There’s nothing more frustrating than waking up one morning to see your homegrown, carefully tended garden has been torn apart by a pesky varmint.
Trapping Techniques To Trap A Pesky Varmint
If you’ve tried every method under the sun to repel, exclude, or scare away a garden pest that just won’t seem to leave, consider the method of live trapping, which has started to become very popular over the years for lots of farmers and gardeners both. There are two types of trapping you might practice: trap and release, and lethal trapping. You might consider both options and choose the one that you think will most effectively get rid of the varmint, or varmints, who have been tampering with your garden.
A couple of factors should go into your thought process. Keep in mind that live trapping is best suited for a single pest, as opposed to larger groups or populations of varmints that might be invading your area. Here are some tips for the first option of pest removal:
- Alter your garden or habitat to make sure that the animal cannot fully escape if it somehow frees itself of the trap; this can be done by putting up wire or wooden fencing.
- Try your hardest not to make the trap obviously known to the intruder. To ensure that your trap is not discovered by the varmint, wear gloves to protect leaving traces of your scent.
- Know your predator. Understand the size and sturdiness of the type of animal that is intruding, and build a trap accordingly that matches the weight and size of the predator.
- Make sure that the trap is anchored to the ground so the animal cannot roll over in the trap and escape.
- Place plywood under the trap to ensure that the intruder does not scratch the garden or piece of land after he has been caught.
- Lure the animal to the trap, multiple times if necessary. To do this, start by leading a small trail of “treats” for the predator (these can be scraps of human food). Do not make the trail too obviously planted; the predators are smart and they might recognize that they are being tricked. Next, bait the trap but DO NOT set it just yet. You want to establish trust between the trap and the animal by showing that it has nothing to fear. This will get the intruder used to engaging with the trap and seeing it in a non-threatening way.
- For lethal trapping, make sure that you check the trap at least once a day and bury or empty the remains as soon as possible, to avoid any decomposition or smells lingering that might attract future or different predators.
- Disinfect the trap thoroughly with bleach after each catch. Rabies can be transmitted by saliva, and simply touching saliva residue can cause transmission of the disease – you don’t have to be bitten!
Lethal trapping is just one option that will depend upon the size of your predator, how frequently it is visiting your garden, and what kind of damage it is inflicting.
For smaller predators, such as squirrels, gophers, opossums, and skunks, you might consider trapping and releasing. Before you choose this option, however, remember that if not done properly, trapping and releasing can actually be a crueler method than lethal trapping, if the animal remains too long and is injured upon release. And as always, check with your state game officer to make sure that trapping and release is legal in your area; in some places, it is not. Read on for some helpful tips that will ensure your trapping and releasing is safe to both the predator, and your garden.
- Use caution when releasing all animals, especially the larger ones such as raccoons and skunks. The safest approach is tying a thick rope to the trap door. You’ll want to run the rope through an open window in your vehicle and park close enough to where you can use leverage to pull and open the trap door, but far enough away to avoid an angry predator.
- For nut-eating animals like chipmunks and squirrels, use traps made of metal. These creatures have sharp teeth and can easily chew through wooden traps.
- Predators like gophers and moles tend to be most active in the spring, and you should plan your traps according to this fertile season. For these predators, you will need to place the trap in a tunnel and disguise it well with soil. If you’re not having any luck within 2 or 3 days catching the intruder, try moving the trap and trying again (of course, handle with gloves to avoid leaving your scent.)
- Larger-sized varmints, such as raccoons and opossums, need to have their bait placed at the far back of the trap so it closes properly; otherwise, the animal could easily back out of the trap after feeding on the bait. Make sure these traps are strongly anchored, as the predator in question is larger in size. Take care when releasing these animals!
- For a skunk, cover your trap with a tarp or a dark piece of fabric, as skunks like to explore dark areas. This cover will also protect you if the skunk happens to spray once getting trapped.
- Woodchucks are another common predator, and a trap will need to be placed right at the sight of their burrow as soon as you spot them nesting. Woodchucks should only be trapped in the summer – trapping in the spring, like you might do for other predators, could endanger a burrow full of young and end up orphaning the babies.
You have invested a lot of time and care in your gardens, and they deserve to be protected so they can thrive and bloom beautifully to their fullest potential! These tips will ensure that you will choose the correct option for the varmint that is spoiling your land, and will make certain that they will not be back for another unwelcome visit!
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