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Predator control comes with integrated pest management approach

PAMPA – Lions and tigers and bears, oh my. Area producers and landowners need not worry about these three wild animals, but feral hogs, coyotes and bobcats are predators in need of management, a Texas Cooperative Extension wildlife specialist says.

A Predator Awareness Workshop, hosted by Extension, is scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. June 29 at the Gray County Extension annex at 12125 E. Frederic Ave. in Pampa.

Ken Cearley, Extension wildlife specialist, will start the session by talking about "appreciating predators," as well as interpreting physical evidence of predation. Cearley also will discuss controlling predators while managing wildlife.

The meetings are designed to help people realize when they have a predator problem and when they don't, Cearley said.

"We'll stress the need to use an integrated pest management approach to any predator-related problems that may arise," he said. "That includes identifying their presence, monitoring population trends and choosing from an array of tools to address damage problems that may occur."

Feral hogs are of particular interest because their range is expanding and producers in new areas are requesting information on how to manage them, Cearley said.

"Also, we'll talk about the role of predators in the ecosystem, the positive impacts they have, as well as the negative effects in some situations," Cearley said.

Audience members will preview a DVD on feral hogs and a video on bobcats. Rick Gilliland, Panhandle district supervisor for Extension's Wildlife Services, will address the coyote issue.

In the afternoon session, Wildlife Services personnel will demonstrate control alternatives, including non-lethal approaches, foothold traps and snares, M-44s (a sodium cyanide ejection device) and livestock protection collars, and aerial gunning and calling.

Dr. James Alexander, regional zoonosis veterinarian with the Texas Department of Health, will talk about predators as vectors of disease.

Cearley will wrap up the workshop with a review of the "Code of Ethics" for predator management and show a video entitled "Preventing Illicit Use of Pesticides in Predator Control Programs."

Each participant can earn up to six continuing education units toward their pesticide applicator license re-certification, including three general, one laws and regulations, and two integrated pest management.

To register or for more information, contact Brandon McGinty, Extension agent in Gray County, at (806) 669-8033. RSVPs are needed by June 27 for noon meal arrangements.

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