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Dispatching a Captured Possum Humanely

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  • #21
    We absolutely exterminate ALL possoms that wander on our 20 acre property. P.E.R.I.O.D.! Oh, and I don't have chickens! But I have horses that I care for deeply, and will do my BEST to protect them ANY WAY I CAN!

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    • #22
      I'm sure that nature has a use for possums, however...

      it seems that that purpose is to be killed by an automobile and be buzzard/crow food. Ok, everyone/thing has a use.

      Two weeks ago, about 10pm, I look out my bedroom window and I see what appears (in the dark) to be a huge raccoon, that is lurching across the lawn towards the barn. I immediately thought it had been hit by a car, got the rifle and headed out the door. In my robe and danskos. As I approached "it", I realized what I thought was an injured raccoon, was in fact, the Biggest, most Obese Possum I have ever seen. The "lurching along" was because, like Jabba the Hut, his belly was so big, it drug the ground and his unusual gait was so he could swing it out of his way. I took a quick first shot, because we're near the freeway I have to be careful what's behind what I'm shooting at. Hit him, but since he was going away from me, it was not fatal, he was however, bleeding. He went into the barn, lights are at the far end. I go to the far end, turn on the lights, and sitting up on the table where the barn cat's food is, was ANOTHER possum. Sitting up, hissing at me. It was not his lucky day, one shot, dead instantly. So now, I have to follow the blood trail to find the first one, who was in a very inconvenient spot, but one he had no escape from, so second shot, second kill. Both were adult males, the "fat" one was the most disgusting thing I'd ever seen, I'm guessing he weighed over 20lbs, his head was twice the size of a regular possum and his teeth were enormous. The neighbor next door feeds a colony of feral cats and apparently, also fed Fatty McButterpants, the possum.

      This thing would not have fit in a possum sized trap, and if somehow he had fit, I wouldn't have been able to pick the trap up without risking a bite. No thank you.

      Unfortunately for both humans and wildlife, we have encroached on their territory and they have adapted by eating either poultry or whatever food we leave out for the outdoor animals. I wish they could read the "dear furry little woodland creature, all animals that come to eat, defecate and destroy without invitation will be shot and thrown out for the buzzards" signs, but so far they have just ignored them.

      The only natural predators they have in this area are cars. There are far too many and they are just nasty, dirty, stinky disease carrying giant rodents.

      They are not endangered and as far as I know there is no "Opossum Rescue" group. Sorry.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #23
        I'm shocked all the time at how many people say they would not even kill an animal to eat it if they were hungry so I guess I shouldn't be shocked at people who'd rather dump a nuisance animal off somewhere into a strange territory rather than humanely dispatch it somehow. They don't always adjust to a move like that and the stress of handling can be a significant problem to any wild animal.

        I processed 44 broilers today...did every single one myself...these were birds for food and for our farm business and I'm just now finishing...started early this am...and still have evening farm chores to do before dark. I seriously did not have time to spend on dealing with placing Mr. Possum somewhere else when a .02 cent bullet did the trick quickly and painlessly for him.

        I really did post this thread not to upset anyone but to double check at the best and safest way to do this both from firearm's safety and for humane purposes. I don't like to cause unintentional suffering to any animal. I have not had to dispatch one this way before so I wanted to check with others who had. If I called animal control, they would have killed him too after putting him through even more stress and handling...and with wild animals that is worse than a quick end. Please try and put it into perspective.

        If it redeems me in any way, I saved a bunch of baby Starlings from a sure end...and they are not the nicest birds to have around. The parents had nested in the box where my horse trailer LQ power cord is stored. We had to use the trailer for a week long trip, and it would have been a sure death to those baby birds if I had put that cord in there and drove off. So, I dismantled the trailer, pulled each little naked bird out carefully, put them in a horse treats container stuffed with soft dried grass that I cut a hole in and hung them from a nearby tree. I checked on them for two days before we left and was delighted to see the parents decided to take care of them. They fledged last week after we got back and i even posted updates on Facebook. I worried so much over those silly birds. So I'm not a heartless fiend always.

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        • #24
          [QUOTE=pAin't_Misbehavin';7008402]Yeah, I read that part. That's why I said I agreed with getting rid of nuisance wildlife. The last part of the sentence was directed at minnie's vet's assertion that the only good possum is a dead possum. That's why I quoted her post.[/QU


          There are some mighty posters here who probably should read up on their local game laws before posting.

