Can I Shoot a Possum in my Backyard? What to Know

can i shoot a possum in my backyard

If your garbage cans have turned over or an animal has taken up residence in your attic, we understand your aggravation. Probably the first thing that comes to mind is whether or not you can shoot a possum on your property.

So, to the question “Can I Shoot a Possum in my backyard”, the short answer is no, you are not allowed to shoot a possum in your backyard. While you won’t be able to shoot a possum in your backyard, you will be able to get rid of nuisance animals. Removing food sources and capturing are two choices, but because possums are protected species, you cannot shoot them.

Possums, like raccoons, are unwelcome guests in your yard that can cause a lot of damage. Many people consider them pests that destroy gardens, knock over rubbish, and even kill poultry.
Possums can be found throughout the eastern part of the United States. Forests and habitat borders near streams and ponds are their preferred habitats. They are, nevertheless, well-adapted to human presence and will peacefully dwell in inhabited regions.
We’ll clear up any worries you might have about shooting a possum in your garden if he causes damage in this post.

Legal issues with shooting possums in the Backyard

When assessing the legality of this subject, there are various elements to consider, notably at the state and municipal levels. Possums, or more accurately, opossums, have legal status as game animals in multiple areas. They are, after all, fur-bearing creatures that certain people eat.

These nocturnal scavengers may have a hunting season and hours. Depending on the state, this might encompass trapping, hunting, or both. It’s also possible that you’ll need to obtain a license or permission.

Using a firearm is a different story, including both state and federal regulations.

In most regions, carrying a gun within a specific distance of a human residence, along a public road, or in your vehicle is prohibited. And you don’t want to get caught doing any of these things because you’ll be fined, and your weapon and automobile will be taken away.

If permissible, there may be limitations on the sort of firearm you may use and the number of weapons you can bring. These rules exist because of public safety concerns, and many states regard animals to be their residents’ property.

The only legal method to kill a possum is to employ traps or poisons licensed for the species, which may not be realistic if you only want to get rid of one in your garden. If you have many of them and need to take action, contact pest control professionals for assistance.

So, to the question if is it legal for to shoot possums in the backyard? The answer is no, at least not without a federally certified hunting license, which they don’t issue for killing them! If you have a large number of them, you should use pest control professionals. The federal government protects possums.

Possum hunting is permissible in certain areas during hunting seasons, but it is not legal to kill them just because you have a problem with them in your yard.

Nuisance Animals

If the animal is causing a problem or causing damage to your crops, if you’re a farmer, you may be able to seek a nuisance animal permit to remove it. It usually only applies to possums that are on your land. Alternatively you could contact a professional exterminator.

Before they can get rid of them, they or you will need to file for a nuisance permit from the state’s wildlife department.

It’s critical to do your homework on the regulations in question. After killing one, you may be required to report to your local conservation police officer within a particular amount of time. There may be laws in place that govern how it’s disposed of.

If you aren’t a farmer or raising animals, call your local animal control agency and inquire about possum trapping services.

They’ll assist in determining the number of possums present so that they can determine whether or not an emergency exists.

If you have more than three possums in your yard, you have an emergency problem, and they must be removed right away!

Tips for When You’re Considering Shooting Possums

It’s crucial to figure out what kind of animal you have in your yard before solving the situation. Other nuisance backyard animals are subject to additional regulations.

You can tell whether you have a possum problem by looking for possum signals.

There are three major signs that you have a possum problem:

  • Possums will leave “tracks” in the snow, either leaves they are carrying or dung from a previous hunt. Because of their size and form, these footprints are more visible on your lawn than other animal tracks. Possums have five toes on both front and back paws and an opposable thumb on their hindfoot.
  • Possums like to eat from bird feeders, so if the seed is disappearing or is dwindling, it’s conceivable that they’re eating it. Seeds and/or droppings from possums may also be found on your roof near vents where they enter.
  • You’ll discover droppings both inside and outside the house, and because of their size, they’re not always simple to see. If you don’t detect them straight away, they resemble a giant ball with hair on it that you may walk on. If you find them inside, clean them up as soon as possible.

Possums are very reclusive, and if they detect you first, they will most likely be high up in a tree. Don’t give up seeking them because they’re also great climbers!

Playing Possum

You’ve probably heard the term “playing possum.” When somebody claims to be dead to get out of a difficult situation, they say this.

This is one of the characteristics that distinguishes this marsupial from other animals: its ability to imitate death, and possums as marsupials are no exception.

They show a propensity for acting dead, curling up, and remaining immobile for long periods. If you startle them or make loud noises near their nest, they will flee.

With its tongue hanging out and closed eyelids, the animal appears dead to all intents and purposes. Don’t be deceived, though. The possum is entirely aware of you and everything going on around it.

Also, avoid getting too near because if they feel threatened, they will also release foul-smelling secretions from glands on their lips and anus. Part of this rouse is a nasty stench meant to repel predators like you.

Possums are not naturally violent, although they will defend themselves if trapped or assaulted. They’re also known to carry illnesses that afflicted animals’ bites, or scratches can spread. If a possum appears in your yard while looking for food, make sure no one approaches it and call Animal Control for assistance.

Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Preventing a Possum Problem

Even though we know we can’t kill a possum, we still need to eliminate this nuisance animal. The best kind of protection is prevention.

Here are a few pointers on how to prevent possums from your property:

  • Garbage should be kept in sealed containers or bags until it is time to dispose of it. Possums will eat anything that has been left outside, even the stink of decomposing food waste and fresh stuff that has been put out for trash picking scavengers.
  • Possums will eat pet food that has been left outside. To deter unwelcome guests, keep pet dishes in a dry and enclosed place such as the house or garage.
  • Trim your shrubs and bushes down to the point where a possum can’t create a den in your yard. This will compel the animal to seek food elsewhere, which will be much easier for you if they are on someone else’s land.
  • Make sure that any chicken coops or other places where they could be residing are entirely sealed. This will prevent them from establishing a home and feeding on your animals.
  • Possums can spread rabies, so don’t let your dogs or cats alone in the backyard at night. Bite, scratch, and saliva contact with an infected animal transmits the disease. The last thing you want is for one of your animals to become rabies-infected.

A chimney cap will keep them out of your house by preventing them from breeding in the chimney. If everything else fails, you might have to resort to catching them.

The opportunistic character of possums is another factor to consider. You may have taken the one you’ve caught tipping over the garbage cans. However, the next one won’t be long in coming to fill the vacuum.

That’s why, even if you have a handgun, it’s critical to make your yard unfriendly to your nightly guests.

Final thoughts

It may be reassuring to know that possums are not vicious creatures that will go out of their way to avoid you. They can assist in scavenging to prevent conflicts with other animals.

Possums, unlike other animals such as bats, aren’t major rabies carriers. Furthermore, they only survive for four years at most.

They may, however, be a nuisance, and there are several things you can do to keep them out of your yard.

Your town, county, and state regulations will determine whether or not you can shoot a possum in your backyard.

However, if this obnoxious creature has been trespassing on your property too frequently, there are several things you should be doing to keep them from returning. For example, eliminating all food sources would make it less enticing to these creatures. They may have discovered fruit trees with overripe fallen fruits, etc., close to their nest.

Making your yard less opossum-friendly, on the other hand, is a simple way to repel a pest critter.

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Emma Olsen
I’m a gardener and blogger with over 20 years of expertise writing about and cultivating fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers. I have extensive experience in organic and sustainable gardening, perennials, annuals, and sustainable and urban farming. I’m a nature freak and I enjoy bird watching and swimming with sea creatures.