How to live trap and remove a problem porcupine in New Hampshire | Porcupine

How to live trap and remove a problem porcupine

Step 1

Photo accompanying step 1

You can live trap a porcupine using a wire cage trap or wooden box trap with minimum dimensions of 10-inches x 12-inches x 32-inches. Set the trap at the base of a large tree near the damage site.

Note that you may encounter a mother and baby porcupine together any time of year. Porcupine young may nurse for up to four months, and while some may disperse as early as five months. Others may remain with their mother for an entire year.

Porcupines seek out salt to fill natural deficiencies in their diet. If you are attempting to trap a porcupine, try setting a trap with a salty bait.

Some bait options include:

  • Saltwater soaked wood or leather
  • Veggie scraps such as pumpkin, carrot, or turnip
  • Salt mixed with cooking oil

Make sure to check the trap at least twice per day, and more frequently if possible.

  • A trapped animal typically becomes stressed very quickly.
    • They quickly become weak and dehydrated without food or water.
  • If outdoors, the animal may be exposed to extreme heat or cold, and weather
  • Try to set outdoor traps on days with mild weather, and set a wooden board on top of the trap to prevent excess heat exposure. The board will also offer some protection from the rain should the weather turn.

Remember that while you may be setting a trap for a porcupine, you may, in fact, trap other animals as well. Use caution in releasing any accidental-catches. If the wild animal you catch appears sick or injured, call your local wildlife department, a veterinarian, or wildlife rehabilitator to advise.

Additionally, before releasing a captured porcupine, call your local wildlife department to see if you are allowed to translocate. Otherwise, release on a property and make the proper changes, like creating exclusions around sheds and decks to prevent the porcupine from returning.

Remember that relocating a porcupine beyond the area it was found may not be legal in your area. Check local regulations before attempting this.

Step 2

Photo accompanying step 2

Before you try to trap a porcupine, take proper precautions. Porcupine quills are sharp, and professionals often wear thick kevlar gloves while handling porcupines, even if the porcupines are injured or ill. Do not try to handle porcupines.

If you or your pet get stuck with quills, call your doctor or veterinarian. While it is rare, porcupines can contract rabies, so report any bites or scratches immediately.

Have a plan before you put out a cage trap - New Hampshire

Have a plan before you put out a cage trap

Know what you are going to do with the animal if you catch it

Many homeowners try to resolve wildlife conflicts by using cage traps (such as Havahart® traps) that catch but do not kill the animal. Cage traps can be effective wildlife management tools, but here's the "catch" — before you set that trap, you need to have a PLAN for what you are going to do with the animal and how you are going to do it. It's easy to set a trap, but not so simple to determine how and where to release the animal. Consider these tips BEFORE you set a trap:

  • Call USDA Wildlife Services at (603) 223-6832 for advice on dealing with nuisance animals. Their trained staff will guide you to a workable solution.
  • If Wildlife Services is not able to resolve your problem, they can refer you to a licensed Wildlife Control Operator (WCO) who can resolve the problem for a fee. Some WCOs will pick up trapped animals for a fee. Make arrangements in advance – BEFORE you set a trap.
  • The NH Fish and Game Department does not lend out traps due to the potential for injury from bites, scratches, and disease exposure.
  • NH Fish and Game personnel are not generally available to relocate or remove trapped animals. Responsibility for the transport and release of trapped animals falls to the person who sets the trap. Note that the potential for the inadvertent capture of a skunk is high and that handling skunks requires special skills and an action plan.
  • Individuals handling or transporting wildlife should take precautions to avoid potential disease exposure. For safety reasons and to avoid spreading a disease to a new area, sick animals should not be transported.
  • Do not physically handle a trapped animal or expose yourself to animal bodily fluids, including saliva; this can expose you to wildlife diseases such as rabies.
  • Consider where you place the cage. During summer months, traps should be placed in shaded areas to avoid overheating. During winter months, traps should be protected from wind, snow and excessive low temperatures.
  • Do not leave an animal confined in a cage trap, especially if exposed to heat or cold.
  • Check traps frequently to minimize trauma to captured animals. At a minimum, traps should be checked at dusk and dawn.​

To sum things up, if you are experiencing problems with nuisance wildlife, make sure you have a plan before you employ a cage trap. Know the answer to this question: What am I going to do with this animal if I trap it and how am I going to do it?

Laws and regulations to be aware of

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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