Prairie Dog Management: Burrowing Rodent Control works to serve cattle producers
Nick Mantle and his wife Kayla reside outside of Wheatland. Having been residents of Platte County for over 30 years, the couple has found a way to serve the agriculture community in a variety of ways.
On their ranch the Mantles offer hay for sale, horse training, boarding and sales through their business Mantle’s Happy Hay and Stay. In addition, they also run and operate Burrowing Rodent Control, a prairie dog eradication company established in 2020.
Throughout Nick’s career in agriculture, he saw a need to serve cattle producers in relation to prairie dog infestation.
“I was looking for another resource and to be albe to not train as many wild horses all the time,” says Nick. “I heard about this exhaust machine from my uncle years ago and actually looked into building my own, but I ended up ordering my first machine.”
What drew Nick to this machine was how easy it was to use.
“The machine produces pressurized carbon monoxide that goes down into the hole. I know it had to be more effective than some of the other processes used in terms of weed and pest control,” he explains. “I did a little bit of research on the effectiveness of different management options, and I found with this machine, I was able to eradicate 100 percent of the species. I knew I had an effective tool for management.”
In addition to prairie dogs, Burrowing Rodent Control can also assist producers with gophers, voles, moles and rats.
“We can eradicate pretty much anything burrowing underneath the ground,” he says. “I knew I had a product I could also sell with confidence, knowing it was very effective and produced better results than traditional pest control.”
Nick shares he’s been looking into making his machine accessible to other producers who may need to utilize this service.
“Working with this machine is a really easy process,” he says. “It’s 100 percent non-residual toxification – there is no toxicity transfer between animals, and there is no fire or explosion.”
Areas served and benefits
Burrowing Rodent Control looks to serve producers throughout the state of Wyoming and surrounding areas.
Traditionally, a prairie dog will eradicate all of the growing grass in the area in which it lives. Nick notes, over time, prairie dogs will build up their mounds so they can see predators coming.
“Prairie dogs can really impact grazing ground producers are counting on to feed their livestock through the winter, spring and summer,” he explains. “Once there’s a large outbreak of prairie dogs in one area, producers can lose a lot of their grazing ground within a few years. It can be completely bare dirt.”
In addition to impacting grazing, he notes prairie dogs can also carry the plague and infectious diseases.
“An average prairie dog can eat up to two tons of hay per year – it can be really bad,” he explains.
Nick also mentions gophers can be a big problem in alfalfa fields.
“Working livestock in these invasive species environment not only adds a danger to the livestock, but it can also be difficult to work horseback,” he says. “It also creates a good environment for rattlesnakes. I think prairie dog populations do provide food for predators, but they are a rodent and can be very destructive to a landowner.”
He notes he stays pretty busy during summer months and can spend up to a month working on a project.
Raising a family and horses
The couple stays busy running their ranching operation, several different businesses and their three children. In addition to running Burrowing Rodent Control, the Mantles also offer horse boarding, dry camping, overnight stays and the use of their outdoor riding arena.
Kyah is six years old and is in first grade, Charly is five years old and is in Kindergarten, and their youngest Holt, is nine months old.
“The kids are good about coming out and helping with the horses and doing chores – picking up twine and helping with the pigs, collecting eggs and feeding animals,” says Nick. “It’s nice to be able to have them around, especially in the winter when we get several horse boarders in.”
The Mantles stay busy with a hand in several different projects within the agriculture industry and strive to protect trees, bushes, yards, farm equipment, expensive electronics and more with their Burrowing Rodent Control business.
For more information, visit Burrowing Rodent Control on Facebook.
Brittany Gunn is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.