Scott Hygnstrom

Scott Hygnstrom

  • Contact Information
  • My Story
  • Publications & Presentations
  • Background
  • Expertise & Interests
  • Advising
  • Courses Taught
  • Outreach

Title Emeritus Wildlife Damage Professor
Address 420 Westwoods Lane
Stevens Points WI
Phone 715-544-9379
Vitae Download file

Hi, I'm Scott Hygnstrom, professor emeritus and extension wildlife damage specialist for the School of Natural Resources. I'm associated with the fisheries and wildlife undergraduate major and the wildlife ecology graduate specialization.

My major interests have been wildlife damage management, integrated pest management, biological management (control) of pests, wildlife-agriculture interactions, wildlife diseases, human dimensions in wildlife, and the ecology of ungulates (hoofed mammals), rodents, and predators.

Scott Hygnstrom
Scott Hygnstrom, professor of wildlife and extension wildlife damage specialist, talks to farmers.

Wildlife damage issues are pervasive throughout society, and human-wildlife conflicts are increasing in frequency, impact and significance. Public demand for information and services in wildlife damage management is increasing across the nation.

My programs included the revision of "Prevention and Control of Wildlife Damage," a book I co-edited that has been published by University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension. Written by many authors, including some in the School, at two volumes comprising 850 pages and 11,400 copies sold, it has become the leading reference in wildlife damage management.

I'm also worked on expanding the "Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management," teaching classes in wildlife damage management and wildlife diseases, surveillance of wildlife diseases in Nebraska, and research programs on deer and chronic wasting disease in Nebraska.

My most recent research involves the ecology of elk in Nebrask; the effects of frightening devices in reducing deer damage in cornfields; prairie dogs and the prairie ecosystem; the annual Urban Pest Management Conference; integrated pest management in K-12 schools in Nebraska; and economic modeling of rodents in swine facilities.

As a testimony to the needs being met by these programs, the Integrated Pest Management-Vertebrates program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln stands out as a national leader in wildlife damage management. More than 30 graduates from our program have established careers in wildlife damage management in federal, state, and private institutions.

I received my bachelor's in biology at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in 1980; my master's in natural resources-wildlife from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 1983; and my Ph.D. in wildlife ecology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1988. I've been at this university since then.

As mentioned above, my extension publishing has included:

  • Prevention and Control of Wildlife Damage
  • Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management
  • Prairie Dogs and the Prairie Ecosystem

