The Truth About Trapping and Relocating Wildlife

The Truth About Trapping and Relocating Wildlife

By far, the majority of people out there do believe that trapping and relocating wildlife is a humane solution to a problem they are having with a “nuisance animal”.

There is a better way.

Young Raccoon Mother Trapped with Her Kit – click on this image to see the full size version. (Photo courtesy of

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

When members of the public take matters into their own hands and get a Havaheart trap to capture an animal on their property, they have no idea what they are getting into.  Or, the fact that they are going to be contributing to the animal’s suffering and most likely, premature death.  And, here in California, it is illegal to trap and relocate wildlife.  If an animal is trapped it must be released on site, or killed.  That is the law.

Anyone who is considering either trapping themselves or hiring a professional trapper please read through this carefully and call me if you have any questions.  WildCare does have licensed trappers on staff.  However, we use more humane and less stressful methods that do work.  We only resort to trapping if we are trying to capture an injured animal.

The top Reasons why Trapping Wildlife doesn’t work.

1) You have no guarantee that you will trap the offending animal.  You may catch something but how will you know it is the animal you are after?  The fact is, you don’t.

2) Trapping wildlife creates orphans.  There is always the potential you have trapped a mother that has a nest of babies somewhere.

3) It is incredibly stressful for a wild animal to be trapped and often they injure themselves trying to get out.  Teeth and claws are often broken in the animal’s frantic effort to escape.  Here at WildCare we see many injured raccoons, squirrels and skunks when people taking matters into their own hands, or hire a professional trapper because raccoons are digging  up their lawn.

4) Animals dumped in another location have no idea where the food and water sources are.  This often leads to starvation and death. Studies done on raccoons that were relocated support this finding.  The animal will typically die within 2 weeks of being relocated.

5) Most likely you will be dumping this animal in the territory of another animal and this will lead to territory disputes, and often these fights lead to serious injuries and death.

6) If you capture a sick animal and transfer it to a healthy population, this spreads disease.

7) If you remove an animal out of its territory (by either trapping or killing) you have opened up a territory and another animal will soon show up to take its place.

8) It doesn’t solve the problem.  As long as the attractant remains (food, shelter or water) other animals will show up.  Removing the source of what is attracting them is the solution.

However, laws regarding this do vary from state to state.  Here in California, according to the California Dept of Fish & Game, Section 465, (G) (1), the law states that animals trapped must be released on site or killed.  Below I cut and pasted what the law states.

(1) Immediate Dispatch or Release. All furbearing and nongame mammals that are legal to trap must be immediately killed or released. Unless released, trapped animals shall be killed by shooting where local ordinances, landowners, and safety permit. This regulation does not prohibit employees of federal, state, or local government from using chemical euthanasia to dispatch trapped animals.

If you hire a pest control company or wildlife control company and they tell you there are relocating wildlife they are either 1) lying to you or 2) breaking the law.

Trapping wildlife is never the solution when dealing with nuisance wildlife.  Please call me if  you are considering trapping your wild neighbors.  We can talk about solutions that are less stressful on the animals and less stressful on you!

WildCare Solutions
415-453-1000 x23