Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for


Date of this Version

December 1983


Rodent damage on the Northern High Plains has caused estimated economic losses of millions of dollars per year. The Columbian ground squirrel (Citellus columbianus) caused $800,000 damage in Montana during 1973, whereas prairie dogs (Cvnomvs ludovicianus) caused a loss of $2 million in South Dakota during 1980. Initial control of prairie dogs in South Dakota would cost approximately $1.2 million dollars and maintenance measures would be needed about every third to fifth year depending on percentage success of the initial control and management practices thereafter. Results of a cost-benefit study in South Dakota indicated that the annual maintenance control rate (equal to repopulation of the site) must be below 10% or prairie dog control will not be economically feasible. Realistic projections of annual prairie dog repopulation rates of 30% ere untolerable. Thus, emphasis on well-planned range management after prairie dog control is extremely important for successful and economically sound rodent management on the Northern High Plains. This can be achieved through proper stocking and distribution of livestock, and appropriate selection and application of rodenticides.