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discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

Posted by Raq_ 9 (My Page) on
Sat, Oct 12, 13 at 4:13

We have a 0.2 acre lot that we are up rooting and replanting. We are on good terms with the neighbors on all 3 sides. One neighbor prairie dogs over the fence to chat, another admitted to prairie dogging to check out our renovation progress, and the back fence is only 5' high so they don't even have to prairie dog to see our yard. I get the distinct impression that if any of these neighbors knew we were trapping squirrels, our relations would not be as friendly. And I get it. I used to feed squirrels in the park, but their destructive and greedy behaviors in our food growing operation have turned liking to loathing. We are at war with the rodents and I think we're surrounded by squirrel sympathizers (and someone close by is feeding them pecans). As far as we know, our war is still a secret and we would like to keep it that way.

Any suggestions on how to trap discreetly with a Kania? Our yard is pretty bare right now, and with fall coming it's going to get worse.

I have scoured the many squirrel posts, if I missed something please point me in the right direction.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

You first need to find out, if there are any local restrictions against trapping squirrels. Unless somehow you can hide the traps from your nosy neighnors, you're going to have to remind them of how destructive squirrels are and how they will ruin your garden. Once you start sharing your harvest with them, they should come around and mind their own business. I use 5 Safeguard traps of various sizes, and so far this year I've bagged 42 squirrels. They can't resist sunflower seeds.


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

The pipe-in-the-water-barrel method might work. You pretend it's a water barrel for watering or something. Neighbors might not recognize its purpose.


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

I've read the code and fortunately the subspecies I'm dealing with can be trapped with only one restriction: they can not be relocated. Kill traps are recommended. The other subspecies can also be trapped with a permit which seems silly since they are hardly a rare species. Bureaucracy must be served. . . I guess. I wouldn't call my neighbor's nosy, just friendly. It's the only neighborhood I've lived in where folks actually talk to each other and know each other by name. I place a high value on that. There are people out there who go irrationally ballistic at the idea of killing cute little fluffy squirrels when you can buy apples at the market and never mind what the growers of those apples are doing to protect their crops. There is no reasoning with some people. If I'm dealing with one of those I could have a feud on my hands. I need to keep my dirty little secret for as long as I can.

rayrose: The Safeguard traps are live traps. Do you dispatch them or relocate them? If dispatch, how? I'm not sure I have the stomach to actively dispatch them. Also softening the neighbors up with sharing is an excellent idea.

ltilton: Love that idea! Rain barrels are on the projects list so it will fit right into the landscape. =D

Thank you both for taking the time to provide your input.


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

I did go through the same thing a few years ago before I bought my Kania trap. I ended up broaching the subject quite timidly to one of my neighbors to the back. To my surprise he had been shooting the squirrels with a BB gun and disposing of them in different trash cans where he knew the city picks the trash up daily. (so as not to have rotting corpses) He was afraid I would be upset if I knew he was killing squirrels! I live in Denver and it is illegal but so far none of my neighbors has had any problem with it.

With trapping squirrels what is need is a lure. if you have a porch or any little alcove in your yard that the neighbors cannot see, or if you can put of a wooden trellis such as is used for clematis, then you can trap to your hearts content.

When I first started reducing the population I used Harvestman's method of plaster of Paris mixed with peanut butter. I noticed that if I even just placed one of these balls on their fence highway for even a moment, the squirrels would stop their running and sniff and smell all around, even to the ground where it had fallen temporarily. IOW, they have great sniffers and this can be used to lure them to a place you can put the traps discreetly. I really like the Kania traps as they are really quick; it's just a big mouse trap and kills instantly.

It is unnecessary to buy any of the squirrel baits as peanut butter is the best and it's inexpensive. I think Harvestman suggested buying the cheap Wal-mart crunchy peanut butter. It works and it's dirt cheap.

P.s. It was the same neighbor who gave me a warning to not touch the dead squirrel as they are riddled with fleas that will leave their host once dead. I suggest bagging the squirrel before it's released from the trap and then quickly tying it closed.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kania


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

Hey, PB,PofP bon bons wasn't my method, it was heralded here by Jellyman but Olpea pretty well debunked it by trapping two squirrels and feeding one of them a diet of plaster of paris laced peanut butter that seemed to do no harm to the squirrel.