          Many states today, NC and VA definitely among them, strictly forbid the return of any wildlife to the wild.

          If you trap him, you must kill him.

          Comment


          • #25
            Originally posted by MaybeMorgan View Post
            Your vet is an ass.
            Apparently you have never owned a horse with EPM.

            Years before EPM was discovered, I purchased a really nice horse for my daughter.

            Much later the horse became completely useless. Today his symptoms would be recognized as EPM.

            Back then, there was no cure and we had to put him down.

            Ask anyone who has had to treat one.

            Comment


            • #26
              I tend to be a bleeding heart toward animals, do not eat meat, etc.

              That said, where I live (VA) the laws are quite strict about dumping wildlife on public land. And ultimately you can't let them overrun your farm.

              Last year we caught ~15 groundhogs (tunneling under the barn), several possums (living in the barn). I am not a good enough shot to get them out in the open so yes, shot them in the cage, which seemed more humane than subjecting them to a non-lethal shot. I also caught about 50 mice (electric shock traps), sprayed down several wasps' nests, etc. AC dispatched the sick skunk.

              I don't want to kill anything, I hate it every single time, but I really don't know another way to keep your farm from being overrun. I don't understand the judgment on this thread.

              Comment


              • #27
                Every time I have to dispatch a varmint, I make a donation to either a worthy nearby animal rescue or the local open space foundation to help ease my conscience.
                --o0o--

                Comment


                • #28
                  Originally posted by 2ndyrgal View Post

                  The only natural predators they have in this area are cars. There are far too many and they are just nasty, dirty, stinky disease carrying giant rodents.

                  They are not endangered and as far as I know there is no "Opossum Rescue" group. Sorry.
                  They're not rodents. They're the only North American marsupial. And yes, there are loads and loads of possum rehabbers and organizations. My second cousin is on the board of one of them, already linked on this thread, but let me plug it again.
                  I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show

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                  • #29
                    Originally posted by Daydream Believer View Post
                    I'm shocked all the time at how many people say they would not even kill an animal to eat it if they were hungry so I guess I shouldn't be shocked at people who'd rather dump a nuisance animal off somewhere into a strange territory rather than humanely dispatch it somehow. They don't always adjust to a move like that and the stress of handling can be a significant problem to any wild animal.

                    I processed 44 broilers today...did every single one myself...these were birds for food and for our farm business and I'm just now finishing...started early this am...and still have evening farm chores to do before dark. I seriously did not have time to spend on dealing with placing Mr. Possum somewhere else when a .02 cent bullet did the trick quickly and painlessly for him.

                    .
                    I dont really think of animals in terms of being a nuisance to me...I'm probably just as much of a nuisance to them...I think that everything has a right to live and I dont want to exercise my ability to end a life at my whim.

                    I do eat meat but eating less of it and feelng worse about it as I get older..especially after venturing into chicken ownership (for eggs) I never would have imagined how smart and cool chickens are. I honestly like them better than dogs now! I am pretty sure that if I had to kill my own animals that I would never eat meat. I'm kind of torn between the people-are-animals and meat- protein- is- healthy vs. ethics. It sounds weird but I can eat a vegetarian meal and feel good but dont feel entirely good chowing on muscle!

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      In some places, it is illegal to move wildlife.
                      That is, after all, one of the factors that initiated the east coast rabies epizootic...
                      "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                      ...just settin' on the Group W bench.

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        Originally posted by Daydream Believer View Post
                        Good grief people. Grow up...only on this forum would someone mourn the death of a possum that was killing livestock. Do you all say a prayer when you see them dead on the highway too??? My God...it boggles the imagination. As a farmer I have the legal right to protect my livestock...and that includes shooting dogs if I have to. The only protected animals I know of that prey on chickens are hawks and raptors and I know better than to kill one...I have installed aviary netting to protect my chickens from hawks for that reason. My coop is secure and has been until now until this one got the idea to dig under the door...and yes I will take precautions so it doesn't happen again...but sometimes wild animals get accustomed to killing livestock and the best way to deal with them is to kill them as humanely as possible to prevent them from coming back time after time. I could have used poison or some other sort of inhumane method but I did not. He did not suffer OK??? Yes it was a he and I checked before I put it down.

