Live and let live

The Skunk Whisperer shares his tips on how to keep pests away.



One of Ned Bruha’s earliest lessons in wildlife respect involved a chipmunk bite to the face. So it’s pretty obvious that his moniker, The Skunk Whisperer, is more symbolic than literal. In fact, rather than getting up close and personal with unwelcome critters in and around Tulsa homes, he prefers to remain hands-off.

Bruha is vice president of The Skunk Whisperer Inc., a Tulsa-based company with a “don’t trap, don’t kill” (except in extreme cases) approach to removing various species of “problem” wildlife from residences and businesses.

Even the most humane trapping can be harmful to animals when they’re relocated to unfamiliar habitats — where other territorial critters may kill them, Bruha explains. In contrast, some of his proven wildlife-management tricks include finding and blocking the trespassers’ main entry and exit points or tweaking certain architectural features that are attractive to them.

“There’s a solution for practically every situation that makes it so we can coexist with wildlife,” Bruha says.

Bruha realized this at age 7 when his father instructed him to get rid of chipmunks that were desecrating gravesites near their Wisconsin home. Armed with a pellet rifle, Bruha quickly learned that shooting or trapping all of the furry offenders was impossible. When his dad showed him how to bury hardware cloth around graves to create a barrier for the chipmunks, it was a lightbulb moment.

Because Tulsans live side-by-side with many species, Bruha notes that we must respect these animals and not keep them as pets to minimize our “human imprint,” which often has a detrimental effect on wildlife, and to avoid personal danger and possible infestation.

“Our angle is not just for the animals’ sake but for humans’ sake, too,” he says.

Wildlife prevention tips from The Skunk Whisperer, Ned Bruha

Does it sound like your attic is the Interstate 44 expressway for wildlife? Squirrels in your attic? Bats in your belfry? Raccoon family in your chimney? Skunk spraying your dog?
It can happen to anyone. Millions of dollars are spent each year repairing wildlife damage. Newly built and old homes are equally susceptible to wildlife entry.

Wildlife wants three things: food, water and shelter.

If we eliminate just one of them, they will typically move on to greener pastures.
A few types of shelter include: decks, leaf debris (rats and mice love leaves — snakes love rats and mice), your building crawl space, your attic, brush piles and thick underbrush.

Spring has sprung and, along with it, nature has generously replenished cute, fuzzy little creatures, which can potentially turn your lives upside down.

We are at the beginning of different wildlife species’ birthing seasons. Start preventative measures now.

Squirrels
This time of year, as in the fall, a majority of squirrels make dreys (squirrel nests) in trees and attics throughout the United States.

While these are amusing, cute, fuzzy creatures to some, they are rats with fuzzy tails to others.

Be aware that squirrels do not know the difference between chewing the bark off of a tree and chewing the insulation off of your electrical wiring.

Preventive measures should be taken immediately to head off thousands of dollars of potential damage.


Raccoons
Raccoons will soon be having their young (called kits and cubs) in chimneys and attics.
These adorable masked bandits can pop your attic roof vent off like a soda bottle cap, dismantle your roof, remove your chimney cap and be under your couch before you can bat an eye.

Along with their adorable young, they bring lice and their feces carry roundworm.

Skunks
Skunks are already raising a stink, and their activity is not even in full swing yet.
If you have one under your house, deck or outbuilding, time is of the essence — they are having their young now.

Once their young (called kittens) are born, evicting them becomes a time-consuming task.
Skunks are deadly accurate up to 15 feet with their essence, and it is the strongest, longest-lasting scent known to man.

This is not a pleasant wildlife fact if this smell penetrates your home.

Bats
Most Big Brown Bats never left Oklahoma, and most Small Brown Bats are returning to their summer roosts.

If they decided to make your building their home, you may need professional assistance.
Once their babies are born in mid- to late May, it will be late August or early September until they can be evicted without inadvertently killing the young and making a smelly mess.

Opossums
Opossums will soon create their own posse and invade garbage cans, crawl spaces and attics.

Their prehensile tails and unique hands and feet allow for acrobatic maneuvers that may bring them to your attic or under your deck.

Although their nocturnal, maternal educational program for their young is amusing to watch, you have the power to ensure that this new posse does not invade your castle.

