Pesky Paws offers safe and humane ways to control wildlife

Courtesy Photo An opossum in a trap in March 2019 according to the Pesky Paws Facebook page.

ALPENA — Pesky Paws, a wildlife control company in Alpena, can handle any small wildlife including pigeons, bats, skunks, and a lot more.

“I tell people all the time I deal with everything from bats to beavers, moles and voles, and everything in between,” Duane Haske, owner of Pesky Paws, said.

Haske said he got into wildlife control in the mid to late 80s, but the current name of the company didn’t come around until 1993. He started running his business full time in 2003. He goes most places in Northeast Michigan, stretching from Mackinaw City, to Standish, to I-75.

“And the name I was going underneath, there was a copyright on part of the name so I had to change the name and came up with Pesky Paws and that was back in 1993,” Haske said. “We moved in here in 1993. I have been doing it on and off between 93 and 2003. I got hurt in the National Guard and they booted me out on a medical. And I thought, well, there’s no time but the present to get my business up and full force. So I started doing it full time in 2003.”

Many rules and regulations come with running a wildlife control company. Companies have to be licensed through the DNR and get permits if they are doing wildlife control for profit. Haske said one of the rules is that a company’s name, address, phone number, or permit number have to be on every trap or device for capturing animals.

Courtesy Photo A crawl space clean out and dig fence installation in Nov. 2018 according to the Pesky Paws Facebook page.

Haske said many people try to capture animals by themselves by setting traps in their gardens or teaching the younger generation to live trap animals. This sometimes leads to unintended capturing of animals where a person trying to catch a squirrel may end up capturing a raccoon or another type of animal.

“If you’re willing to set that trap for whatever animal and you get an untargeted animal you should be aware enough to deal with that,” Haske said. “If you don’t, you should call a professional right away. It’s like any other trade.”

Haske compared it to a mechanic where a person tried to fix their car by themselves before going to a professional.

Haske said he is in touch with local vets just in case an animal is injured when they find it. One time he said he dealt with a snowy owl someone had shot.

“So I went out, I caught it (the snowy owl) seen blood on the breast feathers and on what they call the wrist of the bird,” Haske said. “So I contacted the DNR because it was a bird of prey, federally protected, So I called the DNR right away and said, ‘Hey I’m in possession of this snow owl, it appears it has been shot. I’m taking it to the vet.'”

Courtesy Photo All geared up for an attic clean out in Sept. 2019

The DNR agreed and Haske took it to the vet, where X-rays determined the bird had been shot. He said he’s never dealt with a bird of prey in the home but he has dealt with five or six birds of prey.

Haske said he advertises live traps, transports, and release alive if possible but sometimes it’s just not possible. He said even if he has to put the animal down, it’s done humanely and he follows all rules and regulations regarding burial or disposal of the animal.

To release animals, Haske said, he has to find a farmer or someone who gives written permission to release animals. Someone can’t release them on state land because they don’t have permission to do so.

“Because the homeowner has already tried to use a live trap, has educated that animal, and now it’s harder for me to do my job,” Haske said. “So I gotta think of a different way or use a different product that the animal is not aware of. But typically it’s live trap. The only thing I cannot release is a skunk.”

Courtesy Photo ‘Six little stinkers’ found in July 2019 according to the Pesky Paws Facebook page.

Courtesy Photo A chimney cap in June 2019.

Courtesy Photo A squirrel trying to bite through a glove in Sept. 2018 according to the Pesky Paws Facebook page.


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