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Controlling Crafty Critters    by Dan Hershey order for
Controlling Crafty Critters
by Dan Hershey
Order:  USA  Can
Voyageur Press, 2002 (2002)

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* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

The book's subtitle is 'Pro Secrets to Stop Sneaky Squirrels and Other Nuisance Wildlife in Their Tracks'. Dan Hershey is a Nuisance Wildlife Control Officer which makes him an authority to my way of thinking. Crafty Critters covers most any animal that the homeowner would rather not share his home with. From Bats to Muskrats to Skunks to Woodpeckers and everything in between, this handy guide suggests solutions to rid your property of unwanted critters.

There is no single method to control every beast. First and foremost, the problem must be identified. The author makes it easy to read signs of an unwelcome invader; from its odor, tracks, marks, sounds, where it lives, and how it attacks or kills other animals. Hershey discusses whether to solve the problem yourself or to hire a contractor. There are a number of nonlethal deterrents and repellents suggested as well as lethal solutions. Recognizing common animal diseases is important both to you and your domestic animals and a section is devoted to this.

This handy softcover offers plans and designs for traps, chimney caps, and bait stations. Hershey also gives detailed instructions for a garbage can trap for raccoons. They usually sidestep commercial traps, sometimes from experience with one. But a garbage can is an enticement to a coon. Catch his attention and you've got him. I liked the suggestion that if you have grubs in late spring or summer in your lawn, getting rid of them will also see the end of skunks digging up your lawn to get at their favorite food.

I never would have thought to hang a mousetrap as a surefire way to eliminate these little pests. When the rat or mouse lifts its head to investigate, the trap gets them right at the neck. The use of mesh stockings filled with human hair in the garden to repel deer appealed to me. And if your dog tangles with a skunk and comes home smelling more odiferous than when it left, instead of reaching for the tomato juice or vinegar, use the solution Hershey recommends. Controlling Crafty Critters should be in everyone's personal library. It shall definitely be in mine.

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