                        I didn't go out hunting him..he came back 5 times to kill chickens and this last time I caught him in the act. If he'd of stayed in the woods eating his natural diet, he would still be alive.

                        I was busy processing chickens all day and working here on the farm and still have a lot of work to do. I don't have time to take a long drive today or tomorrow and burn expensive diesel just to carry a possum far away from my farm. I also have no interest in getting bitten by the creature trying to release it or water it...and yes, they will do just that if they can. If you haven't been up close and personal with one, they have big damn teeth and can be very nasty.
                        I totally agree with the OP! Neighbor leaves garbage in her garage, (that's less than 3' from ours. ) TaDa! Possoms have moved into her garage and are now, at our pool, for water, wandering around the yard, on the roof of the garage-- you get the pic. I don't take prisoners, but, if any of you will pay my gas,(there and back) I'll trap them and bring them to you. At the farm, a possum showing up is a dead possum.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #32
                          Originally posted by saratoga View Post

                          I do eat meat but eating less of it and feelng worse about it as I get older..especially after venturing into chicken ownership (for eggs) I never would have imagined how smart and cool chickens are. I honestly like them better than dogs now! I am pretty sure that if I had to kill my own animals that I would never eat meat. I'm kind of torn between the people-are-animals and meat- protein- is- healthy vs. ethics. It sounds weird but I can eat a vegetarian meal and feel good but dont feel entirely good chowing on muscle!
                          It is just the opposite for me. I have a much better feeling about the animals I consume if I raised them myself and I knew that they lived a good life..ie free range poultry living in fresh air outside, not in a CAFO, were dealt with humanely, processed humanely and raised without antibiotics or hormones. I feel it honors/respects the animal you eat to be willing to make sure of that much at least. If I were not able to do this on my own farm, I'd buy from farmers I know so I would be able to make sure of the above also.

                          I'm a weenie when it comes to dealing with my pets though...I usually have the vet euthanize a horse or dog. I just think of them differently than the food animals raised for that purpose. I can't detach emotionally from them.

                          That possum today I certainly was not attached to in any way but I wanted to send him on his way without suffering. I can process chickens without remorse but I do see that they are handled with the least stress possible. To me, that makes the difference and makes it OK to dispatch them myself. As you know birds are very fragile in many ways, so processing them myself reduces stress immensely and makes it a lot easier on them than if I loaded them up in crates and hauled them for hours for someone else to do it.

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                          • #33
                            Originally posted by pAin't_Misbehavin' View Post
                            They're not rodents. They're the only North American marsupial. And yes, there are loads and loads of possum rehabbers and organizations. My second cousin is on the board of one of them, already linked on this thread, but let me plug it again.
                            I can not help laughing at this post.



                            Rehabbing a possum!!!

                            That makes as much sense as rehabbing mouse or maybe a flea.

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              Originally posted by cssutton View Post
                              I can not help laughing at this post.



                              Rehabbing a possum!!!

                              That makes as much sense as rehabbing mouse or maybe a flea.
                              thye rehab tons of squirrels, too...
                              Originally posted by BigMama1
                              Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
                              GNU Terry Prachett

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                Yes, I know possums are the only North American marsupials, but....

                                simply having a unique way of gestating and raising your young, does not, in my mind, make them any more valuable or special than your average big rat. Hence the rodent reference. We had rats as big as possums in the barn at Balmoral Park in Chicago. You did NOT go out at night without turning on the lights and bringing a .22 to dispatch them with. They were aggressive as hell, not afraid of people or anything else. We come in in the morning to start the day, and there would be a dead, chewed up barn cat in the aisle. I shot every one I saw and NO ONE was anything but thrilled.

                                In the woods, or turned into a fur coat, possums are lovely animals. In my barn, having babies and sh*tting on my hay? Not so much.


                                And I still don't think they are in any danger of being endangered.

                                Rehab and rescue? I'm shaking my head going "Why?"

                                But hey, if not eating meat is your thing, more power to you.

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by Daydream Believer View Post
                                  I finally caught the critter who has been killing by little broiler chickens last night in a humane trap. Looks like a half grown possum. It was tunneling under the door, killing and eating it right on the spot. I've lost four birds now and finally last night, using the carcass of one of his kills, managed to capture the marauder.

