De-varmint your yard

Lecture to address preventing wildlife damage

Useful information

Best deer and elk repellants:

• Hot Sauce Animal Repellant (6.2 percent)

• Deer Away (same as Big Game Repellant)

• 100 percent coyote urine

Some plants deer usually do not eat:

• Rocky Mountain Maple

• Fernbush

• Fragrant Sumac

• Lilacs

• English ivy

Park's research can be found at: http://www.coopex...>

— Moffat County residents putting hard work into gardens and well-groomed yards may notice their elbow grease offset by the intrusion of deer and varmints.

The Northwest Colorado Gardening Club met Wednesday night at the Craig Colorado State University Extension Office to discuss that problem. Club member Cathy Park gave a detailed presentation on repelling everything from deer to mice.

"We try to get the wisdom from local gardeners to share their know-how with other people," Park said.

Deer were referred to as possibly the most common problem in and out of Craig city limits. Their adaptability makes them especially troublesome, Park said.

"I had this three-strand electric wire fence around my driveway," she said. "I watched them, and they stood there and could hear it (the sound from the electricity buzzing on and off). They listened for the pulses, and then when it went off they ran right through it into my yard."

Deer show no fear around loud noises, either, audience member Ralph Henderson said. He's a member at the Bears Ears Sportsman Club by Shadow Mountain, where deer calmly traipse around the shooting range all the time, he said.

Park researched preventative measures on the Internet, and found some ways to deter deer, but cautioned wild animals respond differently all the time, depending on environmental and herd factors.

Plants kept closer to a home are less likely to be grazed, said Elisa Shackleton, club member and Craig CSU extension director. If deer graze heavily in certain areas, homeowners might consider xeriscaping.

Park presented a list of 95 plants and trees deer commonly will not eat, though if food is scarce they'll eat just about anything. There also are different kinds of natural and store-bought repellants, including Deer Away and coyote urine.

A conventional deer-proof fence is 8 feet tall and made of woven wire. Park's research recommended baiting one-wire electric fences with peanut butter to distract the deer from the garden.

Although attendees said skunks were uncommon, all had experienced them at some point, a specifically tough problem, considering the danger in handling the animal.

Park's research recommended shooting skunks as the humane solution.

It is illegal in Colorado to use toxicants or fumigants to control skunks, and it is also illegal to relocate them because of their high rabies incidence.

Craig Animal Control will not collect skunks, Park said.

There are three varmint removal services in the valley that do: Valley Varmints, 276-3430; Chris Jurney, 824-5505; and Jim Weber, 824-6825.

Cleaning trash and lumber piles is a good way to prevent skunks from denning, Park said. Either sealing foundation openings or generously spreading naphthalene mothballs or ammonia-soaked rags underneath houses are effective, as well.

Naphthalene are carcinogenic, however, and should not be left under houses for an extended time period.

Collin Smith can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 209, or cesmith@craigdailypress.com

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