Nuisance Wildlife and Damage Management
Wildlife management is often thought of in terms of protecting, enhancing, and nurturing wildlife populations and the habitat needed for their well-being. However, many species at one time or another require management actions to reduce conflicts with people or with other wildlife species. Examples include a biologist trapping an abundant predator or competing species to enhance survival of an endangered species, a farmer excluding deer from an agronomic field that provides a livelihood, or removal of pigeons from a downtown building.
Wildlife damage control is an increasingly important part of the wildlife management profession because of expanding human populations and intensified land-use practices. Along with the growing need to reduce wildlife-people conflicts, public attitudes and environmental regulations are restricting use of some of the traditional tools of control such as toxicants and traps. Agencies and individuals carrying out control programs are being more carefully scrutinized to ensure that their actions are justified, environmentally safe, and in the public interest. Wildlife damage control must be based on sound economic, ecological, and sociological principles and carries out as positive, necessary components of overall wildlife management programs.
Wildlife damage control programs can be thought of as having four parts:
- Problem definition
- Ecology of the problem species
- Control methods application
- Evaluation of control
We must first understand what species is causing the problem, how many are involved, and the amount of loss. We must understand the life history, biology, and behavior of the species. We need to know what control methods are available, including exclusion methods (such as fencing), frightening devices, toxicants, repellents, and harvest. All of these are not options for every species. Generally, combinations of control methods are more effective than use of only one method. This can be termed integrated wildlife damage management.
Mississippi is blessed with abundant wildlife populations, but with these blessings come some problems as well. With a deer population approaching 2 million animals, crops are increasingly being damaged, deer-vehicle collisions are increasing, and even newly established forest are being impacted. Beavers destruction of timber and impoundment levees, fish eating birds impacting the catfish industry, and urban wildlife damage are all on the increase are just a few of the species issues being addressed.
For information about solving problems with wildlife, please see the Prevention and Control of Wildlife Damage Handbook.
Two of the biggest current threats to wildlife in our state are wild hogs and chronic wasting disease.
The current wild hog problem and confirmation of a CWD-positive deer this year in Issaquena County are examples of how the selfish actions of a very small segment of the hunting population can set off a negative chain of reactions that reach beyond the initial impact to wildlife species.
ABERDEEN, Miss. -- Peanut growers are experiencing a mixed bag of conditions across the southeastern United States in general and Mississippi in particular.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Late winter is the peak time for trapping wild hogs, and the door or gate is a vitally important component in the construction of any enclosure.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Wild hogs are a tremendous problem for farmers and landowners throughout the state of Mississippi.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- In recent years, wild pigs have been a controversial topic in wildlife and agricultural discussions from top government officials to local farmers talking over the fence.
Wild pigs are considered nuisance animals in Mississippi because of their ability to create widespread and devastating damage. Many researchers and wildlife managers have suggested that wild pigs could be North America’s most threatening invasive mammal species in terms of agricultural damage, disease transmission, native plant survival and water quality.
Trevor Garrett stays busy. He divides his days between farming soybeans with his father, Johnnie Ferrell Garrett, and working as a research associate at Mississippi State University's Pontotoc Ridge–Flatwoods Branch Experiment Station.