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Vertebrate Pest

Vertebrate Pest Program


The Montana Department of Agriculture's Vertebrate Pest Program provides the agricultural community and the general public with information on the management and control of many vertebrate species. These are animals that sometimes cause damage to agricultural crops, yards, and gardens. Department specialists are available to provide information and demonstrations of management techniques.


Bulletins: For information about specific vertebrate pests and how to use various types of application equipment and products, see the bulletins link at the left.


Miscellaneous Resource Materials: Information on minor or occasional vertebrate pests including birds, marmots, porcupines, snakes, and other wildlife species is not available for general distribution presently, but materials are supplied on request in response to specific problems.


In Person Programs: Requests for presentations to groups are encouraged. The program format is usually in the form of slides and display of vertebrate pest control materials. Programs can be individualized to address problems and questions of local concern. Individuals requesting programs are encouraged to suggest topic areas of greatest interest to the people likely to attend.


Field Demonstrations: In field, hands-on field demonstrations of rodent control methods need to be scheduled during optimum control periods for each rodent species. Ground squirrels - spring to early summer; pocket gophers - spring, early summer, and fall; and prairie dogs - late summer to early fall.


Depending on the specialist's schedule, some programs and demonstrations can be arranged on short notice. For best results, requests should be made at least 3-4 weeks in advance. To conserve travel and time, it is helpful if counties in an area coordinate training to make effective use of the specialist's time.


Specific Training for Applicator Licensing:

  • M-44 (Sodium Cyanide) - Coyote Control


Special Problems: Specialists are available to assist or advise counties or individuals on a variety of special or unusual vertebrate pest problems. Please feel free to ask. If it is beyond our ability or responsibility we can usually direct you to the best assistance available.


Department Technical Reports: A list of technical reports (field studies) and copies of individual reports are available on request.


Informational DVDs are available for free from the department and MSU County Extension Offices

The dvd's contain the following videos, which can be selected individually.

  • Managing Columbian Ground Squirrels in Montana - 1995 (22 minutes)
  • Managing Pocket Gophers in Montana - 1994 (15 minutes)
  • Managing Prairie Dogs in Montana - 1992 (23 minutes)
  • Managing Richardson Ground Squirrels in Montana - 1995 (22 minutes)
  • Pocket Gopher Control in the Yard and Garden - 1994 (13 minutes)
  • Pocket Gopher Control Using Mechanical Burrow Builders - 1994 (13 minutes)
  • Rodent Damage in Agriculture - 1987 (12 minutes)



Stephen M. Vantassel

Vertebrate Pest Specialist
Montana Department of Agriculture
625 NE Main St., Suite 3

Lewistown, MT 59457
Phone: (406) 538-3004
E-mail: SVantassel@mt.gov




Linda Johns
Pesticide Licensing, Registration, and Training

Program Manager

Montana Department of Agriculture
302 N Roberts
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 444-3676
E-mail: ljohns@mt.gov


Published: August 25, 2016 2:00:00 PM MDT.
Last Modified: August 25, 2016 2:55:17 PM MDT