                                  Next question is now I have him, what is the best way to do him in? I have handguns...a .45 Taurus Judge which fires long colts which seems a bit much...and a .22 which unfortunately I can't find the ammo for. My. 45 also shoots 410 rounds. The possum is in a cage also so I don't want to risk a ricochet or anything. I can get quite close of course.

                                  I considered drowning him but that seems pretty inhumane to me. Turning him loose is not a great option either as he'll just be a pest somewhere else. I sure as heck am not paying for him to be euthanized or any such thing. I would prefer shooting it and have no problem doing so but have never done so in this sort of situation.

                                  Does anyone have any experience with this?
                                  I have a lot of experience in possums. You have to shoot them in the cage. You risk get bit if you handle them, or it getting away. Not at close range should you shoot, but a bit away, say 5'. You will need a LOT of bullets, LOTS. Sad but true, so be prepared. Take the critter and the cage to an area for the deed. It will be messy, but letting it go, is potentially risking others. They are the hardest beast to kill. Even a shot to the head will take some time for it to die. Until it is truly deceased, only then remove from the trap. I take care to clean really well around the area and not let any poop from it get into the environment there. They smell really bad, and omg they are so ugly. We have shot every critter in the cage, and we have a cheap trap. I think there are only a couple places where the cage is missing any wire. Nobody can get out of the spots though. The cage is still functional just fine, and we have shot lots in this one cage, lots. Possums, skunks, 'coons.

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    Originally posted by cssutton View Post
                                    I can not help laughing at this post.



                                    Rehabbing a possum!!!

                                    That makes as much sense as rehabbing mouse or maybe a flea.
                                    I know, the rest of the family found my cousin's possum obsession a little odd, too. But some of those folks are just as obsessed with possums as we are with horses. In deference to my cousin, I try to think of Pogo when I see them (as opposed to say, giant fanged rats).

                                    I'm sorry about your daughter's horse. That must've been a heart-wrenching experience. I can't say I'm not concerned about EPM, but living so far out in the country there's just no way to keep critters out of the pasture.

                                    Originally posted by 2ndyrgal View Post
                                    But hey, if not eating meat is your thing, more power to you.
                                    I'm as carnivorous as the next person!
                                    I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      Wow. I am other amazed at the trap and release scenario. EPM is not the only nasty threat from these animals.

                                      2 weeks ago I saw an opossum in the field with my young horse. It was time for horsey to come in any way so I was a little freaked out they were so close. In the process of getting horse away from the critter, Mr. O ended up chasing ME. I managed to get to the barn and bring horse in, but critter was still headed our way. Went to the house for Hubby (competitive shooter). DH shot him straight away with a 17 rifle (the groundhog 1 shot rifle) - Mr. O falls and gets right back up. 4 more shots and Mr. O STILL manages to get back up and into the hay field next to the pasture. DH and I go back out to retrieve varmant. Zombie creature comes back out of hay running toward me. 3 more shots with 22 pistol before he is done. Bagged him and had him checked - Yep RABID.

                                      The game commission liked the shot pattern - but cautioned to be super careful this season as our winter was not cold enough to kill off some of the host critters and the incidence of Rabies is super high right now. For someone that hasn't seen a rabid animal in action, let me tell you it was terrifying. Next time we have to dispatch something I told DH to get the 44 mag and the M1.

                                      Please be SUPER careful with wild animals in traps !!! You don't know, until you need to know.

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        Wow. I'm sorry you had such a scary experience. Rabies is one of my big fears, living in the country.

                                        But I feel compelled to point out that rabies is very rare in possums - other animals are much more likely to carry the disease. Which is one reason I like to leave them alone if possible. You get rid of one critter and another one you like less may move in.
                                        I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          Several years ago my local Equine Vet Clinic had a Rabid horse present. It was quarantined until the self mutilation started and euthanansia decided. New Bolton necropsy was lighning fast.

                                          'All mammals, including people, can catch rabies'

                                          Like I said - Rabies is just a bad thought until you have to deal with it. Being a rare occurance does not make it any less real and any less Deadly. Besides, in the course of a normal day we shouldn't even see an opossum.

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