Snakes
You are enjoying your big back yard when, low and behold, the soil moves. Snake behavior is unpredictable, so treat all snakes as though they are venomous.

What to do
Wildlife management professionals can assist you with evicting unwelcome houseguests of the wildlife type.

You can save time, frustration, headaches, heartaches and a lot of money by doing simple preventive measures yourself by purchasing common items at your local hardware store.

A few tips:

  • Be certain that all garbage can lids are tightly closed, and never lay garbage bags on the ground. Your garbage can is an attractive buffet to wildlife.
     
  • Although disheartening to hear, feeding the birds is an invitation for a wildlife invasion. You cannot possibly comprehend how feeding any wildlife can negatively alter your neighborhood eco system drastically.
     
  • Think hard before you feed the hummingbirds. The sweet, nectar smell not only attracts hummingbirds, bees, and wasps, but also skunks, opossums and raccoons.
     
  • Never feed pets outdoors. If you must, bring food in at night. Do not store cat or dog food outdoors.
     
  • Purchase and install a common dryer vent cover if your dryer vents out of a wall.
     
  • Thousands of dollars are spent each year in Oklahoma alone remedying damage caused by wildlife entry through dryer vents.
     
  • The little floppy doors on your existing dryer vent typically are less than adequate.
     
  • This $10 item (and the 10 minutes required to install it) is less expensive than replacing a dryer with a decomposing squirrel, skunk, raccoon or bird in it.
     
  • Keep your garage door closed.
     
  • Do not leave it open for ventilation or for pets to enter and exit.
     
  • Many homes unintentionally introduce wildlife dilemmas by unknowingly trapping wildlife in their garages. Wildlife may find it to be a suitable home, too.
     
  • Do not over-water your lawn. A lawn that is abundant with mole food (earthworms) may be full of dirt mounds quicker than a drier lawn, in some cases.
     
  • Keep your lawn manicured. Encourage your neighbors to do the same.
     
  • Taller grass will encourage snakes and other vermin to call your property theirs.
     
  • Consider having a wildlife management professional inspect your existing home, or your next home.
     
  • Pre-purchase inspections by a wildlife management professional who understands Integrated Pest Management. It can possibly save you thousands of dollars in future damage.
     
  • Eliminate brush and junk piles. Raccoons, opossums, snakes and skunks love this easy shelter.

Trapping
Before you resort to utilizing your Red Ryder BB gun (you’re going to shoot your eye out!), know that contrary to popular belief, it is illegal to use within the city limits.

Place your traps on the back shelf or donate them to Animal Control because there are very few species in Oklahoma that a homeowner can legally trap on their own.

Trapping is typically a waste of time and money if you still have holes in your building that wildlife can enter.

Wildlife is attracted to certain architectural features, and others will soon return to the scene of the crime, even if you fix their entry point.

Trapping is, at best, a temporary solution because another animal will soon fill the void in that territory and you cannot legally release wildlife in Oklahoma without proper permits.
Mother Nature immediately replenishes territorial attic-and- crawl-space-invading wildlife — but she does not do home repairs.

Put away the mothballs and fox urine, and concentrate your efforts on money-saving preventive maintenance.

 

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February 2019

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More information

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Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
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View map »

More information

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Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
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View map »

More information

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Website »

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Sweets & Cream will be reopening Friday, February 22 at 3PM! Come on by for a $1.99 ice cream cookie sandwich and give a small donation to the Tips for Charity effort to help support our local...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Sweets & Cream
1114 S Yale Avenue
Tulsa, OK  74112
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Sponsor: Sweets & Cream
Telephone: 918-633-3182
Contact Name: Erik Collins
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5:00-6:00 Nature & Madness is the contemplative indie-folk project of Ryan Pickop. Ryan's work is rooted in Americana, rooted in the Earth. Challenging without being confrontational, we are offered...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heirloom Rustic Ales
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: Heirloom Rustic Ales

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Solo performance. Originally from the OKC area, Adrienne Gilley is a vocalist, guitar player, songwriter. Drawing from co-writers and influential mentors and supporters in the Tulsa music scene,...

Cost: Tipping encouraged

Where:
The Colony
2809 S. Harvard
Tulsa, OK  74114
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Sample various whiskey, have dinner and hear some fabulous music! 

