How to trap and remove squirrels in West Virginia | Tree squirrel

How to trap and remove squirrels

Photo accompanying step 1

Squirrel in a box trap

Use properly sized cage or box traps:

Fox squirrels - 7-inches x 7-inches x 24-inches

Gray and red squirrels - 6-inches x 6-inches x 19-inches

Flying squirrels - 5-inches x 5-inches x 1-inches” with 1/2-inch x 1-inch mesh

Using improperly sized traps for small squirrels can harm the squirrels and allow escape.

Remove other food sources to make your trapping effort more effective.  

Set traps near den holes or along travel routes. Traps placed off the ground should be secured to something solid (e.g. tree branch) and be placed on plywood when on roofs to prevent shingle damage.

Bait traps with apple slices, cracked nuts, or peanut butter.

Pre-bait the traps by tying the doors open for two or three days so squirrels become accustomed to feeding in the traps. Once the squirrels have eaten the bait two or three times, untie the doors and set the trap.

Check the traps twice daily.

Repair any entrances and release trapped squirrels outside.

Female squirrels generally will return for their young. Remove infant squirrel pups by gloved hand or using capture pole/graspers and place outside during daylight, in a cardboard box secured near the sealed entry hole to reunite pups with females.

Translocation of squirrels is not permitted in many states due to disease concerns and low survivorship.  Release squirrels in your yard after taking action to minimize future problems.

Never try to grab an adult squirrel with a gloved hand. They will bite through most leather gloves, causing injury. 

Assistance in West Virginia

Contact the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources for a list of licensed Animal Damage Control agents in your area who can assist with animal removal, damage, damage prevention, and clean up.  Be aware that they charge for their services.  Your local Division of Natural Resources office can provide guidance regarding nuisance wildlife.  They can also provide you with a permit to remove or destroy certain animals, and advice on how to do so, if it is necessary or desirable for you to trap or shoot animals yourself.  Federally protected species require additional permits as noted if necessary.

West Virginia Division of Natural Resources district offices:    

District 1       Farmington              304 825-6787

District 2       Romney                   304 822-3551                                                                                                                           

District 3       French Creek          304 924-6211

District 4       Beckely                   304 256-6947

District 5       Alum Creek             304 756-1023

District 6       Parkersburg            304 420-4550

Op Center    Elkins                      304 637-0245

Trapped animals must be humanely dispatched.  They may not be relocated without prior approval from West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.

Laws and regulations to be aware of

Regulations for West Virginia

Trapping, Shooting, Keeping in Captivity, and Moving Wildlife

Trapping, Keeping in Captivity, and Moving Wildlife in West Virginia

In West Virginia, it is illegal to trap or shoot nuisance wild animals without a nuisance wildlife permit.  No permit is needed for game animals and furbearers during legal harvest seasons by hunting/trapping license holders using legal means.

It is illegal to keep wild animals in captivity.  It is illegal to move wild animals from one location to another without prior approval from West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.


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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