Hazing and Harassment as a Wildlife Management Technique
Hazing ( harassment) is a process where you disturb the animal’s sense of security so much that it decides to move on. Through hazing, you are trying to convince an animal to leave its home or food source. 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.
To be effective, harrassment must be:
- concentrated, and
- caustic – extremely bothersome or annoying to the animal.
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 starting any hazing or harassment of wildlife. Hazing should not be used during the nesting season.
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.
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 a large city. You get used to the traffic noise.
The harassment technique must be bothersome to the animal. The greater the discomfort to the animal, the faster you’ll see results.
Warning: when you harass an animal, you never can be sure where it will decide to take up residence next. It is possible that a raccoon leaving a chimney will decide to enter t he attic. Re-enforcing the animal-free portions of the property is highly recommended before starting a harassment program.
One Wildlife Control Operator’s Experience
Read the story from a professional NWCO on his harassment work:
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 or 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!!!!
This is the least effective method of all harassment techniques for most animals. In buildings, shining lights into attics, etc. just makes the animal move into the corners or down the walls where it is dark. Mylar tape may be effective against birds such as woodpeckers, while shiny lights such as lasers can be effective geese.
Some people have problems with wildlife living in dark areas under 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 these structures.
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. Unfortunately, this technique won’t work on woodchucks, as they will build dens in the open.
For any audible techniques, consider how neighbors may be affected. Play a radio, LOUD, 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. This technique works on squirrels and raccoon. Distress calls can be effective for birds. Propane cannons can offer short term benefits in reducing wildlife damage to crops.
Pyrotechnics are audible (noisemaking) and visual frightening devices shot from a pistol launcher or shotgun. They are very effective in frightening birds and other animals from undesirable locations. Shell crackers, rope firecrackers, and whistle bombs are typical pyrotechnics available. Permits may be needed, as well as permission from the neighbors. Due to safety considerations, these may best be handled by a professional.
To use pyrotechnics safely:
- Carry a fire extinguisher.
- Wear ear and eye protection.
- Do not fire in areas that may catch fire.
- Do not fire towards people or buildings.
- Check the barrel after each round and clean as needed.
- Soak duds completely in water before discarding.
- Follow operating and cleaning instructions for the equipment.
- Store pyrotechnics in a humidity- and temperature-controlled locked safe or cabinet, away from live ammunition.
Guard animals like llamas and dogs can provide protection especially for flocks, herds, and fields.