Management options for prairie dogs


Of all the wildlife what we are blessed to have in this area none are more destructive and problematic than prairie dogs. We all know the potential hazards and risk they cause, ranging from spreading diseases to the damage caused by their digging. In the past few years it’s been easy to notice the population of prairie dogs has increase dramatically, and as a result we’ve began to see their colonies spread. Often encroaching ever closer to where people live causing more and more problems and concerns. Controlling these nuisance animals can be difficult to say the least.

There are many options for prairie dog control available to use. The best method, or methods, for control depends on a lot of factors ranging from the site location, the amount of time and labor that can be afforded to the project, even time of the year and weather conditions to name a few. The most effective methods available to us involve the use of pesticides.

When pesticides are applied correctly they are a safe tool that poses little harm to humans and other animals. In open areas away from houses, like vacant lots and farm fields, several pesticides are available which offer the quickest and economical control of prairie dogs. However to protect people’s health and safety while still allowing for their use, federal and state laws are in place to control the sale, application and even the storage of this types of pesticides.

In Colorado, pesticide applicators must become licensed by the State Department of Agriculture. For people wanting to control prairie dogs on their own land, especially agricultural fields and unused lands, a private pesticide applicator license is needed. To get the license you must pass a written exam. It is an easy process that can be done in two different ways. You can request the study materials and test, and then return the completed exam to the Colorado Department of Agriculture or the test can be taken online. The cost is $20.00 for the testing materials and the license fee is $75. The total cost is $95 and the license is valid for three years. Completing the requirements to attain the license is fairly simple and does not require a lot of time. This licensing process gives instructions on how to correctly and safely apply pesticides. Getting the license then allows you to legally purchase and apply restricted use products.

Even though pesticides are a good tool, they may not always be the best option. Although caution is always warranted, special caution should be used around houses. In areas where people live in close proximity to each other safe and effective methods are limited. We can’t use the same method on every area, and every site must be evaluated case by case. We encourage those with agricultural lands to obtain a Private Pesticide Applicators license to assist with prairie dog control, especially with the outlook for continued dry weather ahead of us.

To learn more about different type of prairie dog control, or want more information about how to get a Private Pesticide Applicator License please contact the SUIT Agriculture Division. Also the Agriculture Division is offering smoke bomb devices for purchase to the tribal membership for control of prairie dogs in areas close to homes and people. As always we are available to answer your questions and help with information about prairie dog control. Please come by the Agriculture Division offices or give us a call at 563-0220.




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