Cost: 150.00

Where:
Studio 308
308 S. Lansing Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74120
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Sponsor: Lindsey House
Telephone: 918-933-5222
Contact Name: Diana Denny
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JAKE OWEN Multiple chart-topping singer/songwriter Jake Owen’s new single “Down To The Honkytonk” is rapidly climbing the Billboard Country Airplay charts. With seven #1 songs to...

Cost: $50, $75, $100

Where:
Osage Casino
Tulsa, OK

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Sunday in the Park with George follows painter Georges Seurat in the months leading up to the completion of his most famous painting, "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte." Consumed...

Cost: $25.00 for adults, $22.50 for students & seniors with ID

Where:
Tulsa Performing Arts Center
110 E. 2nd St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: American Theatre Company
Telephone: (918) 747-9494
Contact Name: Meghan Hurley
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Join us for the 59th Annual Book Fair! Saturday, February 23, 2019 8:00 am–3:00 pm Holland Hall Primary School Gym Open to the public. Tickets $1, 18 and under free. No RSVP required,...

Cost: $1

Where:
Holland Hall Primary School
5666 E. 81 St.
Tulsa, OK  74137
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Sponsor: Holland Hall
Telephone: 918-481-1111
Contact Name: Heather Brasel
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The Orbit Initiative, produced by The Tulsa Performing Arts Center and Trust, resumes its FREE community satellite adventures at seven local community centers this Saturday, January 12th, and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Various
Various
Tulsa, OK  Various
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Sponsor: The Tulsa Performing Arts Center and Trust
Telephone: 918-596-7119
Contact Name: Jeremy Stevens
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As Lakota artist Oscar Howe wrote in 1958, “There is much more to Indian art than pretty, stylized pictures.” This exhibition highlights this depth and the 20th century American masters who...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
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Do you and your pup have "cabin fever"? Come out to the Botanic Garden during our "Dog Days of Winter" - Fridays and Saturdays during January and February only when four-legged...

Cost: Free for Garden members & their dogs. Admission + $4 per dog for non-members.

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
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Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson

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Men and women from across the American West played critical roles — both “over there” and on the home front — in helping the Allies win World War I. The American Expeditionary Force (AEF)...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
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Few animals conjure the power and symbolic presence of the North American bison. Whether painted on a tipi or an artist’s canvas, minted on a nickel, or seen grazing in Yellowstone National Park,...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
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The Museum’s Dickinson Research Center is home to more than 700,000 photographs, 44,000 books, and perhaps unexpectedly, at least 1,000 horses. Meet some of the herd in Horseplay, the new...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
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Pain Management Class Non-medical Treatments for Pain Non-medical treatments may be used to treat chronic pain, along with pain medicines. They might also be used alone for mild pain or...

Cost: Free and Open to the Public

Where:
Glenpool Library
730 E. 141st Street
Glenpool, OK  74033
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Sponsor: Success Skills
Telephone: 405-401-3519
Contact Name: Ron Watkins

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34th Chelsea International Fine Art Competition—Opens on February 5th, 2019   Agora Gallery is pleased to invite artists from across the globe to enter the 34th Annual Chelsea...

Cost: $45 entry fee for up to 5 images ($5 for each additional image)

Where:
Agora Gallery
530 W 25th St.
New York, NY  10001
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Sponsor: Agora Gallery
Telephone: +1 212-226-4151
Contact Name: Carolina Carilo
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Winter's Grace Publishing, of northeast Oklahoma, is holding its inaugural Dead of Winter Flash Fiction Contest. It opened January 1 and it closes February 28. It's open to all creative writers...

Cost: $15 per story

Where:
, OK


Sponsor: Winter's Grace Publishing
Telephone: 918-852-6311
Contact Name: C.D. Smart
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Youth members of the six area Boys & Girls Clubs compete for college scholarships in the Annual Youth of the Year competition. The winners are announced at this banquet. Volunteers making a...

Cost: $75

Where:
ORU Global Learning Center
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK  74171
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Sponsor: The Salvation Army
Telephone: 918-587-7801
Contact Name: Samantha Knappen
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Cocktails, dinner and program with live and silent auctions followed by a Casino and dancing.

