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Small Game Regulations: Check Before You Trap!
When it comes to the control of nuisance wildlife, sometimes you can get so focused on solving the problem that you can forget about the legal details of wildlife removal.
The July, 2016 edition of Michigan Outdoor News “Cuffs and Collars” section reported a man was dealing with an abundance of nuisance fox squirrels. Exasperated, the man purchased some live traps and began trapping the squirrels. Over several months, he trapped and killed 40 squirrels on his property.
Eventually, some neighbor made a complaint to the DNR about the man’s trapping activities. A Conservation Officer was dispatched to investigate. The CO discovered the squirrel trap and a squirrel carcass. The homeowner admitted he had been trapping the squirrels and thought it was not an issue, but what the man did not realize was that fox squirrels are classified as small game in Michigan. The trapping of fox squirrels – even on private property – requires a hunting license. Even then, they can only be taken during small game season, September 15th through March 1st, not year round.
Unfortunately for the man, his case was turned over to the county for prosecution for poaching – despite his ignorance and good intentions.
It is not always intuitive that trapping wildlife on your own property can constitute poaching. It seems natural to assume that a homeowner has the right to take appropriate measures to control nuisance wildlife on his own property. But before you do it yourself, remember that almost all wildlife is regulated either by Michigan or federal law, which extends even to wildlife on your own private property. Before you decide to start trapping, check with the Michigan DNR or an MSU Extension office to find out what permits and seasons are applicable to the animal you are trying to trap.
If you do not have the necessary permits, you may need to contact a licensed wildlife control company, such as Creature Control. Either way, make sure you are educated about the law!
Feel free to contact Creature Control about our wildlife removal services in Michigan!