Helicopter Wildlife Services maintains and understands that in order to obtain the highest catch rates and lowest mortalities, no individual crew member, whether it be the pilot or net gunner/mugger, can accomplish these results on their own. Wildlife capture is undoubtably all about TEAMWORK. This is the reason many of the biologists we work with claim that our team at Helicopter Wildlife Services is the best they have ever worked with.
Mike Ross-Wildlife Capture Pilot
Mike Ross is the main wildlife capture pilot for Helicopter Wildlife Services. What makes Mike a unique capture pilot is the fact that he started his career as a licensed professional hunter, then as a wildlife capture operator and game rancher before becoming a capture pilot.
He has worked in the wildlife capture and relocation industry for over 22 years, has caught over 50000 head of wildlife, and over 75 species in five different countries: United States, Mexico, South Africa, Namibia and Swaziland. He is probably the only capture pilot that catches wildlife 12 months of the year as he spends the wildlife capture season in Southern Africa (April – October) where he catches and average of 5000 head of wildlife, between 8 -12 different species are caught per capture. He then returns to the USA for the capture season from October to April, where he catches and average of 2500 head of wildlife. He is experienced in all three main methods of capture, such as Net Gun, Chemical and Coral Capture.
Of the 75 species he has captured and handled, the North American Species are: Whitetail Deer – Mule Deer – Elk – Moose – Bison – Pronghorn Antelope – Desert Bighorn Sheep –Rocky Bighorn Sheep – Mountain Goat – Coyotes and Wild Boar.
Working in both North America and Southern Africa allows Mike to catch a range of species, from fragile and tiny antelope such as Blue Duiker, to truly big game such as Buffalo and Giraffe as well as highly endangered and sensitive species like Bighorn Sheep, Mountain Goat, Black and White Rhino. He has caught these various species in a range of habitats from high altitude, mountainous terrain in Utah, extreme cold temperatures of Northern Michigan, South Texas brush country to the different topographies found in Southern African. For a pilot to successfully work with such a variety of species with such vast differences in behavior and habitat, is a testament to his overall abilities to read and understand wildlife, their behavior, their reactions to being chased, captured and handled and most importantly, their reactions to stress.
Mike’s main priority is the safety for both his crew and the animals being caught. Being in the wildlife capture industry for 22 years, he understands the challenges associated to wildlife capture and therefore lives by the motto of “Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance”. He is completely dedicated to ensure that project goals are met and completed in the allocated time frame.
He has and still works with some of the most experienced wildlife veterinarians, biologist, other wildlife capture specialists and conservationists in the world, which enables continued education in wildlife capture. Most importantly he is passionate about wildlife capture, and believes in himself and his professional abilities as a wildlife capture pilot / operator.