Most of WS’s efforts are conducted on private land, but work is done on some public lands as well (less than 10 percent of federally owned land).
Cost sharing is an integral component of the WS program. Supervised primarily by WS personnel, most field activities are funded in part by Federal, State, or local agencies; industry groups; or individuals requesting wildlife damage-control assistance. When requested, WS provides help through technical assistance and direct control.
Technical assistance involves providing advice, recommendations, information, or materials for use in managing wildlife damage problems and helping threatened and endangered species to thrive. WS employees also help identify the responsible wildlife species and determine the extent of the damage. WS may provide recommendations concerning habitat modification, cultural practices to reduce the likelihood of wildlife damage, behavior modification of the troublesome wildlife species, or ways to reduce specific wildlife populations to control the amount of damage they cause. WS personnel may suggest lethal or nonlethal techniques to resolve wildlife damage problems. Such assistance always takes into account environmental factors and relevant laws and regulations. WS sometimes recommends that regulatory agencies issue permits to allow resource owners to deal with wildlife problems.
Some problems caused by wildlife species are too complex or difficult for any one individual, group, or agency to solve. For example, dealing with thousands of birds roosting in an urban neighborhood is beyond the capabilities of most individuals. Likewise, capturing coyotes, bears, mountain lions, or other large animals that are preying on livestock usually requires specialized equipment and skills. In these instances, WS provides field personnel to help whoever is experiencing the problem. Direct control is usually provided when the resource owner’s efforts, such as habitat modification or husbandry practices, have proven ineffective and technical assistance alone is inadequate. WS staff consider practical methods for resolving wildlife damage problems and take action by implementing the most strategically appropriate measures.