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Hazing & Harassment as a Wildlife Control Technique

Definition: Hazing (a.ka. harassment) is a process where you disturb the animal's sense of security to such an extent that it decides to leave its den and move on.

General Principles of Harassment

To be effective, harassment must be

  • continuous,
  • concentrated, and
  • caustic.

Always remember that you are trying to convince an animal to leave its home. In this regard, it is different from frightening devices that are often used to stop animals from feeding or roosting. In short, you must become the animal's worst neighbor. You must convince the animal that you are more bothersome than the possibility of starvation or homelessness.

Legal Warning about hazing and harassment

Legal Warning

Many species, such as migratory birds, are federally protected. Hazing of these species may violate federal law. ALWAYS check federal, state, and local laws BEFORE initiating any hazing or harassment of wildlife. Hazing should not be used during the nesting season.

I. Continuous Harassment

You must harass the animal on a daily basis for as long as necessary. Don't be surprised if this activity goes on for weeks.

II. Concentrated Harassment

Your efforts must focus on the animal causing the problem. For example if you are using noise it must be centered at where the animal is living. Failure to concentrate the harassment technique simply makes the animal get used to the problem because the problem will be everywhere. It's like living in N.Y. City. You get used to the traffic noise.

III. Caustic Harassment

The harassment technique must be bothersome to the animal. The greater the discomfort to the animal the faster the technique will develop results. Warning: when you harass an animal there are no guarantees where it will decide to take up residence next. It is not out of the question that a raccoon, upon leaving your chimney will decide to enter your attic.

Strengthening your the animal-free portions of your property is highly recommended before starting a harassment program.

Search the site to learn more about animal damage prevention. Prevention

CASE STUDY:

Read the information given by a professional NWCO on his harassment work: BE WARNED:

Just a brief summary of some raccoon evictions I have been doing instead of trapping and removing the young from chimneys and attics in a resort town. About two weeks ago, I got a call about raccoons in a chimney. Went out and sure enough there they were. A momma with three kits, one of the kits had a short tail. So I harassed them a little bit and set some traps. Next day momma and kits were gone. Four days later for so I got a call about raccoons in an attic about 6 blocks away.. Guess which raccoons it was..

Sure enough the family with the short tail.

Harassed again and poof they were gone the next day. Three days ago got another call about coons in a chimney.. Guess who again.... One street over and a few blocks down. Today they are gone... Wonder were they will show up next.

Now all these people that believe that they won't continue to be a problem once evicted from one place should rethink. Just thought I would give it a try in this one area to see what happened.. Waiting for the phone to ring again on these raccoons in the next week... If nothing else I suppose one could consider it job security!!!!

Hazing Techniques

Visual

VISUAL SIGHT: This is the least effective method of all harassment techniques for most animals. In buildings, shining lights into attics etc. just make the animal move into the corners or down the walls where it is dark. Sometimes Mylar tape and other shiny lights like lasers can be effective against birds like woodpeckers and geese/birds respectively.

However, under buildings, such as porches and sheds, raising the structure so that daylight can be easily seen underneath, can be an effective way to prevent skunks from living under sheds or porches.

So if you want to prevent skunks from living under porches you can either open them up so that there is plenty of light or you can close them up so that the skunk can't get underneath. (Warning, technique won't work on woodchucks which will build dens in the open.)

Audible

Ultrasound. Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel
Ultrasound has not been shown to be effective in eliminating wildlife from structures. Photo by Stephen M. Vantassel.
AUDIBLE NOISE: Radio, blare it all day long. Preferably with heavy metal music and subwoofers. Don't be surprised if the animal moves to a different part of the attic or dwelling. Be prepared to move the noise to a new location. Technique works on squirrels and raccoon. Distress calls can be effective for birds however. Propane cannons like the one pictured at the right can offer short term benefits in reducing wildlife damage to crops.

ULTRASONICS: generally speaking, most mammals cannot hear in the ultrasonic range (bats are one exception). There is no scientific peer reviewed evidence that ultrasonic devices are effective in preventing or stopping animal damage. Of course ICWDM would welcome the receipt of such proof.  Most animals cannot hear in the ultrasonic range any more than we can. Also the noise doesn't penetrate walls. For information on this subject click Ultrasonics  

Audio-Visual

Combinging light and sound may improve the efficacy of the hazing. 

