Wildlife Conflicts

There are several species of wildlife native to our area that pose the potential of becoming a nuisance or could create other concerns, such as property, garden, or landscape damage. Among the common species we could encounter in rural and urban settings that may be “uninvited guests” raccoons, rabbits, woodchucks, squirrels, geese, blackbirds, bats, moles, skunks, snakes, and beaver on occasion.

One Wildlife Specialist’s favorite sayings with regard to how we deal with wild critters and our great outdoors was to “fence it or share it”! I realize that sometimes being “neighborly” just isn’t going to be an acceptable option. Among the things you will need to consider are the current permits that may be required or regulations that must be followed as you’re dealing with nature’s furry and feathered friends.

There are numerous tips and recommendations available to help guide you with the direction you might chose to take. Contact us at the District office if you have questions or would like further assistance. You can also check out the “Nuisance Wildlife” web page for species-specific fact sheets or a list of individuals who conduct nuisance trapping services.

Erie Conservation District also has a few live traps that can be loaned out to those wanting to try to trap a nuisance animal on their own before contacting other individuals who specialize in such matters. Keep in mind that even on private property trapping regulations must still be adhered to. For questions or to check on the availability of a live trap, call the District office.

Crop damage from other wildife, birds, squirrels
Field corn damage, deer browse
Orchards – tree browse-rub damage
Raccoon damage to field corn
Soybean damage, deer browse

Deer Damage Control Permits

In situations where deer damage is currently occurring to crops, orchards, vineyards, or nurseries that provide landscape plants, the Ohio Division of Wildlife has developed a program whereby a farmer/landowner/lessee can request assistance on techniques to help deal with the damage.

Typically, a site visit is made by the Conservation District’s Wildlife Specialist and/or the county’s Wildlife Officer to conduct an investigation and evaluation of the reported damage.

Recommendations of ways to minimize the damage are provided to the landowner, which may include fencing or other exclusions, repellant products, and various scare devices. Hunting remains, by far, the most economical and efficient method of reducing the deer population overall and where feasible, is still encouraged. If the Division of Wildlife representative determines that the use of a Deer Damage Control Permit (DDCP) would be warranted, a permit may be issued when and where the damage is occurring. For more information or to discuss the options regarding your situation, contact the Wildlife Specialist at the Erie Conservation District.

To file a complaint and apply for a Deer Damage Permit online, enter the required information in the Wildlife Damage Report or contact our office for further assistance.

Wildlife Habitat Management

When it comes to wildlife habitat, there are many configurations that can be designed and created, depending on the landowner’s perspective and personal objectives. First and foremost, determine the type of wildlife you would like to attract. Is it song birds or upland, game birds? Perhaps you’re looking to put out a “welcome sign” for deer, wild turkey, waterfowl, and other wildlife.

How large of a project are you interested in undertaking? Perhaps you’re looking at more than a “backyard” project, particularly if you have the back forty acres to work with. Once you’ve come to that conclusion and considered several of options available, then you can set out to implement your land management strategy.

Start by evaluating your property. Look at what is presently there, as well as what might be missing. Consider any of the limitations (required permits, special equipment that may be needed, costs, etc.), as well as some of the possible alternatives. Once you have made this integral assessment, then you will be able to proceed with your management plan.

Requirements for any wildlife habitat, regardless of the type, are food, water, shelter (type of cover), and a sufficient amount of space. Of course, all of those things will be determined by the kind of wildlife, furry or feathered, that will not only make their visit, but hang around for a while, as well.

As far as where you can turn to find wildlife habitat ideas, recommendations, and technical assistance, the list is as long as you want it to be or until you find the info you’re after! There are several conservation programs available, like the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, the Wetland Reserve Program, and others that can provide technical and possibly, financial assistance.

Numerous agencies, like the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the ODNR Division of Wildlife, non-profit organizations, such as Pheasants Forever, the National Wild Turkey Federation, and Ducks Unlimited can provided you with tons of resourceful tips. You can also contact the Erie Conservation District office or our area’s ODNR Division of Wildlife, Private Land Biologist, Mark Witt. Like we’ve demonstrated on more than one occasion, it’s been proven that “if you build it, they will come”!

Ohio Hunting: Keeping it Safe and Successful!

Hunting throughout the Buckeye state has remained a heritage that has been passed to the next generation for many years now. One of the ways this tradition has been kept safe and sustainable is due to the Ohio Hunter Education Course. Prior to 1979, completion of a course was voluntary. Today, completion of a hunter education course is required for all first-time hunting license buyers in Ohio as required by the Ohio Revised Code (ORC 1533.10). Hunting accidents are now at an all-time low in every state as a result of hunter education, producing more safety-minded and responsible hunters.

The hunter education course covers topics such as firearms, ammunition, gun handling, archery, hunter responsibilities, outdoor safety, wildlife management and conservation, and other related information. This course is beneficial for everyone, even if hunting is not your goal. Forty-nine states and most of the Canadian Provinces require hunter education, but because of a mutual agreement, Ohio's Hunter Education Course is accepted all across North America. This is important for Ohio residents wishing to hunt out of state.

There are three options for taking the Hunter Education course, Instructor-led, Home Study, or Proficiency Test. Regardless of the hunter education option that is chosen, all students must successfully pass a 100-question test. A passing score of 80 percent is required to receive a Hunter Education certification card.

To learn more about hunting safety or where an Ohio Hunter Education Course is available, visit the ODNR Division of Wildlife website or call at 1-800-WILDLIFE.

It’s not just during the holiday seasons that it’s an opportune time to think about the homeless and the hungry. The Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry (FHFH) enables farmers, hunters, and others to provide nutritious meals to feed the hungry, here in Ohio and nationwide…over 20 million servings since 1997! If you’re not already, consider being a supporter on a regular basis of this commendable effort!