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Archive for the ‘skunk control’ Category

Chicago Area Experiences Problems as Wildlife Flourishes in Less-Than-Wild Places

Posted by animalcontrol on February 19, 2010

The following Illinois Department of Natural Resources article is from 2004, yet I expect that the situation has not changed very much.  For wildlife removal from your home or property, please call United Wildlife at 1-888-488-1415.

SPRINGFIELD, ILL. — Conservation programs that succeeded in restoring white-tailed deer, Canada geese, beavers, and other animals are facing a new challenge as wildlife flourish in places that are less than wild.

In a survey of homeowners from 10 of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas, 61 percent reported problems with wildlife during the past year. If their experiences are typical, damage in the United States’ largest cities approaches $3.8 billion annually despite an outlay of $1.9 billion to prevent it.

Chicago’s metro area fits this profile. Dr. Craig Miller, a human dimensions specialist formerly with the Illinois Natural History Survey, found as part of a survey he conducted that 58 percent of homeowners in five Northeastern Illinois counties had experienced wildlife problems in the past year. Canada geese, raccoons, squirrels, rabbits, and skunks topped the list of culprits.

Problems serviced by animal control agencies and businesses licensed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources have more than doubled in the past decade according to Bob Bluett, wildlife diversity program manager for the agency. Last year, animal control professionals in the Chicago metro area responded to more than 65,000 service calls and captured more than 60,000 animals.

Raccoons topped the list. “They’re abundant and resourceful when it comes to finding a way into peoples’ homes,” says Bluett.

He estimates that the state’s raccoon population more than doubled between the early 1980s and mid-1990s. Bluett noted, “Hunting and trapping kept them in check when fur coats were popular during the late 1970s. Numbers boomed when the market went bust about a decade later.” Markets in Russia and Asia have picked up some of the slack in recent years, with a corresponding drop of about 25 percent since Illinois’ raccoon population peaked in 1996.

Raccoons are more common in the Chicago metro area than any other part of the state. Landscape changes have helped increase raccoon numbers, because years ago, green spaces, fields and woods separated towns. Trappers and hunters harvested raccoons in those wild in-between spots and kept raccoons in check. “Today, many cities run together. Those in-between wild spaces are strip malls and fast food restaurants,” says Bluett. “It is difficult to hunt and trap raccoons in ways that reduce urban populations.” Also, state laws require them to obtain permission from both landowners and people living nearby before hunting or trapping wildlife. This can be difficult to obtain.

Some trappers have parlayed their skills into lucrative animal removal businesses that operate under a different set of restrictions than their counterparts. “This activity is highly regulated, just like traditional hunting and trapping. The main difference is that we’ve built in accountability to the client and made some adjustments for working in residential areas,” says Bluett.

Studies by Dr. Stan Gehrt, an Ohio State University research biologist, show that suburban raccoons have few worries except dodging traffic. “Food and shelter are so plentiful that many survive bouts with diseases,” says Gehrt.

A study by Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation of suburban Dundee found that few raccoons captured by wildlife control specialists and released in area forest preserves decided to stay there. “Most left within two to three weeks and some were recaptured in nearby homes,” says Bluett. Gehrt’s studies confirm that raccoons raised in forest preserves tend to stay there. Those raised in attics and chimneys seem to prefer residential areas.

State laws were changed in 1999 to limit relocation of raccoons. Bluett noted, “Studies supported our concerns about making one person’s solution another person’s problem. They also suggested transporting animals could help spread diseases that can infect people, pets and other wildlife. Besides that, where do you go with 17,000 raccoons in one of the country’s most urban landscapes?”

Fewer than 10 percent of raccoons captured by wildlife control specialists are released — either on the same property or after being transported to a licensed veterinarian with a permit to rehabilitate wildlife. The rest are killed using methods allowed by state law.

Bluett notes that removing raccoons is not a viable solution unless food sources are eliminated and entry points are sealed to keep others from moving in.

DNR advises homeowners:

  • Do not encourage raccoons by feeding them
  • Keep pet food and watering dishes indoors, especially at night
  • Keep trash containers in your garage until pick-up day. Containers stored outside should be made of metal or durable plastic and kept upright in a frame; secure lids with elastic shock cords available at most hardware stores
  • Use bird feeders equipped with gravity-operated treadles to prevent access by squirrels and raccoons. Do not allow spillage to accumulate. If necessary, switch to niger (thistle), safflower, or other bird foods less attractive to mammals
  • Install commercial chimney caps before animals move in
  • Install hardware cloth (½ x ½-inch mesh) inside attic vent and fan openings
  • Repair broken, weak, or rotted areas on your roof, soffit and fascia
  • Trim tree branches that provide squirrels and raccoons easy access to your roof
  • Before hiring an animal control specialist, verify they have a valid permit issued by DNR

For more information on raccoons or controlling nuisance wildlife in Illinois, contact Illinois DNR at 217-782-6384. Learn more about raccoons by visiting the Fur Hunting and Trapping in Illinois website at dnr.state.il.us/orc/wildlife.

The brochures “Keeping Wildlife Out of Your Home” and “Nuisance Raccoons in Urban Settings” are available from the DNR Clearinghouse at dnr.clearing@illinois.gov.

Information on nuisance wildlife control also is available at the Center for Wildlife Damage Management at http://www.wildlifedamage.unl.edu/. Landowners should check state regulations before proceeding; some methods recommended by the Center for Wildlife Management, while legal in some states, are not legal in Illinois.