Tactile

PHYSICAL FLOODING: Can be useful for ground dwelling animals but beware. If the animal has dug near a structure, you could damage the foundation by adding water. Also if the animal is present be prepared for it to run out at you if you stand too close. Just insert hose and walk away and observe from a distance. Don't use this technique for attic or chimney dwelling creatures. You also run the risk that you may drown the animal. Avoid this technique with skunks, unless you are certain you have the den entrance (which is not to be confused with the hole you see going under your steps or porch. Chances are there is a second hole underneath the porch or steps that is their true den entrance.)

There is also something known as the Scarecrow which sprays water when a motion detector goes off.

BARRIER: This method should not be used for building dwelling animals like squirrels or raccoons. If you are looking for information on one-way doors contact us for details. Barrier method consists of back filling the holes of burrowing animals like chipmunks, skunks and woodchucks. I would like to remind you that you must be persistent. You must refill in the hole every day. The idea is that the animal will eventually tire of reopening the den. Don't make your barricade enough to stop them. You just want to block the hole enough so that the animal must expend energy to reopen it.

TEMPERATURE:  This method cannot be used in many situations. However, bats in attics constitute one exception. Bats, in order to raise young, need hot attics. Necessary ambient temperatures range in the 90 degree to 110 degree Fahrenheit range. By installing an attic exhaust fan, you may be able to lower the attic temperature sufficiently enough to require the maternity colony to find another dwelling. Be sure to do this before the young are born (around May/June).

CHEMICAL TACTILE: Most animals don't like anything sticky because it will get into their fur. Some animals like squirrels will go to great lengths to rid sticky products from their bodies. So don't think that this technique is necessarily more humane than lethal control. Smear thick molasses or other kinds of syrup around the entrances where the animal enters the den/building. You may need to reapply after rain. Be prepared for gooey dirty footprints on your building. Works on squirrels, raccoon and woodchuck. Be very careful of using this technique on birds. Some of the goo products for birds, will if not applied properly, actually catch birds. It can also create a big mess.

Biological

BIOLOGICAL ANIMALS: Guard animals like llamas and dogs can provide protection especially for flocks, herds and fields.

URINE: There is evidence that animal urine, typically predator urine can reduce damage to property. One study showed that the use of predator urine reduce the amount of damage to cabbage patches by woodchucks. But I should remind you that most urbanites want 100% reduction not a partial reduction in damage. Farmers can sustain some crop losses, but most urbanites will not tolerate any. So don't be surprised if your urine doesn't work the way you want it.

Besides, wildlife quickly become habituated to the smell. If you plan on using urines, remember that they are not necessarily sterile. So don't use them around plants you intend to eat. Instead wearing rubber gloves, add them to a cloth and hang them near the plants but a safe distance away. REMEMBER TO TREAT URINE FOR WHAT IT IS. URINE. IT IS POTENTIALLY BIOLOGICALLY HAZARDOUS TO YOU THE USER. TREAT IT LIKE A BIOLOGICAL DANGER.

SEXUAL: These types of repellents or harassment techniques are quite rare. However, there are two products that has been known to work on female raccoons, "Raccoon Eviction Fluid" and "Vanish." They essentially uses parts of a male raccoon to scare the female to move her young. You see, other than mating season, males and females don't interact. And if a male finds young raccoons, he will eat them. Raccoon Repellent.   How do you know if you have won? You stop hearing the animal in your building. Plug the hole with newspaper and see if remains in place for 3 plus days. Fill the hole with dirt and see if it remains for 3 plus days. Damage to property ceases. Never, Never, Never seal a hole off unless you are certain that the animals have left. Visit our information on the Newspaper technique. Failure to follow these instructions may result in some truly remarkable animal attempts to reenter building. Or worse, the trapped animal may die leaving you with the smell of its demise.

Resources

Preventing Wildlife Damage

Hazing Wildlife

Frightening Devices

Frightening Devices--Best Use

Why Repellents Fail

Mothballs

Ultrasound