Selected Publications

Baasch, D.M., A.J Tyre, S.E. Hygnstrom, J.J. Millspaugh, and K.C. VerCauteren. 2010. An evaluation of three statistical methods used to model resource selection. Ecological Modeling 221:565-574.
Baasch, D.M., J.W. Fischer, S.E. Hygnstrom, K.C. VerCauteren , A.J Tyre, J.J. Millspaugh, J.W. Merchant, and J.D. Volesky. 2010. Resource selection by elk in an agro-forested landscape in northwestern Nebraska. Environmental Management 46:725-737.
Crank, D.R. S.E. Hygnstrom, S.R. Groepper, and K.M. Hams. 2010. Landowner attitudes toward elk in the Pine Ridge region of northwestern Nebraska. Human-Wildlife Interactions 4:67-76.
Julian, T.J, S.M. Vantassel, S.R. Groepper, and S.E. Hygnstrom. 2010. Opinion paper: euthanasia methods in field settings for wildlife damage management. Human-Wildlife Interactions 4:158-164.
Lavelle, M.J. , J.W. Fischer, S.E. Hygnstrom , J.J. White, A.M. Hildreth, G.E. Phillips, and. K.C. VerCauteren. 2010. Response of deer to containment by a poly-mesh fence for mitigating disease outbreaks. Journal of Wildlife Management 74:1620-1625.
Powell, L.A. A.J. Tyre, S.E. Hygnstrom, D.A. Wedin, P.R. Hanson, M.S. Kuzila, and J.B. Swinehart. 2010. Wilderness serendipity: planning and assessing learning during an experiential field course. North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Journal 53:56-61.
Vantassel, S.M., T.L. Hiller, K.D.J. Powell, and S.E. Hygnstrom. 2010. Using advancements in cable-trapping to overcome barriers to furbearer management in the United States: a commentary. Journal of Wildlife Management 74:934-939.
Virchow, D.R., S.M. Vantassel, S.E. Hygnstrom, D.M. Ferraro, J.J. Lusk, and M. Wilhite. 2010. Cottontail control: an overview. Wildlife Control Technology. 17(3):32-34.
Virchow, D.R., S.M. Vantassel, S.E. Hygnstrom, D.M. Ferraro, J.J. Lusk, and M. Wilhite. 2010. Habits and habitat: cottontail rabbits. Wildlife Control Technology. 17(3):13-14.
Walter, W.D., K.C. VerCauteren, H. Campa III, W.R. Clark, J.W. Fischer, S.E. Hygnstrom, N.E. Mathews, C.K. Nielsen, E.M. Shauber, T.R. Van Deelen, and S.R. Winterstein. 2010. Regional assessment on influence of landscape configuration and connectivity on range size of white-tailed deer. Landscape Ecology 24:1405-1420.
Crank, R.D., S.E. Hygnstrom, and S.R. Groepper. 2009. Tourist attitudes toward elk management in the Pine Ridge region of northwestern Nebraska. Great Plains Research 19:215-223.
Frost, C.J., S.E. Hygnstrom, A.J. Tyre, K.M. Eskridge, D.M. Baasch, J.R. Boner, G.M. Clements, J.M. Gilsdorf, T.C. Kinsell, K.C. VerCauteren. 2009. Probabilistic movement model with emigration simulates movements of deer in Nebraska, 1990-2006. Ecological Modeling 220:2481-2490.
Hygnstrom, S., C. Frost, S. Vantassel, T. Bass, A. Blythe, H. Christensen, M. Colling, C. Cowan, B. Erb, M. Gruntorad, K. Herlacher, R. Howser, A. Kester, B. Lawyer, J. McFadden, M. McGuire, M. Pakes, A. Rasmussen, J. Schenk, J. Small, A. Smith, G. Wiemer, and C. Zajac. 2009. A community-based approach to managing white-tailed deer in Wilderness Park, Lincoln, Nebraska. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 15 pp.
Hygnstrom, S.E., P.D. Skelton, S.J. Josiah, J.M. Gilsdorf, D.R. Virchow, J.A. Brandle, A.K. Jayaprakash, K.M. Eskridge, and K.C. VerCauteren. 2009. White-tailed deer browsing and rubbing preferences for trees and shrubs that produce non-timber forest products. HortTechnology 19:204-211.
Walter, W.D., K.C. VerCauteren, J.M. Gilsdorf, and S.E. Hygnstrom. 2009. Crop, native vegetation, and biofuels: long-term response of white-tailed deer to changing habitat management priorities. Journal of Wildlife Management 73:339-344.
Wilson, S., A.R. Doster, J.D. Hoffman, and S.E. Hygnstrom. 2009. First record of pseudorabies in feral swine in Nebraska. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 45:874-876.
