Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Environment and Society

Committee Chair(s)

Robert H. Schmidt


Robert H. Schmidt


Shandra Nicole Frey


Zhao Ma


In early 1994 the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal Damage Control agency implemented a directive providing guidance to help avoid competition between themselves and private businesses, known as Wildlife Control Operators (WCOs) engaging in similar work. Nearly two decades later some WCOs still complain about having to compete with the Animal Damage Control agency, now named Wildlife Services. Other businesses report enjoying a cooperative relationship with the agency. I analyzed four policies that regulate competition between Wildlife Services and WCOs and found that there is a good amount of guidance given to Wildlife Services in regards to their competitive relationship with WCOs. These guidelines do not carry the force of law, however, and are subject to change and deletion. I conducted interviews with representatives from the WCO community and Wildlife Services and found that the top four factors contributing to conflict are an overlap in similar services, agency advantages, money and pricing, and policy. The top four factors contributing to cooperation were cooperative work, communication, clarified roles, and training and education. Working to decrease the conflict factors and emphasize the cooperative factors will lead to a better relationship between Wildlife Services and WCOs.