Problem Wildlife

The only long-term sustainable solution to wildlife conflicts around the home or on the farm is to exclude wildlife, either by directly inhibiting their access, or changing the environment in a way that makes it no longer attractive or hospitable. If exclusion is not a viable option, or attempts to exclude wildlife through changes in the environment or direct barriers like fences were unsuccessful, the next step in the process may be to try a repellent. Repellents are either scare devices, like moving objects or loud noises, or chemicals that cause a non-lethal undesirable taste. Many commercial products are available for repelling wildlife with mixed effectiveness. 

If exclusion and repelling techniques do not work, lethal control, through trapping or pesticides may be a viable option. However, many wildlife species, including almost all birds, game animals, and threatened or endangered species, are protected during different times of the year, so be sure to check with your local Conservation Officer or work with a certified wildlife control operator to resolve your issues.  


Common Questions and Issues

Wildlife conflict decision tree

Not sure what to do with your problem wildlife? Use this wildlife conflict decision tree to set the right course of action.
Link to graphic for diagnosing holes in the yard.

Do you have something digging holes around your home or farm? Use this key to help diagnose common holes and tracks left by animals and learn about addressing common burrowing animal problems with this article.

Garden scene

Do you have vertebrate pests in the garden? Learn more about addressing herbivore conflicts with this article.

Damage to a corn field

Are you a row crop farmer with wildlife damage issues? Learn more about common cropland pests with this article.

Wildlife Damage Management Articles

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Bats

Iowa's bats provide extremely valuable insect control but unfortunately they get a bad reputation for showing up in people's homes. Learn more about Iowa's bats and how you can keep them outside where they can be appreciated.

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Mice

The dreaded mouse in the house! Check out this article to find out ways to prevent mice from entering your home and how to remove them if they have already invaded. 

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Moles

Although moles can wreak havoc in your yard with their raised tunnels and mounds, they also consume white grubs that are known for ruining lawns as well. Learn more about moles and how to control them in this article.

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Nuisance Birds

European starlings, house sparrows, and feral pigeons can all bring problems to the farm and yard. Limiting their access to areas where they are unwanted is the first line of defense but there are other control options as well.

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Pocket Gophers

These little rodents can damage plants and create unsightly dirt mounds in your lawn. Learn how to differentiate between gopher and mole activity in your yard and how to remove nuisance gophers where necessary.

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Rabbits

Rabbits devour garden vegetables and flowering plants, bite off twigs on shrubs and saplings, and even gnaw off bark from full grown trees. Learn more about rabbits in Iowa and what you can do to prevent damage to your plants.  

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Raccoons

Raccoons are extremely adaptable and are well suited to living in close proximity to humans. There are multiple ways you can prevent raccoons from taking up residence on your property and causing problems. 

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Skunks

For most, the smell of a skunk is extremely off-putting, and is especially bothersome when present near the home, or worse, on a pet! Click here to learn more about skunks and what you can do about them and their pungent odor.

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Snakes

Although snakes are important for controlling nuisance rodent populations, most people don't want them in or around their home. Luckily there are multiple ways to deter snakes from hanging out near the house and prevent up-close interactions with them. 

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Voles

If you find a network of dead grass forming runways on your lawn in the spring you likely had a lot of vole activity in your yard over the winter. Check out this article to learn more about voles and how you can manage them. 

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White-tailed Deer

Although deer provide recreational opportunities that have a positive impact on Iowa's economy, they are also well known for the damage they can cause. The key strategies for managing damage caused by deer are population control and exclusion. 

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Wild Turkeys

Despite being eliminated in Iowa by over hunting and habitat reduction in the early 1900s, these large birds are now quite common in the state where woodland habitat is available. Wild turkeys generally don't cause problems in crop fields. Learn more in this article. 

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Woodpeckers

Woodpeckers are often exciting visitors at bird feeders but they can be a great annoyance when they take up drumming on the wood siding of a house. In this article you can learn more about woodpecker behavior and how to prevent them from causing damage.  

 


Additional Resources

  • The Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management is a comprehensive website developed at the University of Nebraska to serve as a central, national clearinghouse of information on wildlife conflict resolution throughout the country. Answers to many questions about identifying damage or abating issues can be easily found on the site. 
  • The Living With Wildlife website developed by the University of Illinois Wildlife Extension program is an excellent resource for dealing with wildlife damage issues we share with our neighbor to the the east.