Frickey, K.A., M.A. Cover, S.E. Hygnstrom, S.R. Groepper, H.H. Genoways, K.M. Hams, and K.C. VerCauteren. 2008. Historic and recent distributions of elk in Nebraska. Great Plains Research 18:189-204.
Gilsdorf, J.M., K.C. VerCauteren, S.E. Hygnstrom, W.D. Walter, J.R. Boner, and G.M. Clements. 2008. An integrated vehicle-mounted system for VHF telemetry applications. Journal of Wildlife Management 72:1241-1246.
Groepper, S.R., P.J. Gabig, M.P. Vrtiska, J.M. Gilsdorf, S.E. Hygnstrom, and L.A. Powell. 2008. Population and spatial dynamics of resident Canada geese in southeastern Nebraska. Human-Wildlife Conflicts 2:271-278.
Gubanyi, J.A., J.A. Savidge, S.E. Hygnstrom, K.C. Vercauteren, G.W. Garabrandt, and S.P. Korte. 2008. Deer impact on vegetation in natural areas in southeastern Nebraska. Natural Areas Journal 28:121-129.
Hygnstrom, S.E., S.R. Groepper, K.C. VerCauteren, C.J. Frost, J.R. Boner, T.C. Kinsell, and G.M. Clements. 2008. Literature review of mule deer and white-tailed deer movements in western and midwestern landscapes. Great Plains Research 18:219-231.
Vantassel, S., S.E. Hygnstrom, P.D. Curtis, R.H. Schmidt, G.A. Yarrow, and R. Smith. 2007. The new Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management. Vertebrate Pest Conference 22:489-491.
Foster-McDonald, N.S., S.E. Hygnstrom, and S.P. Korte. 2006. Effects of a visual barrier fence on behavior and movements of black-tailed prairie dogs. Wildlife Society Bulletin 34:1069-1074.
Hygnstrom, S.E., M.A. Cover, B.A. Stillings, R.D. Crank, J.W. Fischer, and J.W. Merchant. 2006. Elk in Nebraska: opportunity or another private-public land conundrum? Wildlife Damage Management Conference 11:213-218.
Renter, D.G., D.P. Gnad, J.M. Sargeant, and S.E. Hygnstrom. 2006. Prevalence and serovars of Salmonella in feces of free-ranging white-tailed deer in Nebraska. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 42:699-703.
VerCauteren, K.C., J.M. Gilsdorf, S.E. Hygnstrom, P.B. Fioranelli, J.A. Wilson, and S. Barras. 2006. Green and blue lasers are ineffective for dispersing deer at night. Wildlife Society Bulletin 34:371-374.
VerCauteren, K.C., M.J. Lavelle, and S.E. Hygnstrom. 2006. A simulation model for determining cost-effectiveness of fences for reducing deer damage. Wildlife Society Bulletin 34:16-22.
VerCauteren, K.C., M.J. Lavelle, and S.E. Hygnstrom. 2006. Fences and deer damage management: a review of design and efficacy. Wildlife Society Bulletin 34:191-200.
Hygnstrom, S., S. Vantassel, C. Adams, D. Anderson, C. Becker, J. Brannen, K. Corman, C. Daily, D. DeLape, D. Ekberg, J. Freese, K. Fricke, J. Jones, P. Kniep, L. Kotas, M. Lippincott, C. Lund, S. Moore, L. Pierce, T. Schmidt, T. Simonsen, and R. Walrath. 2005. Pigeon management in Lincoln, Nebraska: a community-based, integrated plan. University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 25 pp.
Prevention and Control of Wildlife Damage, Editor, 1994, currently under revision.
Clements , G.M., S.E. Hygnstrom, and K.C. VerCauteren. Home range and movements of male white-tailed deer: implications for management of infectious diseases. Journal of Wildlife Management. In press.
Lavelle, M.J. , K.C. VerCauteren, T.J. Hefley, G.E. Phillips, S.E. Hygnstrom, D.B. Long, J.W. Fischer, S.R. Swafford, and T.R. Campbell. Evaluation of fences for containing feral swine under simulated depopulations. Journal of Wildlife Management. In press.
Powell, L., S. Riley, A. Tyre, and S. Hygnstrom. The value of early experience: students know they need it, but how do they get it? The Wildlife Professional 3(4):45-47.
VerCauteren, K.C. and S.E. Hygnstrom. Managing white-tailed deer: Midwest North America. in Biology and Management of White-tailed Deer, D. Hewitt, editor. Taylor and Francis Group, Boca Raton, Florida. In press.
Walter, W.D., M.J. Lavelle, J.W. Fischer, T.L. Johnson, S.E. Hygnstrom, C.W. Anderson, and K.C. VerCauteren. Management of damage by elk (Cervus elaphus): a review. Wildlife Research. In press.

