How to trap and remove a raccoon in Maryland | Raccoon

How to trap and remove a raccoon

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Box traps are one of the most effective methods for trapping raccoons in urban and suburban areas.

Keith Szafranski

Raccoons are relatively easy to catch in traps. A cage or box trap should be used in populated areas or if you have free-ranging pets in your neighborhood. Use a well-built trap that is at least 10-inches by 12-inches by  32-inches. Place the trap on a level area and make certain the area around it is free of items that a raccoon might grasp and pull to the trap. When placing cage traps on roof tops, a protective piece of plywood or similar barrier that extends approximately one-foot out on all sides is necessary to protect shingles from being torn. Prevent baited cage traps from being rolled over by anchoring them with stakes. Secure traps set in other locations with strapping metal or other anchors to prevent sliding off roofs, etc. Bait the traps with sweet fruit (e.g., cherries or grapes), marshmallows or jelly to reduce the chance of catching non-target animals. Place a pile of bait behind the trigger and scatter a little bait outside the opening of the trap and just inside the trap entrance. Make sure the back of the trap is screened with ½-inch mesh or smaller to prevent raccoons from reaching the bait without entering the trap.

Because raccoons often carry rabies, they should not be relocated when live-trapped. Some states do not allow relocation. Raccoons should be released on your property following repair of openings, but the potential for recurring damage and for conflicts with other landowners should also be considered when making this decision. If releasing the raccoon nearby is not an option, humanely euthanize it with .22-caliber rifle or pistol, or by placing it in a carbon dioxide chamber. If the raccoon is going to be tested for rabies, then do not shoot it in the head.

Note: Discharging firearms in developed areas is often prohibited by local safety ordinances and state hunting laws.

For assistance in the control of problem raccoons, contact a licensed wildlife control operator in your area.

Hunting and trapping during established, regulated seasons can be effective in removing nuisance individuals and lowering the local population.

Laws and regulations to be aware of

Regulations for Maryland

Permit Needed

A landowner permit is needed to trap chipmunks, opossums, porcupines, rabbits, raccoons, skunks, tree squirrels and woodchucks in Maryland. This free permit can be obtained by calling the Maryland Nuisance Wildlife Hotline at 877-463-6497.

Euthanize Animal

Maryland regulations require that rabies-vector species (raccoons and skunks) be euthanized when they are live-trapped. The only exception is that the animal may be released on the property from which it was trapped.

While we attempt to provide guidance about state and federal regulations pertaining to specific species and control techniques, we do not provide information about local jurisdictions (city, town, county, etc.) where regulations may be more restrictive, especially as it applies to discharge of firearms, transport of animals or use of trapping equipment. Contact your local city or county government to inquire further. No guarantee is made that information (or lack of information) associated with a species or control technique is completely accurate or current. You should become familiar with federal, state and local laws before beginning any wildlife control activities.

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