2018 Varmint Report

It’s that time again. This year I’ve noticed a much reduced
population in most categories, especially raccoons, of which I had
none. I keep 5 safeguard traps, in two sizes, usually baited with
sunflower seeds. I noticed a number of animals were trapped in
unbaited traps. They must have thought the traps were some type
of shelter. Instead of reposting the results over many years I’ve
been doing this, you can search the archives. Last year’s report
has all of the previous years numbers. I also have an air rifle, which
I used to bag most of the rabbits. I live in a residential area on a 1/3
acre lot.

Squirrels 30, Rabbits 5, Opossums 2


Thanks Ray, I enjoy reading your reports. I’ve not had much of a problem with varmints like you mention until I started growing fruit. Rarely would they bother my veggies. But these last 3 years it has been a big challenge in which I have become fully engaged. Just in December, 2 raccoons, 6 squirrels and about 6 rodents (not sure what they are, but they like peanut butter)
So I have a few questions:
We are in the same zone. When do you find raccoons and opossums go into hibernation?
Are you not bothered by ground rodents, like voles and moles? Voles seem to be a big challenge to trap.

Nice. That’s the kind of trap I need. :blush: Please, what kind and size traps were these?

Hello, you live in close proximity to neighbors, like myself. I had been having a heck of a time figuring out how to dispatch squirrels once they had gotten into my havaheart trap. I am encouraged to see that you use an air rifle. Does it make much noise? I dont want to alarm any neighbors. Also, does it kill with a single shot, close range? I drowned the first one i caught but i also live in the frozen north, so it’s hard to always have that much liquid water at the ready.

Anne, the biggest trap I use is 36x11x12, and will accommodate
the larger animals. I use a smaller size for squirrels. I’ve found
that Safeguard traps are the most reliable, never rust, and are
fool proof. Some animals are smart and can figure out how to
reach over the spring trap door and reach the bait. So I solved
this problem by placing an old license plate over the trap door.
This forces the animals to step on the plate and the trap is sprung.
Once the animal is in the trap, there is no way it can get out.

I’ve never had voles or moles, so I can’t provide any answers. This
year, I expanded my fig orchard and have had problems with rats or
mice eating my figs. I’ve placed rat poison in a number of areas and hopefully that will solve the problem. I never knew that rat poison was so hard to find. Mouse traps don’t work, and I’d have to buy numerous
small rodent traps, so I’ve drawn the line with what I have.

I’ve trapped possums in the dead of winter, so I don’t know about hibernation

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See if this helps, Katie:


That’s a very novel solution! I would never have thought to do that.

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I keep a wheel barrow filled with water. The small cage fits
perfectly inside of it and the animal drowns quickly. The larger
trap won’t fit entirely, so I place it upside down in the wheel barrow
and it severely limits the mobility of the animal. Once it settles down,
it’s an easy shot from point blank range. Air rifles are allowed in my
county, and the one I use can be loud, if there’s no background noise.
Mark has a unique method that obviously works well for him. You’ll find
what works best for you. The main thing is to permanently get rid of
the animal the quickest way you can.


Good to know. I must be using the wrong bait. What do you use for opossums?

And I’m still curious what kind/size traps were these. And are they out in the open or do you cover them?

Surprisingly both possums were in unbaited traps. All of my traps
are uncovered. I think possums think the trap is like a hole for them
to go into. I use either apples or dead birds as bait for possums and raccoons. I’ve bought all of my traps from Blue Ridge Outdoor Supplies in Virginia.

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I bagged so many squirrels last year that I lost count. On three different days I trapped 5+ squirrels in a single day. I’m sure the count was over 50 total. I hope its a long cold winter so there are not so many next year!

I had good results with squirrelinator, tube, and kania traps. Sometimes one worked better, sometimes another … having a variety of traps is good in my yard.


Was last year the first year that you started trapping/killing? That’s a huge amount of squirrels!

I’m having a problem right now with my havaheart trap freezing. Might have to try something different that’s been suggested. I watched some YouTubes about making snares, but I wouldn’t want to catch any of the neighborhood cats by accident.

That’s an issue for me- that, the possibility that my wife might not like seeing dead squirrels hung around here and there.

I wish! I have been at it for at least a dozen years. Its a never-ending game unfortunately.


We battle pocket gophers here. Traps work on some. Our boys also like waiting for them to pop up and shooting them with downloaded 22’s. Some are just too smart!
We finally broke down and bought a blaster that uses propane and oxygen and ignites it in the tunnel. The advantage to blasting being it collapses the tunnel, preventing a new critter from moving straight in. No matter what you do it is a constant battle. Best thing is to try and have fun with it…or at least enjoy keeping score! Lol

Where I am at Katie that is a low number. I have a tree lined creek that runs along the back of my property and no matter how many I get rid of they just keep coming. I live in a residential neighborhood on just shy of 1 acre and have had many different critters in my yard including 1deer and 1 cayote.

It used to be neat seeing all the animals but now, not so much.

The tube traps to me have been the best solution, just set em and forget em. no need for any other work except disposal of body.


Kmart is going out of business here. Was able to grab a pellet gun today for the varmints. :grin:

i carry a gun but get just a few evil bunnies.
i met a feral cat n couted her for many months til she grew to love me.
rabbits are now extinct around here as she loves the taste.
when she first moved in, a bunny was hopping around the driveway.
drifter got as close as she could, hiding behind a screen of grass. she settled down to wait all day.

eventually, the bunny hopped within reach n drifter lept.
her jaws closed on the back of the bunny’s neck n it was dead.
drifter had a nice lunch.
evil bunnies cost me $300 in ornamental plants n 3 figs in one year.
i love my little killer.


I don’t tolerate cats, because they kill the song birds that
eat all of the insects that attack my orchard and rose garden.
Sometimes they get in my traps, and they go straight to the shelter.
Don’t care whether they’re ferrel or not. We have a leash law in my
county that applies not only to dogs, but also to cats.


I have a million birds on my property, all possible kinds, and they don’t seem to affect the insect pressure in any significant way. Birds are much more interested in eating my fruits than they are in insects, almost any fruit that is not netted is destroyed immediately.

BTW, a cat has zero chance to kill a healthy bird, those killed by cats are weaklings that are doomed anyway.