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Do it Yourself Skunk Control gone wrong near Denver, Colorado

Posted by animalcontrol on June 4, 2009

We remove dead animals from all kinds of locations.

We remove dead animals from all kinds of locations.

Years ago a female skunk made her home under what is now my parents’ home on a ranch in central Colorado.  The home is an old one and the result of numerous additions over nearly 100 years.  There is not much foundation under the house, so in order to access the pipes under the bathroom a tunnel had been dug to provide access through a very small crawl space.  

This mama skunk determined that the tunnel was a great place for a family and eventually had a litter of babies.  Having now six of these creatures living under the house created a smell that would have to be experienced to be believed.  But, what to do about it? 

My grandfather consulted a neighbor, Roy, who had a surefire, guaranteed solution.  He had the foolish idea to run a hose from the exhaust of the pickup into the tunnel under the bathroom.  He thought it would drive them out where they could be shot.  

(NOTE:  This is a BAD idea, very dangerous and could have killed the people in the house. Please never attempt this foolish technique at your home or your neighbor’s home.) 

The old ranch truck was backed up to the house and the hose positioned.  A shooter was ready and waiting.  The animals never appeared. They died under the house.  Live ones are bad but dead skunks are worse.  The smell of dead skunk made the home truly unlivable.  

My grandfather had to crawl to the very back of the crawl space and haul out all the dead skunks.  Every trip out from under the house he would drop a rotten carcass, vomit and crawl back under. The smell was so severe he became sick and remained weak and ill for a long time afterwards.  

After the whole experience was over and people had time to think about it everyone agreed that we were very lucky to have only dead skunks, and not people.  Too bad my grandfather didn’t know about wildlife control contractors.  Actually, they didn’t even exist then.  This was over 40 years ago and people had to fend for themselves.  We are lucky to have professional help available for nuisance animal problems today.

For Skunk Control or Removal of Dead Animals:  1-888-488-1415

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Friends Don’t Make Friends Smell Skunk

Posted by animalcontrol on April 8, 2009

 

stinky skunk

Long-term skunk smell can ruin a neighborhood. Such wildlife problems can be solved by a professional trapper with experience in handling such animals. Our wildlife control operators can remove the skunk and the smell. Our deodorization process is highly effective, but it works the best when the skunk odor is fresh. For nationwide skunk removal services call: 1-888-488-1415.

When wildlife enters human space, it can create serious conflicts within individuals and between neighbors.  The following article from Colorado Springs is an example of that.  One neighbor starts feeding wildlife, but the wildlife cause problems or potential problems for all people in the area.  In a separate, related article it notes that rabies has become quite serious in skunks in eastern Colorado, and the disease is spreading. 

While I can understand and appreciate the feelings of the woman feeding the animals, she needs to consider the safety of all around her.  She needs to stop feeding strays. The skunks won’t starve.  They will move on.

The neighbors do have an option available that will respect the property rights, if not the feelings, of the woman feeding the skunks. They can hire a professional wildlife control operator.  The animals can be trapped, removed and euthanized without encroaching on the neighbor’s property.  Just as she has the right to feed the animals, the neighborhood has the right to protect themselves, their family and their pets.  

It would be a more peaceful world if people were more considerate of one another.  I hope you have never encountered a situation like this, but if you have, you need to know that help is available.  Wildlife Control Operators respect the law, treat the animals humanely and help to resolve neighborhood disputes. Whether skunks, pigeons or raccoons, if you have a neighborhood problem, get together and give us a call.  We would be glad to help.


Colorado Springs Neighbors Battle Over Skunks 

By Betty Sexton

Originally published by KKTV.com

A small battle is being waged in a Colorado Springs neighborhood. Residents say they’re tired of dealing with a family of skunks, which keeps them from stepping outside their front door without looking both ways.

You’d think that a problem with wild, furry mammals in a residential area could be resolved by the Division of Wildlife, the Humane Ssociety, the Health Department, or even Code Enforcement, but when it comes to skunks, they apparently fall between the cracks.

“The smell gets so bad at night we have to close our windows because we can’t sleep,” said resident Myra Zapata. “I mean the smell is so bad, it makes you sick you know.”

Zapata and her family always peek out the windows before heading outside, especially with their dog. They’re on the lookout for the stinky critters .

They say the woman who lives across the street is allowing a family of 7 to 8 skunks to hang out and spray others, by setting cat food near her front door.

The neighbor said she’s not feeding or housing skunks at all, she’s simply feeding the neighborhood cats which have been abandoned, and this is the only place she can do that.

She said she can’t help that the skunks are eating the cat food. She says she too, is bothered by the skunks’ odor, but doesn’t like the only alternative to removing them: euthanization.

According to a Colorado Division of Wildlife regulation, skunks can’t be relocated. To remove them, they must be euthanized and disposed of, and that policy’s unacceptable to this neighbor.

Since skunks aren’t considered “big game” like deer, elk, or bear, there’s no rule against feeding them, but wildlife officers discourage it.

District Wildlife Manager Sabrina Schnelker says the neighbor could be found liable in court, if a neighbor is bitten by a skunk.

“Our biggest concern with it… is just human health and safety. a lot of kids are in the area, families, pets,” Schnelker said.

The neighbor believes the Division of Wildlife should allow skunks to be relocated instead of euthanized. That’s why she won’t give permission for anyone to set foot on her property if they intend to kill them.

For now, the battle continues.

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