Problems with Trapping Wildlife

Trapping is indiscriminate, inhumane, ineffective, and expensive.

The common but old-fashioned idea that removing a few animals will resolve an attractant issue is a myth. If something is attractive to one animal, it will be attractive to other animals. It simply isn’t possible to remove all of the animals whose 2-5 mile territory traverses your property at some point, nor desirable, as they provide us with free rodent control. Also you may be paying to kill animals who have dependent young that would be left to die. Animals that have done nothing to bother you may be trapped and killed at your expense. Relocating wildlife is not legal in California, so trappers will kill animals they remove from your property.

Trapping Laws

California Fish and Game Code (CCR 679) states that trapped wildlife may not be relocated. Trapped wildlife must be immediately killed or released in the immediate area, defined in CDFG policy as the property on which the animal was trapped (not your neighbor’s property or a nearby park). This would not be effective anyway, as it is still within the animal’s natural territory. And, you probably wouldn’t like to live next to the local park if everyone was dropping off wildlife there, would you?

Laws and regulations when trapping for profit to alleviate animal damage and remove wildlife:

  • A trapper must either euthanize a trapped animal or release it immediately on site (T 14 CCR Sect. 465.5)
  • Trapping license is required if working for an animal damage/nuisance wildlife control company (Fish and Game Code Section 4005)
  • You must have your trapping license in your immediate possession while trapping for either commercial fur or nuisance wildlife control purposes (FGC Sect. 1054.2)
  • Cage and box traps, nets, suitcase-type live beaver traps, and common rat and mouse traps are not considered body-gripping traps (Title 14 California Code of Regulations Section 465.5)
  • Leg-hold traps may be used only to protect human health or safety, and only by government agencies (T 14 CCR Sect. 465.5)
  • Body-gripping traps may be used to prevent property damage (T 14 CCR Sect. 465.5)
  • Poison is not an authorized method of take (T 14 CCR Sect. 465.5 & 475)
  • Steel-jawed leg-hold traps are prohibited (T 14 CCR Sect. 465.5)
  • Traps must be inspected and trapped animals removed at least once daily (T 14 CCR Sect. 465.5)
  • It is illegal to set or maintain traps which do not bear a number or other identifying mark registered to the department (T 14 CCR Sect. 465.5)
  • A trapper may not set a trap within 150 yards of any structure used as a permanent or temporary residence, unless such traps are set by a person controlling such property or by a person who has and is carrying with him written consent of the landowner to so place the trap or traps (T 14 CCR Sect. 465.5)
  • Depredating fur-bearing or nongame mammals, taken by trapping, may not be bought or sold (T 14 CCR Sect. 465.5)
  • The pelts of animals taken with body-gripping traps may not be sold (T 14 CCR Sect. 465.5)
  • A trapping license may be revoked for a violation of the trapping laws and regulations (FGC Sect. 4043)
  • Fur-bearing and/or nongame mammals that are injuring property may be taken at any time and/or in any manner (FGC Sect. 4152 & 4180)
    (a) General Prohibition on Possession of Wildlife. Except as proved in subsection (b) below or as otherwise authorized, it is unlawful for any person to possess any live game mammal or bird, nongame mammal or bird, furbearer, reptile or amphibian.(CCR 679)
    (b) Temporary Confinement of Wildlife. Except for big game mammals listed in Section 350, Title 14, CCR, injured, diseased or orphaned animals may be temporarily confined by persons if they notify the nearest regional office of the department within forty-eight (48) hours of finding or confining such wildlife. Notification shall include name and address; the species of wildlife and a description of its injury, disease or condition; the date and location the wildlife was found; and the location where the wildlife is confined. Confined animals must be disposed of pursuant to department direction, including placement in a department-approved wildlife rehabilitation facility. (Department offices: Region 1 (Redding), (916) 225-2300, Region 2 (Rancho Cordova), (916) 355-0978, Region 3 (Yountville), (707) 944-5500, Region 4 (Fresno), (209) 222-3761, Region 5 (Long Beach), (310) 590-5132)(CCR 679)