Scott Hygnstrom answering questions related to wildlife damage. Photo by Stephen Vantassel.

Scott E. Hygnstrom, Ph.D.

Professor and Extension Specialist-Wildlife Damage Management
University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point

Areas of Interest

Wildlife damage management, wildlife diseases, wildlife/agricultural interactions, human dimensions in wildlife. Ecology of ungulates, rodents, and predators.


Ph.D.   Wildlife Ecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison (1988)
M.S.    Natural Resources-Wildlife, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (1983)
B.S.     Biology, Conservation, University of Wisconsin-River Falls (1980)

Professional Experience

2014- Present Professor, University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point

2000-2014    Professor, School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

1999         Visiting Scientist, National Wildlife Research Center, USDA-APHIS-Wildlife Services

1994-2000   Associate Professor, School of Natural Resource Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

1988-1994       Assistant Professor, Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Wildlife, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

1987                Staff Lecturer, Department of Biology, University of Wisconsin-River Falls

1983-1986       Wildlife Damage Program Coordinator, University of Wisconsin-Extension

Honors and Awards

Professional Development Certificate, The Wildlife Society   (2003)

Professor of the Month (January), UNL Mortar Board, The Black Masque Chapter (2003)

Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experiences Awards, UNL (2002, 2003)

Charles E. Bessey Award, UNL Center for Great Plains Studies, (2002)

Educational Publication Award, Soil and Water Conservation Society (2001)

Team Programming Awards, Nebraska Chapter of Epsilon Sigma Phi (2000, 1999, 1996)    

Distinguished Service Award, Nebraska Cooperative Extension Assoc-Specialists Section (1999)

Early Career Award, Epsilon Sigma Phi (1997)

Certificates of Excellence, American Society of Agronomy (1997, 1995)

Communication Award, Berryman Institute for Wildlife Damage Management (1996)

Excellence in Team Programming Awards, UN Cooperative Extension (1996 (2), 1994, 1991)

Educational Aids Award, American Society of Horticultural Science (1995)

Outstanding New Specialist Award, Nebraska Coop Extension Assoc-Specialists Section (1994)

Award of Merit, Council for the Advancement of Science Education (1993)

Professional Development Award, The Wildlife Society (1992)

Team Effort Award, UN Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources (1991)

Certified Wildlife Biologist, The Wildlife Society (1990)

Teaching (last five years)

NRES 348                   Wildlife Damage Management

NRES 448/848            Advanced Topics in Wildlife Damage Management

NRES 496                   Independent Study

NRES 497                   Career Experiences in Natural Resources Management

Masters and Doctoral Students Advised

Jason M. Gilsdorf, MS, Natural Resource Sciences, 2002 Effectiveness of Frightening Devices for Reducing Deer Damage in Cornfields.

Michael A. Cover, MS, Natural Resource Sciences, 2000 Ecology of Elk in Northwestern Nebraska: Seasonal Distribution, Characteristics of Wintering Sites, and Herd Health.

Bruce A. Stillings, MS, Natural Resource Sciences, 1999 Ecology of Elk in Northwestern Nebraska: Demographics, Effects of Human Disturbance, and Characteristics of Calving Habitat.


R. Daniel Crank, MS, Natural Resource Sciences, 1998 Landowner and Tourist Attitudes Toward Elk Management in the Pine Ridge Region of Northwestern Nebraska.


Jeff J. Mach, MS, Natural Resource Sciences, 1998 Warfarin--A Forgotten Rodenticide: Primary and Secondary Effects of a Warfarin Bait for Black-tailed Prairie Dogs.


Kurt C. VerCauteren, PhD, Natural Resource Sciences, 1998 Dispersal, Home Range Fidelity, and Vulnerability of White-tailed Deer in the Missouri River Valley.

Extension (last five years)

Goal--Provide current, cost-effective, research-based information to people dealing with wildlife damage problems. 

Specific activities included:

  • distribution and revision of “Prevention and Control of Wildlife Damage;”
  • development of the “Internet Center for Wildlife Damage;”
  • presented 37 workshops; produced 110 extension publications, and
  • made 180 presentations.
  • Secured $273,000 through 5 extension grants. Combined, our efforts influenced management on at least 170,000 acres and saved $430 million in 2002.

Teaching (last five years)

Goal--Maintain and expand a nationally-recognized educational program in wildlife damage management at UNL. 

Generated over 600 student credit hours and helped 20 students secure permanent positions in wildlife damage management. 

Research (last five years)

Goal--Conduct research/demonstration projects to examine the environmental factors associated with human-wildlife conflicts and their potential solutions. Published 12 peer-reviewed papers and presented research results at 17 conferences.  Secured $677,000 through 7 research grants.

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