In truth, most people are amazed by nature and the wildlife that lives in our area. With our hectic world, sometimes we get too busy to just stop and see what is around us, but wildlife can be amazing. In fact, many people will spend a good amount of money on bird feed and supplies, bat boxes and better cameras for example to attract and picture the wildlife in their area.
Every so often, wildlife and human activities will cross paths where the wildlife could be considered a nuisance. Examples could be when wildlife is raiding a vegetable garden or digging up a flower bed, when a critter is eating all the birdseed or when something other than you are harvesting those ripe apples on your fruit trees.
Today, I will sharing information on how to deal with wildlife correctly in these type of situations based on a publication by Dr. Michael Mengak, UGA Assistant Professor- Wildlife Service/Outreach. First, when you think about dealing with a nuisance wildlife situation, you need to think about legality.
For starters, state and federal laws protect nearly all wildlife. These valuable laws give regulation on which species can be harassed, harvested, trapped, hunted or harmed. According to Mengak, these laws can be found on the web site of the state agency responsible for wildlife protection. In Georgia, that is the Wildlife Resources Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources or DNR as known by most.
Note that all native birds are federally protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. With this act, a person cannot pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill or even possess at any time the actual migratory bird, a nest or even an intact egg or shell or even feathers. According to the publication, the best advice is to leave all birds alone.
Please note that citizens can protect their property from wildlife that are causing damage or about to do damage. In most situations you can deal with nuisance wildlife in a manner that would never need lethal control.
Throughout the year, I will give or obtain information on wildlife situations for homeowners. I have directed some to other wildlife service organizations in the area. Also, there are Nuisance Wildlife Control Operators or NWCOs that are licensed by the state and run their own wildlife control businesses. These folks may do everything from catching a skunk underneath a house up to trapping coyotes in a neighborhood.
To solve a problem, you must first now what wild animal you are dealing with. Once you know the critter it may be as simple as habitat modification to stop the issue.
Let’s say you have been seeing a lot of snakes on your property. My guess is that you may have a rodent population that is bringing in the snakes to feed on the mice. Make sure your grass is mowed to proper heights, you are not leaving out food sources for the mice at night and you are removing as many mice hiding places as possible. If you make the area less inviting for the mice, then the snakes will move on too because the mice are gone.
Another option is exclusion which can involve fencing. This can be fairly easy or it can be more time consuming or detailed. For deer raiding a garden, solving the problem could call for a fence that is up to 10 feet in height. For digging animals, it may require you putting a portion of the fencing in the ground. You may have to resort to electric fencing or tapes. Exclusion can also mean putting chimney caps up to keep bats, squirrels and raccoons from getting into chimneys or even sealing holes around pipes and cables to keep mice and bats out of an area.
Removal and use of repellents are other possible options that you can investigate. If you think you may be willing to trap the offending animals, you need to investigate if a permit is required and what you legally can do with the animal if trapped.
According to the publication, it is generally considered illegal to trap and release an animal on someone else’s property. There are tons of repellents on the market that work differently. Some are taste repellents while others work off of odor and fear for example. If you go the repellent route, read the label entirely for proper use and make sure you are using in the proper situation. Some repellents will claim some incredible results and sometimes those claims could be too good to be true. My pest control handbook annually gives options on repellents. For more information, contact Gordon County Extension at 706-629-8685 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.