By Sandra Serra Bradshaw
There is nothing quite as upsetting as to find unwanted “guests” in our home or cottage. A lot of these newcomers we may see entering our homes have been hibernating through the long, cold northern Michigan winter. Now, re-awakening, they are eager to find comfy beds and free food. Enter Trapper Ron Baker, an amicable man, yet as professional and capable as can be when it comes to helping rid our residences of these critters. He has more than 20 years of wildlife control experience, and – if asked – may share some true stories and real hands-on advice for handling these invaders. This includes everything from mice, squirrels, skunks, ground hogs, raccoons, birds, bees, muskrats, coyote, and opossum.
The fact is, while you are away from your cottage over the winter, or even living the year ’round, these animals may set up home, delighting in all the free space they’ve encountered. “We have developed a rodent control program where we set up bait stations around a customer’s home or building and replenish the baits on a quarterly basis, or more often if deemed necessary,” explained Trapper Ron. So even while away, you can be assured that he is on the watch, providing critter monitoring with due diligence. “We recently had a neighbor who would fit the profile of the perfect rodent removal candidate. They only spend several weeks each winter in their northern Michigan cottage, usually without any rodent issues. That all changed on this occasion,” he said.
“The day after arriving, she needed to go to the market for supplies. As normal, she exited her house through the garage. Once in the garage she located a pair of boots neatly lined up on a mud mat next to the stairs that led to the entryway door.” Can you imagine what happened next, he asked me. “She slowly slipped her right foot into a boot, but something did not feel right. She pushed a little harder and her toes felt something soft and warm; something was pushing back against her toes. She suddenly realized that something was alive in her boot and she began a frantic kicking motion with her right foot. She tried desperately to kick the boot off with no success. She used her left foot and pushed on the heel of her right boot, just enough to loosen it, and then she started kicking again. The boot suddenly flew off her foot and slammed against the metal garage door. As a mouse slowly climbed out of the boot, my future traumatized customer screamed all the way to her bedroom.” The moral of his story is that when you take care of a mouse problem for a customer, you not only have a happy customer, you have a new advocate for your business and a new friend for life.
Over the years, Trapper Ron has seen people react differently to these critter encounters. “Some may pay no attention, and some may get a little nervous,” he explained. “It seems men do take it more in stride than women though. Some women scream and run at the sight of a mouse, some people are traumatized to the point that they become hysterical or irrational,” said the trapper. As for the lady who found the mouse in her boot, that trauma sparked in her a new keen sense of what is in her home’s environment. “She noticed mouse droppings everywhere she looked including in her bed. She also noticed that wood shavings had accumulated in neat piles around the perimeter of the main floor and basement. This was more than she could handle, and that is why she called me,” he said.
Local radio celebrity and WTCM’s announcer Vic McCarty recently shared his experience with Trapper Ron. “I’ve known Trapper Ron for many years. I got to know him, of course, because I needed to get rid of a pesky mole or two. The best part of the story is, after he got done putting in some traps, I texted him and said I wanted to see a body when I get home,” he laughed. But then McCarty added, “I’m a bit crazy when it comes to my lawn and there are few things worse than having your lawn ripped up by moles… and sure enough when I got home, there was a “mole body” left for me which made my day. Trapper Ron is a great guy…. very knowledgeable and he has a lot of great stories to share if you ask.”
“Rodents, like rats and mice, are associated with a number of health risks,” explained Trapper Ron. “In fact, rats and mice are known to spread more than thirty-five diseases.” That is a sobering fact, and according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), these diseases can be spread to humans directly through handling of live or dead rodents, contact with their feces, urine, or saliva, as well as rodent bites. Indirectly, they can be spread to both you – and your beloved pets – through fleas, ticks, or mites that have fed on an infected rodent.
“Rodent droppings can trigger allergies and transmit food borne illness such as salmonella,” he said. They can stealthily climb on your kitchen counter and leave these unwanted germs behind. Even more, mice are capable of dropping up to 25,000 fecal pellets each year, an estimated 70 times each and every day. Prevention and prompt removal in case of a rodent infestation is key, and sometimes a call to Trapper Ron is a must.
Trapper Ron not only provides rodent and mouse control for homeowners, but he also traps relocates nuisance wildlife.Calls that have come in to ask for his helping hand include topics like “a raccoon is in the attic”; “noises” in the attic or garage; “moles are destroying the lawn”; “porcupines are eating the house:; and eeks! “mouse droppings are in the kitchen drawer”; and smelling a skunk in your home or yard. When he comes to your property, he performs an initial inspection which includes not only your living areas but also the attic, basement or crawl spaces, and any additional areas he deems necessary. If treatment is found necessary, areas not accessible to pets or people are treated with rodenticide in “throw packs,” for living areas, including basements, cupboards, garages, laundry rooms. Outside your home, he uses tamper-proof bait stations, which according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), are required for the consumer to protect children and pets from contact with the agent used to euthanize the pest.
Once you call for help, Trapper Ron comes out quickly. He covers all of Leelanau County, a bit of northern Benzie County, as well as the Interlochen, Grawn and Kingsley areas. His expertise includes raccoon, opossum, porcupine, relocation; rodent, skunk, mole and vole removal; beaver, fox, muskrat and squirrel trapping and removal, and the quite difficult task of trapping coyotes. He was even kind enough to help a lady over the phone that had called him from Florida. Once he was called by someone in California who offered to fly him out—at their expense—or his services. He refused, knowing that he has enough to take care of right here at home.
Trapper Ron also specializes in ways to prevent deer, rabbits, geese, and even snakes from encroaching on your home sanctuary. His most important advice is to remember that: “In any program, first we must remove the critters INSIDE your home, and then prevent them from gaining access from the exterior of your home.” Not following this line of thinking he says, “is a waste of your time and money.”
Contact Trapper Ron at 248-939-0314