Cost: $200 per person, sponsorships available

Where:
The Mayo Hotel
115 W. 5th Street
Tulsa
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: Tulsa CASA, Inc.
Telephone: 918-584-2272
Contact Name: Paula McKay
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Dancing, cocktails, Cajun and jazz...all of the goodies that Mardi Gras has!  Come join New Hope Oklahoma in a night of Mardi Gras fun!  New Hope Oklahoma strives to end generational...

Cost: TBD

Where:
The Bond
608 E 3rd St
Tulsa, OK  74120
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Dancing, cocktails, Cajun and jazz...all of the goodies that Mardi Gras has!  Come join New Hope Oklahoma in a night of Mardi Gras fun! New Hope Oklahoma strives to end generational incarceration,...

Cost: TBD

Where:
The Bond Event Center
608 E 3rd St
Tulsa, OK  74120
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Cocktails, dinner and program;  silent and live auctions followed by a Casino and dancing.

Cost: $200 per person, sponsorships available

Where:
The Mayo Hotel
115 W. 5th Street
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: Tulsa CASA, Inc.
Telephone: 918-584-2272
Contact Name: Paula McKay
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Support youth leaders emerging from Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Tulsa. Each candidate is competing for higher education scholarships. Our goal is for youth leader to be a winner and advance with...

Cost: $50 Individual Tickets and Sponsor Levels

Where:
Global Learning Center at ORU
7777 S Lewis Avenue
Tulsa, OK  74171
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Sponsor: The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Tulsa
Telephone: 918-587-7801
Contact Name: Samantha Knappen
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America’s LARGEST interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa Broken Arrow! At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: 59.95

Where:
Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa- Broken Arrow
420 W Albany St.
Broken Arrow, OK  74012
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Telephone: 866-496-0535
Contact Name: The Dinner Detective
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6-10:30 p.m. Southern Hills Country Club, 2636 E. 61st Street. The 2019 Lunar New Year Gala at Southern Hills Country Club will be an elegant evening of candlelight, fine dining, children’s party...

Cost: $150, individual tickets; $1,000-$25,000, sponsorships.

Where:
Southern Hills Country Club
2636 E. 61st Street
Tulsa, OK  74136
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Sponsor: Dillon International
Telephone: 918-748-5613
Contact Name: Marcia Graham
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COOKING UP COMPASSION FACT SHEET ABOUT THE EVENT:  Long time donors Margo and Kent Dunbar are Honorary Chairs for the event. Now in its fourteenth year, Cooking Up Compassion raises funds for the...

Cost: $250

Where:
Tulsa Ballroom at the Cox Business Center
3rd & Houston
Tulsa
Tulsa, OK  74135
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Sponsor: Catholic Charities
Telephone: 918-508-7115
Contact Name: Jennifer Allen
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Winterset is an annual formal event of the Osteopathic Founders Foundation which brings together the osteopathic profession and their community partners to benefit projects which improve the health...

Cost: $300

Where:
Hyatt Regency Tulsa
100 E 2nd St
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: Osteopathic Founders Foundation
Telephone: 918-551-7300
Contact Name: Michele Caine
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Sunday in the Park with George follows painter Georges Seurat in the months leading up to the completion of his most famous painting, "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte." Consumed...

Cost: $25.00 for adults, $22.50 for students & seniors with ID

Where:
Tulsa Performing Arts Center
110 E. 2nd St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Sponsor: American Theatre Company
Telephone: (918) 747-9494
Contact Name: Meghan Hurley
Website »

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TULtalk


Art film meets dance at Oklahoma Dance Film Festival

This year's program features more than 20 films from around the world, presented on Sunday at the Central Library.

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2.4: #KnopeLife — Anna America

Anna America took the helm at Tulsa’s Parks and Recreation department in the fall of 2018, but she is certainly no stranger to life in the public eye.

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7 strategies to help you make the A-LIST

The competition is tough for small businesses on our annual readers' choice survey, but a few smart strategies can help you get ahead.

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“Sunday in the Park” is no walk in the park

American Theatre Company prepares for the Oklahoma premiere of the very technically challenging “Sunday in the Park with George,” Feb. 15-24

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2.3: Get that “Woo!” — Tom Basler

A conversation with dueling piano phenom Tom Basler about his many reinventions, both personal and professional.

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