Tips on managing wildlife damage control

Published on Saturday, 8 March 2014 23:25 - Written by Chad Gulley Extension Agent

Wildlife is important to the economy and to the aesthetics and health of our environment. Wildlife does at times cause problems that must be dealt with in a professional manner. Animal damage to Texas resources, such as agriculture, natural resources, property, and human health and safety, cause millions of dollars in losses each year.

Predation is defined as the act of catching prey for food. It is a natural process and is a necessary process for various species of wildlife to catch their food. Often around the farm or home predators may prey on our pets or livestock. Predatory animals can be considered beneficial animals, pests, or both depending on the circumstances.

Resolving conflicts between wildlife and human interests requires wildlife damage management expertise. The Texas Wildlife Services Program provides statewide leadership in the science, education and practice of wildlife management to protect the state’s agricultural, industrial and natural resources, as well as the public’s health, safety and property. Wildlife Services conducts programs of research, technical assistance, and applied management to resolve problems that occur when human activity and wildlife conflict with one another.

An Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach is important as it is not the intent to destroy wildlife but to change the habit of these animals to move them away from the home to protect our pets and livestock.

It is always important to check with the Texas Parks and Wildlife on the legal status of any animal if it becomes necessary to take further action to protect your pets and livestock from these predatory animals.

Many times people leave food out for pets for example our dogs and cats. When the pet does not eat all the food, wildlife may see this as an opportunity to grab a quick, easy meal. Livestock in small pens like our farm chicken coops can be a welcome invitation to some predator species. When livestock are birthing their young, this can increase predatory animals in an area as well. Control measures will vary from trapping to exclusion fencing.

With remote sensing cameras today, we can determine the species causing damage as well as when to set traps to have better success in trapping the animal species.

Traps and other control measures need to be used according to legal guidelines for the animal species. It is also encouraged to visit with neighbors to inform them you have a predator problem and that you may use traps. Informing your neighbors helps to keep their pets or livestock safe.

Wildlife damage management specialists may offer assistance to landowners and homeowners when wildlife causes damage to their property.

These specialists can help with beavers, coyotes, feral hogs, buzzards or other federally protected migratory birds, and more. The specialist can offer assistance as well as provide tips and techniques including assistance with any permits needed to mitigate the wildlife damage.

Wildlife are all around us and we do not even realize their presence in most cases. It is only when they cause damage to our property, pets, or livestock we realize their presence.

In nature, the predator and prey relationship is a natural process. Populations of both predators and prey are important in ecosystem management. Again, check the legal status of any animal species you see necessary to control once they begin causing damage to your property and livestock.

Smith County is in the Fort Worth Region of Texas Wildlife Services and its website can be found at: agrilife.org/txwildlifeser vices/who-to-contact/. Many of these wildlife damage management specialists serve multiple counties and have a large geographic region.

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