Humane Killing Methods
If you use restraining devices, you must be able to kill a trapped furbearer safely and humanely.
- The best method is to shoot the animal in the head with a .22-caliber firearm. Aim between the eyes and up a little.
- If the animal has bitten someone or if you have reason to suspect rabies, shoot the animal in the heart instead. Always shoot skunks in the heart; these animals can carry the rabies virus without showing any symptoms.
- Lay the animal with its head facing downhill if possible. This will allow the animal to bleed out while you remake the set.
- For the ride home, lay the animal on newspapers.
- When you use a firearm to dispatch trapped animals, you should know and follow all firearm safety rules.
- If you are not able to carry a firearm on the trapline, you will have to dispatch animals using a different method. One way is to strike smaller furbearers, such as raccoon, opossum, and fox, at the base of the skull with a heavy wooden or metal tool.
Always decide and plan how you will dispatch animals before setting your traps.
Firearms Safety Rules
If you use a firearm to dispatch trapped animals, follow these safety guidelines.
- Keep the firearm unloaded until you are ready to use it.
- When you shoot at an animal in a trap, be aware that bullets could ricochet off the trap or nearby rocks. Ask any companions to stand behind you.
- Be sure of your target and what is beyond it. Take only safe shots.
- Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction at all times. This is true even if the gun is not loaded.
- Take a hunter education course to learn more about firearm safety.