In JM.s defense it is a very common method that people all over the world seem to swear by but it didn't work for me and I posted my complaint which inspired olpea's brilliant experiment.

Last year I posted a history of my various methods of protecting fruit from squirrels and I've had reasonable success without having to kill the things, but on my own property they get the shotgun treatment.

Isn't there a way of screening the neighbors ability to see the Kania traps without discouraging the squirrels from approaching them? I can think of several possible ways, myself if there is at least one side no neighbor can view.


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

Harvestman,

I guess I remembered a thread you wrote regarding bon bons. I thought Olpea's experiment was wonderful. After reading that post I decided to get a Kania. I would have been hesitant to put my trap up in neighbors' views but now I don't care. If someone wants to trap and kill, it's easy to get squirrels to go where you want them to go, I guess that was the gist of what I was trying to say.


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

My neighbors often ask how my fruits are doing and I often tell about how frustrating it was when squirrels took all of this or that. So, they know I am having big problems with them and none of the sprays etc I tried worked etc etc. I never heard any complaints about trapping even though they must know I do it since the traps are in fairly visible spots. One thing I do do is mount the trap on the side of the tree away from the street, and generally avoid having the dead body on open display. If you don't have a good tree you can build a pole mount for the same effect: screw the trap to a piece of plywood hanging below the trap so the body won't be visible.

Scott


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

You will be trapping squirrels forever...... every animal has their own territory and when you remove the squirrels from your property, you open up that space for more squirrels to move into.....a never ending cycle!
Also...people who take squirrels to another locations and let them go think that they are being humane...it is the exact opposite......what they are doing, it dropping them out on another squirrels territory and the newly arrived squirrel is chased out, killed or injured while trying to find its own place to live....a very cruel practice....
I have worked in the research areas of animal interaction, movements and territories, so I do know what I'm talking about (not a tree hugger type, flying off the handle....)
Better to live with nature than fight it everytime that it interfers with people......time to start changing attitudes towards nature I think.......


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

ians_gardener,

I would agree with you except for the fact that squirrels in an urban or suburban setting are not really in a natural habitat. Their numbers are allowed to soar simply because there are few, if any, predators.

I understand what you are saying about territory and you are right on IMO. I have done Trap-Neuter-Return with feral cat colonies and this is one reason it is better to return the cats to their own territory. Even so, the population of feral cats is not kept in track without natural predators.

This subject truly has been discussed ad nauseam in past threads. I suggest we keep to the subject about "discreet" trapping.


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

..but, when you have too many it becomes a pest.


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

ians_gardener,

It's probable that you meant no challenge to others. Please take no personal offense. But it feels pretty presumptuous that someone would suggest that everyone who disagrees with them should change their attitudes. The written word leaves much room for interpretation. You didn't really mean that, did you?


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

Raq, you may want to consider a rodenticide like Just one bite. This method is much more efficient than Kania or live trapping and very easy to keep out of the view of inquisitive neighbors.


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

I hung Just One Bite in plastic bags from trees squirrels were foraging in and never got a taker. Had to at least use plastic bags to discourage birds. When squirrels were epidemic here one year I mixed a legal rodentcide for squirrels in NY mixed with oatmeal and sunflower seeds and managed to kill a couple, perhaps, (found a dead one with no apparent wounds) but put no dent in the population or the stripping of the crop.

With squirrels I have found what works at one site may not work at another. My squirrels aren't suburbanites. They are fearful creatures and extremely careful. They leave the area when they see me unlike the squirrels at many sites I work.

I find them very reluctant to go into traps but haven't spent a great deal of time refining the art, so maybe I just don't know what I'm doing. Always get my woodchucks and coons via trap, though. I move them to another site- vermin heaven.


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

IANs, every thing you are doing when you garden is an effort to maintain an "unnatural balance" for your own advantage over other species and in essence, battling the will of Mother Nature. You will also be pulling weeds forever, perhaps fighting acidity or alkalinity forever, creating a beneficial nutritional balance for your plants forever.

Gardeners can love nature, respect nature, learn from nature, but the gardener that stops fighting nature is a gardener no more.


