ideas that may help you survive the assault. The first thing you must do when competition comes is watch your attitude. Sure you may hate your competitor as scum and think that he doesn’t do the job like you. But the fact remains that getting angry does nothing. Instead of seeing your competitor as an enemy, begin to look at him as your personal business trainer. Your competitor will help you make sure you aren’t getting lazy or sloppy in your work. Failure to look at your competition in a positive light will only poison your own business. As they say, attitude is everything. Make sure yours is a positive one.

More details in the next blog.

About the Author

Stephen M. Vantassel is a certified wildlife control operator 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.

 

 

 

The Burden of Trapping

The Burden of Trapping

Cage-trapped Raccoon. Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel.
Cage-trapped Raccoon. Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel.

Unlike traditional pest control that relies on toxicants to kill unwanted animals, cage, box, and other forms of live trapping require wildlife control operators (WCOs) to euthanize or translocate the animals in accordance to state and local laws. Typically, WCOs remove captured animals from the client’s property and place them in the back of the truck and deal with the animal back at the office.

Unfortunately, sometimes a WCO may “forget” about the animal in the back of truck. This is a rare occurrence. And usually if it does happen, the WCO rectifies it the next morning. But sometimes, something disastrous occurs, such as what happened to Christy Clark, a WCO in Rhode Island.  According to the news story published by The Westerly Sun on June 28, 2013, http://www.thewesterlysun.com/news/pest-control-franchisee-charged-with-cruelty-to-animals/article_31b79c3c-dffc-11e2-92e2-0019bb2963f4.html Ms. Clark had a cage-trapped raccoon in the back of her truck that was not attended to for 6 days because she had left on a trip and forgot about it. A neighbor, hearing the animal’s scratching etc., notified authorities. Upon their arrival, they found the raccoon dead from thirst/heat. Ms. Clark was charged with animal cruelty.

Distractions Can Cost You

My point is not to wag a finger at Ms. Clark, whom I am confident feels terrible about this situation. Rather I want to emphasize to WCOs the importance of staying focused on the tasks at hand by instituting procedures that help you avoid tragic mistakes like this. Owning and running a business is extremely taxing not only on your body but also on your attention. Customer calls, being tired, thinking about the rest of the day or how much paperwork you have to do or an employee that got a customer angry, etc. can prevent you from following procedure. Break procedure and bad things happen, whether it is forgetting to tie down a ladder, stopping for a red light, or forgetting to remove a raccoon from the back of the truck.

Bottom Line

Learn from this tragic event. Recognize that but for the grace of God go you. And lastly, institu

About the Author

Stephen M. Vantassel is a certified wildlife control operator 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.

te a system to help prevent this from happening to you.

 

A Walk Down Memory Lane

A Walk Down Memory Lane

With my years at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, some people forget that I used to

Stephen M. Vantassel when he owned Wildlife Removal Service, Inc. in Springfield, MA.
Stephen M. Vantassel when he owned Wildlife Removal Service, Inc. in Springfield, MA. in 1998.

perform wildlife control services for a living. I attach an image here as “proof” that I used to work for a living. :)

This cover photo of Wildlife Control Technology magazine (March/April 1998) was of me when I owned Wildlife Removal Service, Inc. I ran the company in Springfield, Massachusetts full time for nearly five years before selling it.

This particular issue of Wildlife Control Technology magazine contained an article I wrote entitled “Buying a New Truck.”

Vantassel, Stephen. (1998). Buying a New Truck. Wildlife Control Technology, 5, Cover, 38-39.

About the Author

Stephen M. Vantassel is a certified wildlife control operator 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.