Shane Johnson has always loved science and nature, which led him to launch his own outdoor business at age 15.
Johnson owns Johnson’s Critter Control & Predator Management, LLC, which is based in Hephzibah and specializes in trapping wild animals, particularly coyotes and beavers, for farms and hunting clubs. Occasionally, he captures raccoons and other animals in urban areas, but he primarily works in rural areas.
One of his customers is Padgett’s Farm in Waynesboro, where he got married last fall.
“My friends have told me I should start trapping squirrels in people’s attics, but there are plenty of other people doing that,” Johnson said.
He said coyotes can pose a threat to dogs, cats, cows, chickens, and even humans.
“I’ve seen videos of them attacking small children,” Johnson said. “If you get a big enough population, they can definitely do some damage.”
Beavers often build dams in creeks, ponds, and other bodies of water, which can potentially cause flooding of roads and bridges. He uses two different types of traps: one normally kills beavers, while the other catches coyotes by their paws. Johnson lets his customers choose whether to exterminate the coyotes or relocate them to a fenced-in area, which is legal in Georgia.
“I can’t release them back into the wild; I could get in a lot of trouble for that,” he said.
For now, Johnson’s Critter Control is his side business, as he currently works as a pipefitter welder at Plant Vogtle, but he eventually wants to pursue it full-time.
“The hardest part has been trying to schedule people around the job I’ve got now,” Johnson said.
He said he’s passionate about trapping and has a talent for it, but he also loves meeting new people. Johnson has been in the business for about 10 years and recently converted it into an LLC.
“When I check my traps, it’s kind of like Christmas morning,” he said.
For more information, visit the Johnson’s Critter Control Facebook page or call 803-580-3373.