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

If the squirrel is in one of the smaller traps, I drown them in a garbage barrel that I keep with rainwater for my blueberry's. If it's a larger trap, I shoot them in the back of the neck with an air rifle. It's the kill spot and they go into a death roll and die fairly quickly. Sometimes I shoot them with the rifle, but they are really hard to sneak up on.
You may be skittish about dispatching the varmints, but trust me, you;ll get over it very quickly. Relocating is a waste of time, because they'll come back or another one will take its place. We call them tree rats, and they serve no real purpose in nature, except being part of the food chain.
As far as using different baits, I've tried them all, and for me, nothing works better than sunflower seeds. Every year I keep a score sheet as to how many varmints that I either trap or shoot, and this year has been a banner year for squirrels So far this year;

Squirrels 42
Possums 11
Rabbits 6
Cats 2
Raccoons 0 (Big Surpise)


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

No raccoons has been a big surprise here in SE, NY as well. I usually trap and kill a minimum of 20 every year and have never had a year before this one where not a single coon has entered my property in spite of a banner year of fragrant stone fruit. I have a ton of fruit rotting under my trees even now.

The squirrels being historically sparse this year is not so much a mystery as we've had two very low mast years in a row (and amazingly, apparently a third this year) but I don't see how that would hurt coons. Never thought they even ate acorns.

Aren't many skunks or any possums either.


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

Squirrels were overabundant here this year, until the hawks went at them. Now there are a few, but they haven't been a problem. I'm convinced that some varmints are more trouble than others,

There was one getting into the vegetable garden and gnawing on the squash earlier in the summer. Once that one was gone, the rest have behaved themselves. They don't bother me, I don't bother them.

Hoping for a good hawk harvest next year, too.


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

When we bought this property I would see upwards of a dozen squirrels in the front yard most mornings sometimes many more than that. Using a rifle and years of thinning the numbers have been greatly reduced so the idea that you can't control them is silly.

I have to agree with Harvestman on the one bite...mine would not touch them either.

There are very easy ways to poison the squirrels using peanut butter but I am not comfortable posting what to use but will post the way to keep it safe from dogs as it would kill them as well. You take a pecan and cut it in half, either length wise or across the middle does not matter. Hollow it out then drill a small hole in each end. Put fishing line through the holes and tie a small washer or nut to the end. If you use the new super braid line as squirrels can't break or chew through the stuff. You fill the inside of the pecan with the peanut butter "mix" and put the two sides together, the sticky PB holds it together. The squirrel has to pull the nut apart to get the goodies but until then it is safe from the birds. Tie the lines to a nail in the tree. A very small shelf attached to the tree works well also, tie the lines to the shelf just make sure it is high enough that dogs can't get to it. To anyone looking in to your yard it looks like you are feeding the squirrels. Note that the squirrel will be dead right under the bait, works very fast. It is also probably (almost certainly) illegal. The friend who does this has had as many as 6 squirrels a day dead under the tree. I don't do it as the hawks we have here are so plentiful that I am afraid they will eat the flopping near dead squirrels and poison themselves.

Far as hiding your trap it should not be that hard to disguise a havahart type trap and as mentioned sunflower seeds are the ticket.


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

  • Posted by bob_z6 6b/7a SW CT (My Page) on
    Sun, Oct 13, 13 at 11:50

I'm surprised you haven't been getting racoons this year. I've caught 6, some very large. That includes one which went in a trap without bait. After disposing of its previous occupant, I had set it up, but then decided not to bait it, as I was getting tired of digging. In the same time, I've only caught a couple squirrels.


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Sun, Oct 13, 13 at 11:58

"Gardeners can love nature, respect nature, learn from nature, but the gardener that stops fighting nature is a gardener no more."

That statement sums up so much of what I believe about growing food, just had to comment. Pure poetry.


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

Thanks, Olpea.

Thanks, BR, I just copied your baiting method- ingenious.


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

Hawks, dogs, foxes ...

Any kind of poison that works secondarily.


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

My sister is a vet in a region where there is a large Norway rat problem and she's told me incidents of secondary poisoning are pretty rare. It seems approved compounds have come through a registration process where this is an important consideration.

