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Landowners and homeowners should be able to tolerate some wildlife damage, but they should also take proactive steps to prevent problems, said Robert Pierce, University of Missouri Extension fisheries and wildlife specialist.

“There are no panaceas or magic bullets,” he said. Measures should be part of an integrated pest management system using a variety of techniques.

For measures to succeed, it is important to correctly identify the species causing the problem, understand their behavior and evaluate the damage, said the expert.

“While keeping in mind the positive value of wildlife, consider a variety of solutions and choose the one that is most effective, cost-efficient and humane,” states a University of Missouri Extension release.

Some ways include:

• Add fencing, put foam over openings in structures or install flashing around trees.

• Remove food, water and cover sources that wildlife use. Remove pet food bowls and clean up brush piles, grass and woodpiles. Close off crawl spaces where rodents can enter to take refuge.

• Use visual scare controls such as plastic owls, hawks or scarecrows. These can work well for preventing bird damage. Create noise and use appropriate taste or odor repellents as short-term solutions. While inexpensive, these methods work best when used with other methods and may cover only a small area for a short time.

• Shooting or hunting. Check regulations and consider safety.

More aggressive methods include traps and labeled toxicants. Pierce said it is important to follow all state and federal regulations before implementing a damage control program.

For more information, the free MU Extension publication “Solving Wildlife Damage Problems in Missouri” is available at extension.missouri.edu/g9425. The publication includes contacts for technical assistance from the Missouri Department of Conservation and USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services.

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