Michael Beran

In the world of wildlife rescue and conservation, one name stands out prominently: Michael Beran, widely known as “Bare Hands Beran.” Michael’s journey from his humble beginnings in the swamps of Catahoula, Louisiana, to becoming a renowned animal trainer, actor, and the owner of Wildlife Command Center, is a testament to his unwavering dedication and passion for the animal kingdom.

Michael’s deep love for animals was kindled in the heart of the swamps where he was raised near Deville, Louisiana. Growing up surrounded by the diverse ecosystems and creatures of the region, he developed a unique understanding and appreciation for wildlife. These formative years would shape his future endeavors and solidify his commitment to the welfare of animals.

After his upbringing in the swamps, Michael’s life took an unexpected turn when he embarked on a journey of service to his country. He served as a nuclear weapons technician on C4 backfit nuclear submarines, showcasing his adaptability and versatility even in the face of challenging circumstances. His military experience taught him valuable skills in discipline, problem-solving, and teamwork – qualities that would later prove instrumental in his animal rescue missions.

However, it was Michael’s appearance on the Discovery Plus reality TV series “Bare Hands Rescue” that brought him into the spotlight. The show not only highlighted his fearless approach to wildlife rescue but also coined his now-famous moniker, “Bare Hands Beran.” With his bare hands as his primary tools, he demonstrated incredible feats of courage and resourcefulness as he rescued animals from various perilous situations.

Central to Michael’s story is his role as the owner of Wildlife Command Center, an organization dedicated to the humane removal and relocation of wildlife from human-occupied spaces. His tagline, “We Can Catch It,” embodies his unwavering confidence in finding solutions to even the most challenging wildlife intrusions. Michael’s approach isn’t just about removing animals from human spaces; it’s about finding win-win solutions that safeguard both humans and the animals they share their environments with.

Beyond his remarkable feats in wildlife rescue, Michael has made his mark in the entertainment industry. With over 60 feature films to his name on IMDb, he has seamlessly transitioned into the roles of actor and animal trainer for the big screen. His diverse skill set and profound understanding of animals have allowed him to create authentic and captivating performances that resonate with audiences worldwide.

Michael’s IMDb page stands as a testament to his success and influence in the film industry. His ability to connect with animals on a deep level has translated into memorable and impactful on-screen moments, enriching the cinematic experience for viewers of all ages.

Complementing his presence in the film world, Michael’s YouTube channel, Wildlife Command Center, has become a valuable resource for those interested in wildlife rescue and education. His channel features engaging content that showcases his rescue missions, insights into animal behavior, and tips for coexisting harmoniously with the wildlife around us. Through his online platform, Michael extends his mission of fostering empathy and understanding between humans and animals.

One of the most remarkable aspects of Michael’s work is his commitment to finding win-win solutions for both animals and humans. His ethos revolves around the idea that compassion and respect for wildlife can lead to outcomes that benefit everyone involved. This philosophy, coupled with his remarkable skills, has earned him a place of admiration and respect within the wildlife conservation community.

In conclusion, Michael Beran’s journey from the swamps of Catahoula, Louisiana, to becoming “Bare Hands Beran” is a story of passion, courage, and dedication. His upbringing ignited a deep love for animals, which he has transformed into a lifelong mission to rescue and protect wildlife. From his military service to his appearances on reality TV, his acting career, and his influential online presence, Michael’s impact reaches far and wide. Through Wildlife Command Center and his various platforms, he continues to inspire others to appreciate and coexist harmoniously with the natural world. His legacy serves as a reminder that by extending empathy and care to all creatures, we can truly make a positive impact on the planet we share.

Wildlife Command Center Animal Removal

Jennifer Duff

Nicknamed the “snake Lady,” Jennifer Duff, a customer service representative and dispatch technician at Wildlife Command Center in St. Louis, can make a person think a snake is “cute.” Jennifer’s favorite animal at the Wildlife Command Center is “Godiva,” an almost all-black 6-foot Red-Tailed Boa Constrictor. Jennifer has worked for Wildlife Command Center for three years and is also one of the animal handlers at events like the Renaissance Faire and Comic Con where all the employees have fun dressing up in costumes.

It is at the public events that Jennifer shows people how to hold a python to get over their fears. “Godiva” is a nonvenomous snake known to be quite a diva. Jennifer has a way around animals and folks that put them at ease. At the recent Shutter Fest in St. Louis, Jennifer said “Godiva” showed off her personality and knew how to work the camera at the photography conference.

Seeing people getting up close and interacting with some of the exotic animals Wildlife Command Center brings to various public relation events or educational talks is a highlight of her job. Whether they are taking a photo with “Rocky” the European Eagle Owl or “Tyson” the baby kangaroo, Jennifer has an uncanny ability to put people at ease around the animals.

The most favorite thing Jennifer likes about her work with Wildlife Command Center is helping to resolve problems or issues with scared individuals and injured or frightened animals. Helping people who feel helpless when faced with a wildlife animal in their house or business by assuring them the Wildlife Command Center technicians are professional animal experts that can rescue them is so rewarding, according to Jennifer. It is a demanding environment, and the work can be unpredictable and ever-changing, so Jennifer dispatches technicians to rescue people from wildlife situations as soon as possible.

Jenna Heckethorn

After volunteering to help with the animals at the St. Louis Renaissance Faire for several seasons, Jenna Heckethorn has joined the Wildlife Command Center team. Jenna of St. Louis serves as the marketing and events coordinator. Jenna, who worked in the sales and marketing field for 20 years, started her own company in May called Thorn Cannon Marketing. Wildlife Command Center is her first client. Every day at WCC is different, and that unpredictability brings adventure, Jenna said. As the events coordinator, Jenna has encountered the Wildlife Command Center animals up close.

