Wisconsin has a great variety of wildlife, including birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. Some people might enjoy attracting and observing wildlife, but it definitely has its downside. Squirrels and raccoons can invade your attic and chimney, rabbits can destroy your garden, deer can run into the road in front of cars, and many animals can spread disease.
Once you come to acceptance that we must coexist with wildlife, you can take steps to prevent conflicts whenever possible. It is more difficult to solve wildlife problems once animals have claimed a food source, nest site, or shelter. Good information and the willingness to act will allow you to minimize or avoid most common wildlife problems.
Before you come up with a defense plan, you must identify the species causing the problem. If you use an inappropriate control method, you will waste time and money. To do “wildlife detective work”, you can browse patterns, tracks, hairs, droppings, or examine tooth marks to determine the culprit. Once you have identified the species, do research and learn about the animal’s habitat. Knowing where it hides, when it is active, and what it eats can help you in planning your strategy.
State or federal law protect the vast majority of Wisconsin wildlife, so you must be aware of what you can and cannot do with regard to relocating, harassing, or killing any wild animal. An integrated wildlife damage management approach will be best, because it uses randomness and diversity. Since wildlife are creatures of habit, you can upset an animal’s daily routine to make them less likely to stay in the area. By randomly employing management methods, you can prevent animals from feeling safe on your property. Diversifying your management approach will increase your chance for success in resolving a wildlife damage problem. For example, you could combine a visual scare tactic with a scare tactic using noise. Randomness and diversity reduces the possibility that an animal will habituate the method you’ve chosen to resolve or reduce the damage problem.
One way of controlling or eliminating a wildlife problem is to exclude them, or keep them out. This can be done by installing a fence, chimney cap, plastic mesh net over fruit trees or berry bushes, or a wire or wooden skirt around a deck. This is a much cheaper and easier way to prevent a problem, rather than dealing with trying to eliminate a problem later.
Another way would obviously be to remove the animal from the affected area. Moving live animals around is a complicated and controversial issue, and a professional pest control company should be contacted for assistance. Movement of problem animals may create problems for someone else, could spread disease, and could increase the chance of injury and stress for the captured animal(s).
Scare tactics are a great way that homeowners can frighten the animal away from the site. This can be done by using loud noises, mylar or plastic streamers, owl decoys, propane cannons, “scare-eye” balloons, etc. You can also make the area less attractive by modifying their habitat. This includes mowing long grass used by meadow mice, removing brush piles that harbor rabbits, eliminating nest/roost sites in buildings used by sparrows or pigeons, and more. Finally, changing human behavior can be effective at preventing or eliminating a wildlife problem. Don’t feed wildlife; use wildlife-proof trash cans, and plant gardens that have plants less likely to be damaged by wildlife.
If you are experiencing an infestation you cannot control, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are always happy to help.