Excluding Wildlife From Sheds

Excluding Wildlife From Sheds

One of the most important ways to reduce conflicts with wildlife and vertebrate pests is to reduce the availability of their preferred living areas known as harborage. The concept is quite simple, if the

A shed whose foundation allows access for unwanted vertebrate pests. Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel.
A shed whose foundation allows access for unwanted vertebrate pests. Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel.

species can’t find a good place to live, it is less likely to remain in the area. At minimum, reduced living areas automatically reduces the number of animals that can live in an area. In some cases, good exclusion work can reduce unwanted animals to zero.

Sheds, particularly those that are low to the ground, provide excellent harborage for vertebrates. Excluding wildlife from sheds will go a long way in preventing skunks (Mephitis mephitis), cats (Felis cattus), woodchucks (Marmota monax), and other ground dwelling animals from taking up residence.

To exclude wildlife from sheds you have two options. Option 1, raise the shed up so that it is at least 6 inches off the ground (higher for larger sheds). The point is to make it more exposed to light and therefore less inviting as a place to take up residence. Certainly free-range cats can use it as an ambush site for native wildlife, so you have to keep that in mind.

Option 2 is to secure the foundation with screening or stone. I will discuss how to that in my next post.

 

Stephen M. Vantassel is a writer, researcher, and consultant on wildlife control issues. He also loves to debate the anti-environmental position of the free-range cat lobby and the wider animal rights movement.

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®
https://wildlifecontrolconsultant.com

Wildlife and Airport Environments

Book review: Wildlife and Airport Environments: Preventing Animal–Aircraft Collisions through Science–Based Management by Travis L. DeVault, Bradley F. Blackwell, & Jerrold L. Balant. 2013. Baltimore, MD: The John’s Hopkins University Press. pp. 181 with index.

Wildlife in Airport Environments. 2013. Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel.
Wildlife in Airport Environments. 2013. Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel.

US Airways Flight 1549, otherwise known as The Miracle on the Hudson, reacquainted most Americans with the threats posed by birds and other wildlife to aircraft. While that flight received great attention, the fact is wildlife threats to aircraft have been existence since flight was first discovered. Wildlife and Airport Environments summarizes the state of knowledge regarding principles for reducing the threats posed by wildlife to aircraft. The text is very technical and takes a modeling approach to the topic. The goal of the authors is to help readers understand the complexities involved in managing wildlife. The authors carefully and repeatedly remind readers that lethal control alone is not sufficient or necessary to resolve every wildlife threat to aircraft. However the authors also tell readers that nonlethal techniques, or what they refer to as indirect methods, cannot resolve every wildlife threat to aircraft either.

The book contains 15 chapters organized into three parts. Part 1: Wildlife Management Techniques, discusses bird and wildlife behavior in the hopes of better understanding how visual repellents can be effective. Tactile, auditory, and chemical repellents are investigated also. The section is rounded out with chapters covering excluding mammals, use of translocation, and population management to reduce aircraft wildlife strikes.
Part 2: Managing Resources, reviews how habitat modification can both reduce and increase wildlife aircraft conflicts. The authors show how balancing environmental and airstrike issues require difficult choices, where the best choice often is the lesser of two evils. Part 3: Wildlife Monitoring, investigates rationale and methods for determining animal numbers and threats so that data is scientifically rigorous enough to withstand legal analysis. Monitoring also is critical to show officials whether management techniques are working and to identify new threats.

The book is very technical and its modeling approach is quite different than most wildlife control operators would be familiar with. The chapters are often descriptive and discussion-based rather than prescriptive. Readers will be exposed to a wide range of terms and concepts in biology and wildlife management that, while not immediately useful for their businesses, can help guide decisions as well as understanding scientific literature. The book is most suited for researchers and instructors looking to engage the literature or educate students regarding the complexities of management of wildlife in highly critical situations, such as airports.

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.

Wildlife Calendar

Wildlife Calendar

A Canada goose (Branta canadensis). Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel.
A Canada goose (Branta canadensis). Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel.

One of the challenges of wildlife control work is that it is tied to the seasons. Human-animal conflicts increase when animals seek mates, dens, and struggle to raise young. Since work in wildlife control varies by season, it is essential that wildlife control operators (WCOs) know the life-cycles of animals in their area.

Develop Your Own Wildlife Calendar

You can create your own wildlife calendar in two ways. First, contact your state’s division of wildlife or game agency and speak to biologists in charge of the species you handle. Ask them when the species hibernate (if it does), mate, raise young, and when young disperse to seek their own territories. The second way is to record your own observations.

To help make sense of all the data, I suggest using a table with 12 rows (plus one for the headings) and 3 columns.  Label the three columns of row 1 as Month, First 2 weeks and Second 2 weeks. Label the rest of the rows in column 1 according to the 12 months of the year. Setting this up in Microsoft Word will allow the table to grow as you put more information in it.

Benefits of the calendar

Use the calendar to plan your potential revenue stream as well as your advertising. The calendar also may help you prepare your truck for species that become active during the coming months.

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.

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