Her favorite animal, a Barn Owl named “Pluto,” hatched at the center. Jenna has worked on taming him. She was able to hand feed him recently. The special moment was even captured on the Wildlife Command Center You Tube channel. Jenna appears on many of the WCC videos with various snakes, lemurs and Tyson, the kangaroo. In college, Jenna acted in several plays and those various roles helped prepare her to work with the Wildlife Command Center Movie Division. Costumed as a wench, a
pirate, a princess, a Viking, a fairy or as a zombie, Jenna has acted in roles with many WCC animals for independent films, movies, photoshoots and for events like the Renaissance Faire. At the St. Louis Shutterfest, Jenna served as an animal handler and a model. Besides acting, Jenna can often be found on
a movie set helping with hair and makeup. In the film, “Just Try,” while on location, Jenna, who acts as a bandit in the movie, helped with props, even helping fix weapons that broke during the fighting scenes.

One of the first events Jenna coordinated for Wildlife Command Center was a high school graduation lock-in event with several of the animals. She is currently making plans for events to benefit Raptor Rescue, the non-profit branch of Wildlife Command Center that rescues and rehabs birds of prey.

Devon Lyons

Devon Lyons has worked as a Wildlife Command Center wildlife technician for more than a year at the Kansas City, Missouri location. Trapping wildlife animals safely and leaving the homeowners and business owners happy and relieved the problem has been solved makes Devon feel good about his job. Prior to working for Wildlife Command Center, Devon worked in pest control for 8 years. In dealing with wildlife conflicts, Devon said every day is different, and he likes the creative challenges it brings. His
favorite animals are possum and raccoons. Many homeowners call thinking they only have one raccoon in their basement or attic, but most of the time it is more than one.

At times, the work requires Devon getting atop roofs and high ladders. But heights do not bother him, and he has always been an adventurous sort. Being an outdoorsy type, Devon grew up camping and taking trips to Idaho and Montana to go ice climbing and living-off-the-land camping. For a year he attended Mountaineer School and his classroom was on the side of a mountain.

Recently, Devon handled a call dealing with bats. The homeowner thought they only had one bat in their attic, but it turned out to be about 60 to 80 bats huddled together in the attic. The bats had wreaked havoc in the attic. But Devon, who has carpentry skills, was able to repair the damage. He also
spends time educating people about wildlife.

In the summers, Devon, who played on his college rugby team, helps coach a rugby team at a camp. He also volunteers at a downtown Kansas City soup kitchen called Nourish CK. Devon, who earned a degree in hospitality management, volunteers to work in the kitchen. He cooks with guest chefs, and they serve lunch and dinner at Nourish KC.

Tom Gatzke

Tom Gatzke grew up in an outdoorsy family in Wisconsin quite skilled at tracking animals and being in nature. With his background, Tom, an U.S. Airforce munitions specialist, seemed to be a perfect fit for Wildlife Command Center. For nearly three years, Tom has worked as a wildlife technician for Wildlife Command Center at the Little Rock, Ark. location.

He “feels like the Superman of the day” after working to rescue someone from an animal that was scaring them in their home or business. Tom has many times found solutions for clients who have had a bat problem or rat infestation, to the point the family would not go inside their home. With his Wildlife Command Center training, Tom has learned so much about the behaviors and habits of possums, raccoons and squirrels. That coupled with his background in tracking bats and other wildlife, Tom has become an expert wildlife technician.

One of his favorite rescues recently was at a newly opened Boys and Girls Club. The manager was stuck in his office because a possum had got inside and blocked him in between his office and main entryway. Tom said he went inside and used a “scruffing” technique to grab the possum and put him in a trap to relocate. Because of his experience, Tom could predict the behavior of the possum.

Besides the Lop Earred Rabbits he raises, Tom’s favorite animal is his Harris Hawk named “Hailey.” Tom, a general falconer, captured and trained the hawk to hunt. He first started falconry in Arizona. What would normally be a solitary sport, Tom joins with his wife, other WCC technicians and friends to hunt with their birds of prey as a group sport. Tom has been a falconer since 2018.

When he is not working or pursuing falconry pursuits, Tom volunteers at the Raptor Rescue of Central Arkansas. He helps with taking care of the raptors, assists with procedures on the birds, redresses wounds and trims beaks.

Brett Crow

Brett Crow is a full-time wildlife technician at the Wildlife Command Center branch in Little Rock, Ark. He has worked for WCC since 2010. Brett grew up as an outdoorsman hunting and fishing all his life. After college, Brett worked as a biologist for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission for 8 years where he was involved with wildlife management and educational programs.

When he first started working at Wildlife Command Center, Brett said he kept learning about how specific animals invaded a home or business and he learned how to handle all the issues associated with the wildlife. As a wildlife technician, Brett enjoys helping others and rescuing people from wildlife conflicts. He can always lean on someone in the company to help him if needed. There is a big “trust bond” at WCC, Brett said, and Michael Beran, the owner operator, shares a wealth of knowledge about
the business with all the employees.

When a squirrel, raccoon, rat or other wildlife has made holes in the attic or in the house, Brett can incorporate his carpentry skills to fix the damage. Recently, a homeowner was shocked to find a squirrel had chewed a hole in a screened porch and got in the attic through a hole it chewed. Brett was able to repair all the damage and retrieve the squirrels in the attic. A Red-Tailed Hawk recently was discovered in a warehouse with 30-feet ceilings, and no one could get the bird. Brett responded to the call and with a scissor-lift, Brett was able to rescue the hawk, which was hungry and thirsty. He felt like a “hero” rescuing the raptor.

As a hobby, Brett learned the art of taxidermy and has mounted ducks and deer heads. He still likes entering fish tournaments or watching the majestic ways of his favorite animal, a wild turkey, in its natural habitat.