Prairie Dog Control With a Vacuum Truck

Prairie Dog Control With a Vacuum Truck

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Vacuum trucks are versatile machines — cleaning sewers, potholing utilities, prairie dog control. 

Yes, prairie dog control. That’s what one man has been using a vac truck for over the past three decades.

Gay Balfour operates Dog-Gone Prairie Dog Control out of Cortez, Colorado. In 1991 he had the idea of modifying a sewer cleaning truck into a varmint vacuuming machine. He bought a truck on sale from a nearby sewer district and configured it specifically for capturing prairie dogs alive. The suction power is strong enough to pull the prairie dogs from their holes but slows them down as they approach a padded holding chamber.

Balfour’s business has received occasional media attention over the years. He’s worked primarily in Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas and Texas. Farms and ranches have been common clients. His services have also been popular at construction sites for subdivisions or city lots that had become overrun with prairie dogs.

“Most people don’t want to get rid of prairie dogs, and I don’t blame them. They’re neat animals,” Balfour told the Cowboy State Daily. “But with farming and ranching operations, it’s a different story. Prairie dogs in the middle of that isn’t a good mix.”

He has other methods for capturing prairie dogs as well, but the vacuum truck has been an effective one. He was once called by the U.S. Air Force to clear out some prairie dogs that had been tripping alarms at Buckley Air Force Base near Aurora, Colorado.

At age 81, Balfour is retiring from the prairie dog control business.

“This isn’t a cushy job. This is really hard work,” he says.

But if anyone is interested in learning the ins and outs of vacuuming up prairie dogs, Balfour is ready to pass on his knowledge.

“I still have all of my equipment,” he told the Cowboy State Daily. “If you find somebody who is interested, I’d sell it to them at a reasonable price.”

Source: Cowboy State Daily


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