Educational Background

  • BS - University of Wisconsin-River Falls, Biology, Conservation (1980)
  • MS - University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Wildlife (1983)
  • PhD - University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wildlife Ecology (1988)


  • Spring 2013 – Career Award awarded by The Wildlife Society - Nebraska Chapter 
  • 2012 – Educator of the Year awarded by National Wildlife Contol Operators Association 
  • 2011 – Holling Family Awards for Teaching Excellence in Agriculture and Natural Resources awarded by UNL Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources 
  • 2010 – Conservation Education Award awarded by The Wildlife Society 
  • 2008 – Twenty-year Service Award awarded by University of Nebraska 
  • 2007 – Award of Excellence awarded by Northeast Extension Directors Association 
  • 2005 – Excellence in Team Programming Award awarded by UNL-Extension 
  • 2003 – Professor of the Month awarded by UNL Mortar Board, The Black Masque Chapter 
  • 2003 – Professional Development Certificate awarded by The Wildlife Society 
  • 2002 – Charles E. Bessey Award awarded by UNL Center for Great Plains Studies 
  • 2001 – Educational Publication Award awarded by Soil and Water Conservation Society 
  • 2000 – Team Programming Awards awarded by Nebraska Chapter of Epsilon Sigma Phi 
  • 1999 – Team Programming Awards awarded by Nebraska Chapter of Epsilon Sigma Phi 
  • 1999 – Distinguished Service Award awarded by Nebraska Cooperative Extension Association-Specialists Section 
  • 1997 – Certificates of Excellence awarded by American Society of Agronomy 
  • 1997 – Early Career Award awarded by Epsilon Sigma Phi 
  • 1996 – Communication Award awarded by Berryman Institute for Wildlife Damage Management 
  • 1996 – Team Programming Awards awarded by Nebraska Chapter of Epsilon Sigma Phi 
  • 1996 – Excellence in Team Programming Award awarded by UNL-Extension 
  • 1995 – Certificates of Excellence awarded by American Society of Agronomy 
  • 1995 – Educational Aids Award awarded by American Society of Horticultural Science 
  • 1994 – Outstanding New Specialist Award awarded by Nebraska Coop Extension Association-Specialists Section 
  • 1994 – Excellence in Team Programming Award (2 Awards) awarded by UNL-Extension 
  • 1993 – Award of Merit awarded by Council for the Advancement of Science Education 
  • 1992 – Professional Development Certificate awarded by The Wildlife Society 
  • 1991 – Team Effort Award awarded by UNL Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources 
  • 1991 – Excellence in Team Programming Award awarded by UNL-Extension 
  • 1990 – Certified Wildlife Biologist awarded by The Wildlife Society 

SNR Mission Area(s)

  • Applied Ecology

Professional Organizations

  • American Society of Mammalogists
  • Center for Great Plains Studies
  • Extension Fish and Wildlife Specialists
    • Steering Committee 2007-2010
  • National Animal Damage Control Association
    • Vice President 2000-2006
  • Nebraska Cooperative Extension Association
    • Specialist Section Chair 2000-2002
  • Society for Conservation Biology
  • The Wildlife Society
    • Board Representative 1992-1994, 2008-2009
  • The Wildlife Society
    • Nebraska Chapter President (elect, standing, past) 1995-1998
  • The Wildlife Society
    • Wildife Disease Working Group Chair 2009-2010
  • The Wildlife Society
    • Widlife Damage Management Working Group Chair 1996-1998
  • USDA-APHIS-Wildlife Services
  • USDA-APHIS-WS-National Wildlife Research Center
  • Wildlife Disease Association

Notable Websites

Other Areas of Interest

Information and education; Technology transfer; Wildlife control and damage; Wildlife ecology/habitat deer and their habitat; elk and their habitat; Ecology of ugulates, carnivores, and rodents; Ecology of wildlife diseases; Impacts of an solutions for dealing with wildlife damage

SNR Speakers Bureau

What I can speak about:

Wildlife, wildlife damage management, wildlilfe diseases, and screenings of the film "Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time"

When I am most available to speak:

Based on work schedule

What target audiences I am most comfortable speaking to:

  • College
  • OLLI - lifelong learning for adults 50 years and older)
  • General Public
  • Technical



Outreach Events

National Workshop Series on Wildlife Damage Management

When: Throughout the year

What is this event about:

Annual workshops on resolving human-wildlife conflicts. Since 2008, we have included workshops on management of white-tailed deer, resident Canada geese, urban coyotes, and shooting in sensitive environments. Workshops being scheduled for 2012 include bat management (July) and chemical immobilization (December).

Who sponsors this event:

UNL-SNR-Wildlife Damage Management Program

What target audiences is this event most geared towards:

  • College
  • OLLI - lifelong learning for adults 50 years and older
  • General Public
  • Technical