How to Kill a Prairie Dog - What is the best way? Gun, Poison, Trap
History of prairie dog control
You can kill prairie dogs by shooting them with a gun. You can kill them with lethal traps, which can be hard to set correctly. You can try poison, but there is no legal or effective poison, so I would not attempt it. The prairie flats of the Midwest are the perfect home for a little critter called the Prairie Dog. Prairie dogs range in size from one pound to four pounds, with either white or black tails. Prairie dogs burrow holes into the ground and are always found living next to each other. They love to have neighbors and prairie dog towns can extend for miles. This can become a problem for humans if a prairie dog town overlaps with agricultural or other used land because their big numbers wear and tear on the plants and vegetation needed for livestock feed or harvested for crop.
In the 1900s, large prairie dog towns were seen as hindrance but perhaps too dramatic of measures were taken. A potent toxicant was sprayed throughout prairie dog towns and 98% of the treated areas were killed, taking a perhaps overpopulated species and making it extremely endangered. Predators that hunted for prairie dogs in the wild, such as ferrets, began to die because of lack of food source. Since the 1970s, prairie dogs were able to make a population comeback and live in healthy numbers.
Repellent has been a traditional way of subverting prairie dogs from your land. Repellents should only be used of prairie dog towns—evidenced by burrows and holes—are coming near your property and threatening your vegetation and soil quality.
Coyote urine should be applied first. Coyotes are a predator of prairie dogs and they have naturally learned to steer of these larger four-legged friends. You can purchase coyote urine from local harvesters. Put two ounces of the urine near the mounds and burrows when they first appear. The prairie dogs will immediately smell the urine and feel threatened by this area. They will be afraid to search for food further and most likely retreat in another direction. They know if they come head on with a coyote they will likely lose the battle. Continue applying urine along the lines of your property, as scent fence and the prairie dogs should stay out. It is also possible to place urine in plastic protective repellent guards so the sun and rain to not dissipate the urine.
Ropel liquid is another kind of prairie dog repellent. This substance tastes terrible and if you place directly onto plants prairie dogs have been eating, they will not chew on it anymore. Using this treatment once or twice a month will keep prairie dogs away from specific plants or objects they have become attached to.
If food is hard to come by for priaire dogs in your region, repellent may not keep all of them away. Some also may become very territorial of your land if they have managed to be sneakinily living there for some time. This is the time to begin using traps.
Traps can be purchased or constructed. A well working trap consists of a small metal mesh cage. A rear door slides up to release the animal and the front door will close upon the animal once it has taken the bait. They are best used placed near holes or mounds with food to tempt the prairie dogs into the cage. Whatever they have been eating from your yard is a great thing to place in the traps. Grasses work best.
If bait does not work, another type of trap can be set directly over the prairie dog hole. As they look for a way out of the cage, they will trip the back door shut. Springs and coils also work well if concealed right outside the hole. They will step on the trap, not seeing it, and their legs will be caught.
Once you catch prairie dogs, relocate them far away from your property (and if you’re nice, not close to anybody else’s). Look for places human do not live, with lots of grasses so they can feed and not wander back onto your property looking for food.
How to Kill a Prairie Dog
Many people become impatient with these critters. Though trap-to-kill traps are not the best way to deal with the problem, it is possible of they are threatening your life or in another extreme circumstance. They are extremely cruel and will not get rid of your problem completely.
Bodygrip traps are placed over the dens and the prairie dogs fall continually into the grip and are eventually crushed lifeless.
Other methods of killing prairie dogs include shooting them with a rifle or a shot gun.
However, it is a better idea to capture and relocate the animal, or have a professional do it, instead of actually harming or killing them.
Go back to the main Prairie Dog Removal
page for more information.