Wildlife Damage Control/Expert Profile

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Stephen M. Vantassel


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I can assist the public in responding to all kinds of wildlife related problems in the United States and Canada, including birds, mice, rats, skunks, raccoons, beavers, opossums, voles, moles, chipmunks, woodchucks, pocket gophers, and more. Please note that I specialize in vertebrates only, (animals with a backbone). While learning about insects, other experts should be consulted with insect questions. My passion is wildlife damage identification, for if you don't know what animal is causing the problem, you can't begin to resolve it responsibly. My latest book is the Wildlife Damage Inspection Handbook 3rd edition (2012). It is available at my site http://wildlifecontrolconsultant.com or by visiting my various vendors. (A simple internet search on the book's title will bring you to them).

Experience in the area

I was a full time animal damage controller for over 5 years and a part-time animal damage controller for over 10. I have been a volunteer for AllExperts.com for over 5 years under the Pest Control Category, when they graciously created a new category that better suited my experience (I don't answer bug questions). I was a licensed animal controller in both Massachusetts, Connecticut and Nebraska. I presently run the Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, http://icwdm.org and http://wildlifecontrolconsultant.com.


National Wildlife Control Operators Association, Community Integrated Pest Management group at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


I have published multiple books, including The Wildlife Removal Handbook rev. ed. and the Wildlife Damage Inspection Handbook 3rd ed. Additionally, I have written dozens of articles which have appeared in Wildlife Control Technology Magazine, Fur-Fish & Game, The Trapper, The Fur Taker, The Probe, and others. I have co-authored wildlife related publications for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension program and was responsible for revising the handbook designed for the Pest Controllers looking to obtain their category 14 license.


I was a trapper education instructor for the state of Massachusetts, and have attended a variety of conferences and trainings, including but not limited to Vertebrate Pest Conference, Wildlife Damage Management Conference, National Wildlife Control Association national conference, Wildlife Control Technology Conference. I have not only attended these meetings but have also been privileged to have been a speaker. I have received the National Wildlife Control Operators Association Educator of the Year Award in 2008 and 2012.

Awards and Honors

Certified Wildlife Control Operator (2001), Academy Certified Professional (2008), Master NWCOA Instructor (2012)

Past/Present Clients

I have helped thousands of people around the U. S. through my work at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Wildlife Control Consultant. Specific tasks include: Ghost writing, Research, Expert Witness, Writing Training Manuals, Public speaking at Conferences, Workshops, and Trainings

What do you like about this subject?

Wildlife damage control is a fascinating field because animals are always adapting to human activity. The textbooks continue to be rewritten and expanded to account for the variety of behaviors we are observing in wildlife populations impacted by human behavior.

What do you still hope to achieve/learn in this field?

To find better ways to educate the public about responsible and effective wildlife damage control. There is so much mythology in this field, that it is very difficult to get the truth out. I hope to some day be on national television educating people on how they can employ simple steps to reduce conflicts with wildlife.

Something interesting about this subject that others may not know:

There is no magic in animal damage control. People are constantly searching for some chemical, spray, audible or visual repellent that will make all their wildlife problems go away. But these have been dead end roads despite the millions of dollars spent in research on them.

Something controversial or provocative about this subject

People constantly say wildlife have become a problem because we took away their homes. It is more complicated than that. Most problem wildlife actually thrive in human impacted environments. The fact is, we haven't taken away their homes, we have actually given them homes. For example, we have more raccoons today than when Columbus discovered the New World. Another myth--relocation is humane.

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    K = Knowledgeability    C = Clarity of Response    P = Politeness
Nick02/21/17101010I was afraid of that...thanks Steve .....
Nitin Sharma08/29/161010 
Kathy09/04/15101010Thank you very much for your prompt .....
Anika05/27/14101010Thanks for the help! I will contact .....
Dan05/01/13101010Very quick and thorough response.

Recent Answers from Stephen M. Vantassel

2017-03-26 crop theft:

You have given precious little information. Where do you look be, what time of day did the damage occur? Over how many days? What kind and height of fence?   I would think if deer was the problem you would

2017-03-18 animal culprit eating our garden:

Glad you aren't putting poison out because you should never put poison out unless you know what the culprit is. Using a pesticide randomly would be illegal and somewhat perilous.     Without more information

2016-11-08 Mice problem- Please Help!:

I would suggest reading my publication on mouse control available here http://agr.mt.gov/Programs/Pesticides/VertebratePest/Bulletins/  Stop using glue boards. Snap traps are more effective and more humane

2016-08-28 Crop damage by wild animals:

Cost is relative to the value of the crop and goals of the farmer. Electric fence is certainly cheaper than lock-tite or chain link. It can also be used to stop animals from climbing trees. Understand

2016-08-28 Crop damage by wild animals:

Tough question. But why isn't electric fencing an option?   Dogs in the USA used to protect as well as principles for their use can be found here http://www.sheepusa.org/IssuesPrograms_Programs_LivestockProtectionDogs


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