I work in Denver and one of my coworkers used to work for the NWRC in Ft. Collins. Interestingly he corrected me very quickly as I was mocking the idea of parachuting mice with acetaminophen into the canopy. As it turns out, researchers have
Brad, I'm glad you have that person to talk with.
All (and not
pointed at Brad) -
It's very easy (as one often sees here on FHF) to mock this or that as ridiculous or "fraud, waste, and abuse". As it turns out, BTS researchers with NWRC have not only done work with prey odors and all sorts of associated snake behavior, but they, and folks with USGS, have also done tons and tons of research, at various scales, in the lab and in the field, trying to develop, assess, and optimize
a fascinating assortment of control techniques for juvenile and adult BTS (which are much more attracted to frogs and lizards as young, birds and rodents as adults). Lure traps, sticky traps, trap doors, trap heights, live and artificial attractants, toxicants, best habitats to put traps in, best habitats to put attractants and toxicants in, bait stations and other delivery devices, how to visual search, how to train people to visual search, dog searching in cargo, dog searching in the woods, materials and construction techniques for snake fencing (both mesh and electric), etc etc etc.
Some of this stuff is grey lit, but a lot has been published. A few years ago a lot of the best was written up in a book "Problem Snake Management". Check it out if you haven't.
Anyway, lots of these techniques work a little bit, or OK some times or places, and poorly in others. Some stuff works a lot. Some stuff doesn't do much at all. Nothing is perfect - no silver bullet exists yet, probably never will.
So, this project integrates previous research - and logistics - on the best-working, most cost-effective attractants, toxicants, and delivery devices. It may look silly, or esoteric and wasteful, but it isn't. This is a real problem that's being worked out.
And it's taken a bunch of smart, hard-working guys a long time and a lot of your money to get to this point. Just think about that next time you're about to "ready, fire, aim".