When you set out a cage trap to catch an animal, the last thing you want to do is injure or kill it. That's why it's important to know where to relocate the animal after you've caught it. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the best places to release a captured animal in a cage trap.
Ideally, you are reading this article before you have captured an animal in a trap; you are meant to have a plan from start to finish before relocating a nuisance or pest animal. If you are trying to find out where the animal should be released while following U.S. laws and regulations, there are various options.
Where You Can Relocate Catch-and-Release Animals
Before you relocate an animal, there is one important consideration to take in mind. You will first have to determine if the animal is injured for any reason. Even if the animal was not previously injured, you will want to inspect it from a close distance and try not to cause it unnecessary stress. Look for signs of injury like blood, swelling, or limping. If the animal is injured and you release it in an area where it won't be able to find food or water, then you are doing more harm than good.
In the case that the animal has been injured, you will want to refer its relocation to option #1:
1) Wildlife Rehabilitator or Veterinarian
Contact a wildlife rehabilitator or veterinarian to help get an injured animal back on its feet. Not all wildlife rehabilitators and veterinarians are properly equipped to handle certain animals, so do not be discouraged if they turn you away.
In the case that the nearest location is far away from you, or if the animal is not injured, you can proceed to option #2:
2) Local Animal Control or Humane Society
Animal control or humane society will know where to relocate the animal. Initially, they will also be able to provide you with information on how to properly trap animals. Before you begin trapping, it is ideal to either contact them or your state's wildlife department for clarity on the local laws and regulations.
In many cases, they will simply take the animal from you. That's why before you trap and surrender the animal to them, it is important to confirm with them that it is legal; you could face trouble for capturing an endangered species.
If there is no humane society or animal control near you, your last resort is option #3:
3) Release into the Wild
If the animal appears healthy and you are releasing it without any assistance, you'll need to find an appropriate place to release it while complying with laws and regulations.
Before you envision the spot you want to pick, keep these rules in mind first:
- Never relocate an animal across state lines. This is just asking for trouble; most of the time it is illegal and for good reasons. Not only can it disrupt the natural ecosystem, but the animal may not be able to find its source of food.
- You cannot release an animal on private land without permission. This includes federal, state, and municipal land. You cannot release it into a national or state park, either. Make sure it is on public land; you could be in serious legal trouble if caught.
- Try to release as close a distance as reasonably possible to the capture site. Taking the animal too far still puts it at risk of not being able to survive in its new environment. Ideally, try to keep it within a five to ten-mile radius.
- Make sure it is legal in your state to release the captured animal.
Once you confirm you are within legal rights to release the animal on your own, here's what to check for when you arrive with the animal at your location:
- Choose an open area with plenty of space for the animal to run away.
- Make sure there are no people or pets in the area.
- Release the animal near water if possible.
- Leave the trap open so the animal can escape.
If everything looks good, give the animal a few minutes to orient itself before leaving it alone.
It is important to remember that if you are releasing an animal into the wild without assistance, it is up to you to make sure the environment is safe and conducive to its survival.
If you have caught an animal in a catch and release cage trap, there are many options for what to do with it. You can contact a wildlife rehabilitator or veterinarian, animal control or humane society, or release it into the wild yourself. Before you even begin to trap the animal, just make sure you are aware of your state's laws and regulations.