Can I Legally Trap a Raccoon?

This is a very interesting question. Many believe that because it is their property, their home, their land, that any wild animal that comes across it is fair game. After all, it's a wild animal. There really can't be any protection for these kinds of critters, especially something like a raccoon.

Hold Up a Minute

That would seem the logical way to look at this but, before you take any kind of action, you need to consider that there may be laws that bar a person from trapping a raccoon. Again, that may seem ludicrous that raccoons would have some kind of special protection but, depending upon the state where you live, they may.

In the majority of states, capturing or killing a raccoon is perfectly legal. However, this is not true everywhere. In Washington, D. C. For example, it is a crime for you to kill non-commercial animals, such as chicken or cows. You can receive a heavy fine for doing this.

The Concern for the Animals

In some states, capturing or killing a raccoon is completely illegal. The reason behind this is that early on these animals were hunted until they were on the endangered list. Early settlers loved the skin and fur of raccoons, and made hats and other accessories out of them. This led to an extreme shortage of one of North America's exclusive treasures.

As a result, there are many laws on the books across the country that protect these animals. This means that if they are getting into your garbage, tearing apart your garden, or have even gotten into your house, you need special permission to capture and remove them. You may not even be allowed to kill the animal and less it poses an imminent threat to you or a member of your family.

The Sitting Duck

It would seem to many that capturing a raccoon in a trap would not pose any risk to the animal. It could simply be relocated to another location. This would keep them off of your land while also protecting the animal.

However, that is not the way the legal system views it. By capturing the animal in a trap, you potentially put at risk. Other wild animals may see it as a tasty treat, and there is really nothing the raccoon can do to get away. Maybe it can't get out of that cage, but a wolf or coyote could likely tear that cage apart, giving it easy access to the raccoon. In this way, your humanitarian trap becomes a deathtrap.

What you need to do before taking any action is to contact your local animal control agency or District Attorney's Office to ask if capturing a raccoon is acceptable. They will be able to advise you on what you can do. In addition, if you are unable to capture the animal, they will have recommendations for you on what you can do. This will protect you from any kind of legal jeopardy while also helping you to remove the animal.

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