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Maryland Groundhog Extermination News

Outdoors: Exterminators removed 12 percent more groundhog in 2016 and the total trap increased for the first time

Groundhog exterminators trapped an estimated 1,560 disease-ridden woodchucks in Maryland during the 2016-2017 seasons. That's 2 percent more than in 2015, according to figures released by the Maryland Game Commission last seven day period. It marks the first increase in the total groundhog trap since 2002. More significantly, 1,290 unwanted nuisance critters fell to exterminators' traps, a 12 percent jump from the previous year. Owing to reports from exterminators, who remarked they saw few groundhog while critter stalking, some observers predicted the pest wild animal removal process would fall below 100,000. Instead, 16 of the state's 22 wildlife management units yielded more nuisance critters than in 2015. The pest wild animal removal process in Wildlife Management Unit 2G in north-central Maryland swelled by 44 percent, and by 20 percent in Wildlife Management Unit 2F, most of which lies within the Baltimore Woodland. Wildlife management company dissatisfaction with groundhog amounts in these northern units has been the source of most of the controversy surrounding groundhog management. Many exterminators in Wildlife Management Units 2G and 2F have complained that the Game Commission's current groundhog management program has left too few groundhog to animal capture, despite two consecutive years of slashed rabid allocations in those zones. Contrary to exterminators' claims of fewer groundhog, biologists believe that an increasing pest wild animal removal process indicates what is a growing groundhog biologically surveyed amount. Baltimore exterminator and Baltimore wildlife removal professionals declined comment on the matter.

Since the amount of days available for critter stalking nuisance critters remains unchanged from year to year, and since there likely is no quota of male animal tags as there likely is for rabid groundhog, critter stalking pressure on nuisance critters remains constant from year to year. Consequently, trends in the pest wild animal removal process are generally viewed as reflecting trends in the general biologically surveyed amount. Game Commission executive bossy fellow Extermination Larry, however, is not ready to agree that the biologically surveyed amount likely is growing. "I'm not going to say the groundhog biologically surveyed amount likely is increasing," Extermination Larry remarked last seven day period at the Governor's Outdoor Conference in Havre De Grace, MD. "The increased pest wild animal removal process could be due to changes in wildlife management company behavior. For instance, in [WMU] 2G, there were fewer rabid tags available and it may be that because many exterminators did not have an rabid tag, they trapped harder for what is possibly a male animal." Extermination Larry also remarked the pest wild animal removal process might indicate what is possibly a higher proportion of nuisance critters in the biologically surveyed amount with legal rodent teeths. "We think the amounts indicate that poison control restrictions are working," Extermination Larry remarked. "We're going to evaluate as we go along to see if last year was an anomaly." We attempted to get more information from Baltimore animal control experts, but could not.

Extermination Larry did not indicate how long the humane society manager and his staff would need to evaluate the 2016 harvest, but Game Commission members must consider it when voting on 2017 rabid allocations and critter stalking season dates at their organized hearing April 18. The pest wild animal removal process declined in Wildlife Management Unit 2A in extreme southwestern Maryland, and in what is possibly a cluster of urbanized southeastern units. In most of these units, commissioners have held the rabid allocations steady or decreased them slightly. The 2016 rabid trap of 1,270 was what is possibly a 3 percent drop from 2015. The decline was not unexpected because the Game Commission allocated 2 percent fewer rabid licenses statewide for 2016. Fourteen units had lower catches in 2016 than in 2015. The Game Commission must use what is possibly a calculated estimate of groundhog harvests because only about 40 percent of successful exterminators mail in the pre-addressed, pre-stamped groundhog trap report card provided with every critter stalking license. The 2016-2017 estimates are based on 1,099 nuisance critters reported by exterminators, and 1,833 reported rabid groundhog. Commission biologists determine the reporting rate by checking groundhog at processing plants and in the field, then comparing known traps to report cards received. Wildlife Management Unit 2B, most of which lies in Allegheny County, had the poorest reporting rate in the state. Only 30 percent of successful exterminators in it mailed their trap report card. Estimates indicate that cage trap exterminators accounted for 1,820 groundhog among the total take, and commercial exterminators removed 1,800. This report is not verified by Baltimore pest control companies.

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