The Woes of Wildlife Control

It never fails. I’ll be hanging from a ladder sealing a house for bats, or chest deep in a beaver flowage working to unclog a plugged culvert before the road washes out, when the phone rings. If I’m able to take the call I will. Conversations generally only last a few minutes and it’s often a good excuse to take a break from the job and get some water and a snack. The majority of our customers and conversations are great, and many problems are solved right over the phone. There are a always a few each year though that don’t seem to go well no matter what. They go something like this:

“Hello, Maine Wildlife Management”, I answer

“Hi. Animal Control gave me your number. Do you handle raccoon’s?” The caller asks

“Well, yes, but what seems to be the issue?”

“I saw a raccoon yesterday walking across the edge of my lawn and I want it gone. You need to get over here and get it!” They respond all excited.

It’s at this point that I go into a long explanation about what an Animal Damage Control (ADC) agent is, and what can be done. You can think of ADC agents as private Wildlife Control. ADC agents are licensed and regulated by Maine’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife(IFW), but are not employed by the state. Wildlife rehabilitators are similarly licensed through IFW, but act as private entities in order to collect funds and keep their lights on. Somewhere in this part of the conversation I get cut off by the caller.

“Your going to charge me!? How much is that going to cost!?” The yelling begins. Yes, actually yelling sometimes.

“Well, I can give you an estimate, but without seeing the property and situation it could vary quite a bit.

Let’s see, your about an hour away. It sounds like you want me try trapping a random raccoon that’s wandering in the yard, but isn’t actually causing any problems other than it’s presence. I’ll probably be there for a week, give or take several days given it’s a nomadic coon, and there’s no guarantee the raccoon will even be around again. This job could likely be pretty expensive. Considering the raccoon isn’t causing any real threat, safety, or damage issue to you or your property, I’d suggest we wait and see if it starts hanging around at the very least before we act.” I respond.

Somewhere in my over the phone assessment the caller will come all unglued. They start yelling about being charged, and that they need someone over there now! I didn’t even get to the conversation where I recommend they clean up their trash cans, and stop feeding the birds in summer. You know, the food sources that could be potentially attracting four legged critters. Some folks just don’t want to hear it, and lose all sense of decency and civility. Thankfully the vast majority of our customers are awesome and great to work with, but there are always a couple calls each year that make me scratch my head. After all, when my truck breaks down, I need it fixed. It’s my problem though. It doesn’t become the mechanics problem, until I hire him.

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