By Matt Montague
Lansing’s John Hatfield is “NWCOA Bat Standard Certified.”
And that’s important when you have a bat in your house.
But bats are just the beginning for Hatfield. He can also help when there’s a woodchuck in the crawl space, a squirrel in the attic, a beaver damming the creek, a skunk in the barn, or a goose in the yard.
He will come to your house, remove the problem animal, and fix the problem that led to the animal.
Hatfield officially started Wildlife Resolutions in 2014, but he’s been preparing for his career for about 15 years.
“I went to college for wildlife management,” Hatfield said. He has an associate’s degree in Fisheries and Wildlife and a bachelor’s of technology in Wildlife Management, both from SUNY Cobleskill.
“I worked in wildlife services for the US Department of Agriculture for eight years,” Hatfield said. “Mostly that was trapping and hand-vaccinating raccoons for rabies. There’s a trick to it – raccoons look cute but they are not a friendly animal.”
“I had grown as far as I could at the USDA, so I took a job at Cornell for three years in the animal health diagnostic lab.”
Meantime, his phone was ringing more and more with friends and family looking for someone who knew how to handle a problem animal, and who were referring their friends and family to him.
He was licensed by the state as a Nuisance Wildlife Control Officer in 2013 and opened his doors a year later.
“There are not a lot of people who do this kind of work,” he said. “And the ones that do don’t have a very strong reputation. So, I built my business model around my skills. Getting the animal out takes care of the immediate problem but I am thinking of the long-term fix from the get-go.”
“First, I don’t go into a crawl space to wrangle with the animal.”
A squirrel in the attic is a common call for John. He will install a one-way door so the animal can get out but not back in. Then, he will address the underlying problem – a hole in the soffit, in many cases.
“I don’t want to draw a crowd. I don’t even want your neighbors to know I am at your house. I just want to help you resolve your problem in a professional manner.”
Hatfield handles bees, wasps, bats, squirrels, pigeons, starlings, geese, woodchucks, raccoons, and the occasional fox or skunk on his own. For larger animals – such as a deer or a bear – he turns to the local game wardens to get a permit and assistance if needed.
“There was a deer in a building at Cornell and, logistically, it was difficult. There were lots of components. I had to get approval from Conservation Officer Eisenberg, we had Cornell police there to control a crowd that kept growing. Because it was in a building, we couldn’t use lethal control.”
“I get emergency calls and you never know what you’re going to run into,” Hatfield said. “Most of the time, it’s a bat or a raccoon but you can only prepare so much.”
The business keeps growing. He now has two trucks, two employees, and a Facebook page full of information about wildlife issues like rabies, bats learning to fly, and gangs of juvenile skunks roaming the countryside.
Music in the Park on Aug. 9
This week’s act will be “Small Town Shade.” Known for their energetic performances in the opening slot for some of country music’s hottest acts, they were nominated for a Syracuse Area Music Award for People’s Choice 2016. They have achieved radio success with their single “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop” and earned two Josie Show Award nominations for 2016 Song of The Year and Best New Group.
Mega Moos ice cream truck will return to welcome MoMo’s Traveling Café and the new Salt Point Brewery Company to the park. The music begins at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free but donations are greatly appreciated.
R.C. Buckley Bookmobile
The “Bobcat Bookmobile” will be distributing free summer reading material on Aug. 9 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in Myers Park, Aug. 13 from 10 to 11 a.m. at The Rink, and Aug. 27 from 1 to 3 p.m. at The Rink.
The Lansing Food Pantry will be open Aug. 13 from 10 to 11 a.m. at The Rink, 1767 East Shore Drive. Please direct questions to Nancy Myers at 592-4685
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