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CONTROLLING NUISANCE WILDLIFE

Throughout the Brazos River basin, wildlife can become pesky pests creating a wide variety of problems and hassles for homeowners. Here are some tips on how to avoid having wildlife become a nuisance and deter existing pest problems.

Feral Hogs

These hogs can and do cause extensive damage throughout Texas. Feral hogs became feral or wild when domestic hogs were given free range to feed and breed. The fast-producing animal can create havoc on crops, livestock and wildlife.

The best method to control the feral hog population is to prevent its increase. However, the following methods may also be considered:

  • Modify habitat by building fences; a combination of wire and electric are most successful,
  • Snares or cage traps allow feral hogs to be trapped for food or removal from the population.

The Texas Animal Health Commission has more information on restrictions or potential relocations.

Deer

Like feral hogs, the use of fencing around your property can be helpful in handling nuisance deer. Although fencing would do a suitable job at keeping deer away from your prized plants and crops, it can be expensive for large areas.

Try these preventive measures in your garden to prevent deer from becoming a nuisance in your area:

  • Avoid planting high-value crops near wooded areas, shrub rows and other places where deer congregate and bed down.
  • Consider planting ornamentals that deer avoid eating. A few examples of these are lilac, jasmine, holly, persimmon, and pepper tree.
  • Try home remedy repellants such as hanging nylon stockings containing human hair clippings or hanging mirrors and tin foil.
  • Promote deer hunting during regulated seasons in areas where they are most prevalent.
  • If you enjoy watching the deer wander through your area, don’t be tempted to leave food for them. If regularly fed, wildlife will lose their natural instinct to forage and will become dependent on you.

As always, population reduction and management is a popular way to control the number of deer in your area.

Nutria

These large semi-aquatic animals are many times mistaken for beaver within the Brazos basin. Like beaver, nutria have the ability to swim underwater and are agile on land. The distinguishing characteristic between the two is the nutria’s lack of the beaver’s trademark wide flat tail. Nutria is in fact a large form of rodent and sport a tail similar to a rat.

Originally native to South America, Nutria were brought to North America in the 1930s as part of the fur trade. Voracious herbivores, the animals have caused a great deal of damage to the natural aquatic vegetation, irrigation systems and river banks of the southern portion of the United States.

Nutria consumes about three pounds of vegetation each night. If their foraging isn’t successful, your lake or river-side landscaping will appear to be an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Commercially produced rodent poison has proven effective with nutria. However, if poisoning is chosen as an elimination or reduction method, it is important to destroy the remains in order to prevent the accidental poisoning of other wildlife that might feed.

Beaver

Beaver, also a semi-aquatic species of rodent, is mainly nocturnal and can be difficult to control once they’ve chosen a home. Simply destroying their dam or lodge will not drive them out of the area. In fact, destroying their lodges will find that the “busy” beaver will usually rebuild their destroyed home within a day.

Fencing areas can help prevent beavers from moving in; however, it is essential that the fencing is constructed out of proper materials or the fence may end up becoming great construction materials for the beaver.

Trapping tends to be the most effective and practical control method. Placing the traps underwater at strategic locations such as lodge entrances would increase your chances of catching beaver.

Wildlife regulations will very by county throughout Texas. Before taking any actions for trapping or elimination please contact your local game warden. For additional information on nuisance wildlife, contact the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department at http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/huntwild/