MADISON – Reports from property owners in many corners of Wisconsin suggest raccoon populations are large enough to cause nuisance problems in some areas. While there are methods for dealing with “critters,” property owners are reminded that there are no poisons approved for use on raccoons.
“If you have a problem raccoon family in your attic, walls, shed or barn, I know how frustrating it can be. Cute, maybe, but destructive, for sure. Most people are looking for humane ways to deal with them,” said Brad Koele, wildlife damage specialist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Depending on the situation there are a number of alternatives property owners can choose from when dealing with raccoons. Removing food sources, harassment, exclusion, and live trapping and relocation are all non-lethal options to consider.
“There are no legal toxicants or poisons approved for use on raccoons and it’s against both state and federal law to use pesticides such as fly bait and rat poison in a manner inconsistent with package labeling,” Koele said. “Non-target animals like the family pet dog or cat, or other wildlife may ingest the poison.”
Anyone relocating animals must have the landowner’s permission when releasing the animal on private property. Live trapped animals cannot be released on DNR owned or managed properties. In areas where the discharge of a firearm is not legal, live trapping is the legal alternative.
“If you are experiencing problems with raccoons and need assistance removing the animal, contact a local wildlife control operator. DNR does not remove raccoons for landowners,” Koele said.
If lethal control is needed, trapping and shooting are options. State law allows landowners or occupants of land of legal age to trap or shoot raccoons year-round and without a hunting or trapping license with the exception of the 24-hour period preceding the gun deer season.
Anyone conducting removal efforts on behalf of the landowner must possess a valid trapping license if they are trapping the raccoons or a valid small game license if they are removing raccoons by shooting and in both cases must have written permission from the landowner. Individuals must also follow all other trapping and hunting regulations.
For assistance on how to deal with nuisance wildlife go to dnr.wi.gov and search “nuisance wildlife.” This webpage also has a link to the Wisconsin Trappers Association’s Nuisance Wild Animal Removal Handbook which includes a list of trappers around the state who can help with animal removal.
For more information on dealing with raccoons and other wildlife causing problems search for "nuisance wildlife," on the DNR website.