Control of Hawks and Owls

Scientific Name Hawks and owls and their control

Great Horned Owl

Eastern Screech-Owl

Red-tailed Hawk

Swainson's Hawk

Ferruginous Hawk

Northern Harrier


Hawks--active by day

Owls--active by night

SignRaptor skull

A bird Skull
Description: Easily contrasted with mammal skulls by the presence of a beak.
Photo Credits: Dallas Virchow

Signs deep puncture wounds from talons in poultry, small livestock; some hawks may leave white-streaked droppings at kill or feeding site. Hawks and owls regurgitate pellets of undigested bones, hair and fur. Fresh pellets usually have iridescent sheen.

Small Prey and Their Wounds Birds of prey usually kill only one poultry per day. Bloody puncture wounds occur in the back or breast. Owls may remove the head. Poultry is usually plucked, leaving piles of feathers. Small amounts of tissue clinging to plucked feathers may indicate raptor activity.


  • Damage eat and pluck poultry and game fowl and their young.

Control Methods

Habitat Modification

  • Place young livestock confinement or training;
  • Remove or use deterrents at perch sites;
  • Change Place poulty in pens, especially at night. Outdoor poultry pens should have a double layer of overhead netting about 6 inches apart. Avoid placing poultry pens within 100 yards of perch sites.

Frightening Devices

  • Scare crows
  • Shotgun fire, shellcrackers, pyrotechnics, 


None registered


  • Permits required.
  • Swedish goshawk pen trap, spring-net traps, hoop net traps, German "butterfly trap" or bal-chatri leg noose trap. Sliding padded pole traps using No. 1 1/2 foothold where legal.


  • Shooting with shotgun. A US Fish and Wildlife Service permit is required.


None available



Legal Issues

  • Hawks and owls are protected by Federal law. A permit is required to perform lethal control.

Living With Owls and Hawks


Publications & Resources



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