Commercial growers tend to use vast quantities of rodentcide. Main issue is unintended animals taking the bait directly- if it's a dog, the most common poison used here has vitamin K as an antidote so as long as owner knows the pet has eaten the poison the animal can be saved even before the onset of symptoms.


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

bamboo_rabbit,

Yes, very ingenious!


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

Buy your next door neighbors each a nice apricot tree and guide their progress.

Once squirrels start ruining the 'cots your neighbors will be asking you how to get rid of the squirrels, one can hope.


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

I've found Just one bite to be a favorite among my squirrels at two different sites. The blocks have central holes allowing a wire to be run to discourage removal of the bait by the animals. The blocks are quickly gnawed down and no carcasses are seen, but the frequency of observation of squirrels in the orchard quickly decreases. Not to be used in an area where pet dogs roam. The bait needs to be protected from rain with an overlying shield. In the past I've looked at the LD50 for birds and as I recall the information out there points to very high levels. Of course each bird species may be different in this respect.The whole setup takes maybe a half hour to an hour of labor per month; I've found the other methods take much more time, are never as effective, and you're left with lots of bodies - live and dead- to deal with.


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

Thanks everyone for the creative input! Once the trees and plants start to bush out, it'll be easier to hide the traps. I was thinking about getting some of that camo netting to help hide the traps once there's more green in the landscape.

milehighgirl
Thanks for helping to keep the thread on topic. I was concerned when I posted that it could degrade into a moral &/or biological debate/argument. I have used a plaster/cornmeal mix with success for the standard variety rat, but if I remember right the victim has to drink water soon after consuming the mix for it to work. I've avoided using peanut butter in the tube and Kania traps because it goes rancid too soon and cleanup is a pain. I've used peanuts in a tube trap with good success. I cut the top off a large ziplock bag and rubber band it to one end of the trap then put a trail of peanuts to the back of the trap. The trap is secured to the fence with a screw hook and obscured with a large plywood board leaning against the fence. The nearby apple tree and shed help obscure it too. I got quite a few with this method. I stopped because the tube trap failed to provide a swift kill too many times and I hated dispatching them myself. That and I learned the neighbor on the other side is a possible sympathizer and had no inhibitions about looking over the fence. As far as I can tell, one of them is home all day too. I may start up again as I'm getting more callus and those neighbors spending less time out back in the cooler weather. But, for all I know they already know we trap and don't have a strong enough objection to say anything to us. I haven't engineered a way to adapt this method for the Kania yet. The Kania is more challenging to hide.

rayrose
Good suggestions. Maybe I'll get 1-2 live traps to use out in the open, get over it and dunk the suckers. If anyone asks I'll tell them I let them loose at the park down the street.

air rifles
I may have to get over that too and go this route in addition to trapping. I know nothing about them and I didn't think they were powerful enough to kill a squirrel. Are they relatively quite? Can they take out a raccoon too (no problems with them yet, but I know they're around)?

poisons
Due to the high density of domestic animals, use of poisons are really not an option for me (although the sabotaged pecans. . . priceless). Neighborhood cats patrol the yard and I would hate to have one of them find a tainted body before me or have a sickened squirrel make it into a yard with a dog. My uncle tried the Just One Bite targeting standard and fluffy rats without success. He nailed the bait to the fence and it would disappear but no bodies were found by him or his neighbors. . . and still no peaches to be found either.
harvestman: Good to know that secondary poisoning is not common & that there are products in the pipeline as that addresses my primary concern with using poisons. I hope those products hit the mass market soon!


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

The products I mentioned are available.


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

I should have mentioned that the one I know of with an anecdote is restricted- at least in NY and comes in expensive 40 pound bags.


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

I have a Crossman break barrel air rifle that I bought @ Dick's sporting goods. Walmart sells them also. It shoots a single pellet @ 1200 fps., and has a scope. It's fairly heavy at 8 lbs. and takes some getting used to, but it will take down most any small animal at 50 yards. It's legal to use in my neighborhood, but it's fairly loud. There are houses all around me, and noone has ever complained. I would practice with it in your backyard and sight in the scope. Once you feel confident with the rifle, use it discretely, so noone sees you. I've had mine for so long; I really don't care, if anyone sees me or not. It's legal to use, and I'm just ridding my yard of pests.


