Author Topic: Dispatching Trapped Animals  (Read 1117 times)

Offline birdstew

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Dispatching Trapped Animals
« on: February 10, 2021, 07:07:34 PM »
My son received this email today. My guess would be using Catch Pole?

Good afternoon,

You are receiving this email because you completed the trapper education course within the past year.

WDFW staff members have reached out to me about a couple trappers who dispatched trapped animals in ways not covered in the trapping manual this season. Below is a reminder about how we cover dispatching trapped animals to hopefully make it easier for you as a new trapper and keep you from having a negative contact with our enforcement staff.

Hopefully you are having a good trapping season and staying safe!

Dispatching Trapped Animals

Due to the nature of the issue and public perception, it is imperative that hunters and trappers use humane methods to dispatch animals. Most of the public does not want to see animals dispatched. Keep this in mind and try to dispatch animals out of sight when in areas with other people. It is illegal to move the trapped animal off of the property in which it was trapped, but you might be able to move to a more secluded part of the property to dispatch the trapped animal.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has published guidelines for the humane euthanasia of animals. Most of the guidelines are intended for euthanasia of domestic animals in a lab or vets office. The AVMA recommendations applicable to the trapline include shooting with a small caliber firearm (usually a .22), the use of gas, or cervical dislocation of the spinal column. While these are standard methods of dispatching most trapped animals, there may be legal or practical situations where they may not be directly applicable.

For large land animals such as badger, bobcat, red fox, and raccoon, the preferred method is to shoot the animal in the head. Proper placement of the bullet to dispatch furbearers is paramount. Draw a line from the outside corners of the eye to the inside corner of the opposite ear. Aim for the intersection of the two lines (red dot), with a very slight downward angle towards the back of the neck.

The use of carbon dioxide gas (CO2) is a common method. The animal in the trap is placed in a solid box large enough for the animal and the trap. After the lid is placed on the box, the box is filled with CO2 through a hose from a CO2 canister. CO2 is odorless, colorless, and heavier then air. The gas in the box will displace the air and the animal will usually become unconscious in less than a minute. More time will be required for death to occur.

 Animals such as beaver, otter, mink, and muskrat are generally trapped in non-body gripping kill sets that trap the animals under water. These traps are legal in Washington State as long as the trap does not grip the animal’s body, and once trapped, the animal cannot reach the surface again.

Small land animals such as marten, long-tailed weasels, and short-tailed weasels may be euthanized by cervical dislocation of the spinal column. Using leather gloves to avoid bites, this method involves bending the neck back far enough to dislocate the spinal cord and cause instant death.

If you would like more information on humane euthanasia, review the AVMA’s guidelines for the euthanasia of animals online at

Kris Thorson

Hunter Education Division Specialist

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

PO Box 43141, Olympia WA 98504


Offline Loup Loup

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Re: Dispatching Trapped Animals
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2021, 07:35:49 PM »
Thanks for posting this birdstew.
I would like to know more about how this instance came about, but, I don't want to hear about it via the Internet.
From your post I commend WDFW for attempting to nip this in the bud through education, versus punitive measures. Thank you WDFW!

I have asked for years that this site quit allowing posting of dispatch methods or non targets. I know some people want to post anything they want and the heck with anybody that doesent agree, or understand the post or technique discribed.
Well I for one do not give a rats patoot about the fish you caught in your swimthrough. I don't give a rip about how far you can pitch any animal into a ditch without skinning it. I shake my head whenever I read how proud some nimrod is by how badly they can blow up a coyote with their ultra mag. These things dont impress anybody who has been around for awhile.
Our enemies are on this site harvesting arrows for their quivers to use whenever, wherever they want.
The Internet will be the death of our way of life.

Again Thankyou birdstew. Hope I didnt derail your post too bad.

Offline Magnum_Willys

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Re: Dispatching Trapped Animals
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2021, 07:53:30 PM »
Back in the old days I used a 330 Conibear on a pole......... humane and effective.   .22 properly placed probably best. 

Offline callturner

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Re: Dispatching Trapped Animals
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2021, 08:31:40 PM »
I asked a member in a PM a similar question this AM, only because the animal was so clean . 22 was the answer I goy.

Offline Loup Loup

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Re: Dispatching Trapped Animals
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2021, 08:43:19 PM »
An experienced predator, whether it be a coyote, mink, or human kills it's prey quickly, with little or no outward signs of trauma. A novice predator makes a mess of it's prey.

Offline Skyvalhunter

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Re: Dispatching Trapped Animals
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2021, 05:19:06 AM »
Seems to me now the WDFW is more concerned about the public and their, viewing, perception, etc. than how the trapping society is treated.

Offline Humptulips

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Re: Dispatching Trapped Animals
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2021, 04:41:57 PM »
I disagree with WDFW often but by fostering a positive perception of trapping they do trappers a favor. Dispatch is something that there is no reason to flaunt. I see nothing out of line with Chris's letter.
Bruce Vandervort

Offline wags

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Re: Dispatching Trapped Animals
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2021, 03:00:39 PM »
" dislocate the spinal cord and cause instant death."
Hmm, I bet I could do that pretty efficiently with a Belisle body grip trap right from the outset thereby eliminating stress to the animal that results from first catching it in a cage trap. 
But that would make too much sense; something this State greatly lacks.


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