Like most other wildlife species, Iowa’s raccoon population is up following last year’s mild winter, but, unfortunately, that translates into more complaints about raccoons getting into everything.

The frustration of homeowners – urban or rural – doing battle with such a clever opponent can give way to declaring all out war by using a poison mixture to attract and kill the mischievous raccoon.

The problem with poison is it doesn’t know who or what to target. It kills everything that ingests it.

“Poison is an indiscriminate killer,” said Vince Evelsizer, furbearer biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. “It can kill pets and other wildlife. And the speed at which the animal dies depends upon the amount of poison ingested so it could be a long, painful, slow death or a relatively quick death.”

Evelsizer said there are a number of alternatives an individual can try to eliminate the problem raccoon.

First is to get rid of the attraction, which is likely food.  If it’s the bird feeder, then move the bird feeder or take it down during the summer.  If they’re into Fido’s food, lock up the pet food or move it inside. Also keep garbage contained in a bin or container.

“There are other options such as live traps or electric fencing that can be put up temporarily, like around a sweet corn patch,” Evelsizer said. A live (cage) trap can be purchased at most hardware stores.

If help is needed though, he said there are other options.

For nuisance wildlife in town, Evelsizer recommends calling a business that specializes in nuisance wildlife control. Look for them online or in the phone book under ‘Pest Control’ or ‘Nuisance Wildlife Control.’

The Iowa DNR has depredation biologists around the state who can offer technical assistance to take care of the problem animal.

“It can be frustrating dealing with problem animals but using poison to solve the problem is not only a bad idea, it’s against the law,” he said.

There are numerous website available that offer more information on prevention and control of wildlife damage. One Evelsizer recommends is

Logo courtesy of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources

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