At a social gathering recently I was a bit upset hearing one of the guests brag about trapping six raccoons in his back yard in just three weeks. It was what happened after the animal was trapped that upset me. When I asked, he reported proudly that he had taken all six out to a state park and released them. What seems like an act of kindness is really a very bad thing to do. It also happens to be illegal to move wild animals anywhere in Michigan.
When you add another of any of the pest animals such as raccoons, squirrels, and rabbits to a new wooded area, you have just caused an imbalance in the food supply for all the other similar animals already resident to that area. Generally the number of any of those animals in any territory is controlled by how much food is available in that piece of land. Add just one more critter, much less six more critters, and the population exceeds the food supply and only bad things can happen. Usually the stress from hunger leads to disease which kills enough of the animals to get the population down to where it is again supported by the existing food supply.
The best way to get rid of pest animals is to hire a local wildlife removal company. They come in, trap the critter, and remove it safely for a fee. For a list of available companies go to http://wildlife-removal.com/state/Michigan.htm.
If you insist on handling the problem yourself, you need a proper cage trap that is properly baited. And then you need a method for disposing of the animal in a humane fashion, usually by drowning or dispatching with a gun.
Woodstream Company has just come out with an updated version of their traditional Havahart trap. It is called the “Easy Set Cage Trap” and comes in two sizes – one for skunks, rabbits, or squirrels, and the other for raccoons, woodchucks or oppossums. While you can use your own secret bait, such as cat food for raccoons, it is easier and more effective to buy bait designed for catching the critter at hand.
Revenge Animal Bait Kits are commonly used with success. For about $10 you can get a bait that attracts each of the six animal pests I named above (Google “Revenge Bait Kits”). These baits will be good for about two weeks which is usually a lot longer than you need.
All these animals are a problem because people have eliminated their natural habitat with development and they have gotten real used to eating people food thrown out in the trash. It seems like an oxymoron to say the humane way to deal with pest animals is to kill them, but that is the sad truth and we all should respect it.