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

There are a number of different types of rodenticides that work by different mechanisms but accidental ingestions of just about all the commonly available ones such as from big box stores respond to a Vit K antidote regimen.


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

My rifle of choice:

Benjamin Trail NP XL 1100 in .22 caliber.
Powerful enough to drop a woodchuck in his tracks with 1 well placed shot.
CenterPoint 3-9x AO scope.

.22 caliber, adult air rifle.
Get a beanbag or bench rest, it kicks.
I've taken over 100 between red, grays and chipmunks since May.


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

I also have a a squirrel problem. I have a yard full of fruit and vegetable plants and in anticipation of a large bounty of cherries, tomatoes, peaches, persimmons and berries, at the insistence of my wife, I negotiated an agreement with the bandits (squirrels) to take only their fair share. But these pests are taking more than their share! I thought that they were honorable and would abide by the agreement and they would only take their share, but they have violated that agreement and on top of that; they have recruited my wife to their side, so it is becoming difficult to deal with them. From the look of their fall population, next spring will be much worse. To make matters worse, the squirrels have enlisted the crows and they are feasting together on my persimmons, peaches tomatoes, and berries. I have a live trap that I am going to set this week end and I am going to Walmart to buy an airgun. I told my wife that I intended to show them who is smarter so she should switch sides! She said that from her experience the question of who is smarter had already been answered. What did she mean by that?

This post was edited by CharlieBoring on Tue, Oct 15, 13 at 8:30


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

Charlie,

I think your wife just took the first jab at you. Now, you have to stick to your game plans and get those squirrels. I have fate in you!!

Tony


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

.22's are classified as a firearm and are illegal to use in most residential settings, but air rifles are not.


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

The squirrels around my house are strange. They figured out my dog is gone during the weekends and have ventured into the yard and have dug holes in the raised beds. But apparently they do not like, or have not figured out that berries are edible. I don't think they like raspberries. As I found some half eaten ones twice, but that was weeks ago. None are taken. They were nice enough to dig between the strawberry plants, not disturbing them, or even taking the berries, weird! In the next yard is a Walnut tree, and they seem to be planting them around the neighborhood.
Soon they will be in shock as in 3 weeks, the dog will be home during the weekends, and hopefully will score a rat or two as they may think he is gone...


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

The squirrels in my neighborhood have been digging up large swaths of grass. They seem to select the dead grass and dig it up in patches two feet across. There could be no nuts buried there. My thought is that they are digging for grubs and select the dead grass patches as possible grub areas. Any ideas?


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

Usually coons or skunks dig for grubs, but yeah that could be why! Sure it's not raccoons?


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

CharlieBoring,

Could they be stashing seeds or nuts there? This last spring I found several stashes of peach seeds from the previous spring. I got a few peach seedlings from them too.


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

I've never known squirrels to dig up grass to plant nuts (here their digging holes are small and discreet) but skunks often dig it up, presumably for grubs. If squirrels were doing it you'd see them but skunks work at night.


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

I have seen racoons in the area, so it is possible that the night-time marauders are racoons. I don't believe that there are skunks around. I have found at least 10 spots in my yard and the neighbor's.


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

A way to stop it is to treat for the grubs. Of course the synthetic poisons work best, but you can buy nematodes too. You have to treat certain times of the year, nothing you can do now but join in and grab a few grubs for yourself :-]


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

Don't waste your money on Kania 2000 trap, it does not work.


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

jianhuayegreentree,

A blanket statement like that does not help anyone wanting to deal with their squirrel population. But since you have resurrected the thread I will say that I was able to thin the population with my Kania by about 30 squirrels this winter. It works quite well in my book and I recommend it highly.


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

I bought the product two years ago. It did not catch any squirrel. Maybe squirrels in my area are too smart.


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RE: discreet squirrel trapping - suggestions?

What did you use for bait? I have found that nothing works well except peanut butter. I put a tiny smear above the trap and below so they will get interested and then that draws them in. Crunchy works best and Wal-mart's cheapest does fine.


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