Can I Shoot a Possum in My Yard? (We Checked the Laws)

Can I shoot a possum in my yard

Possums can be a real nuisance in your yard. They can damage your property and even be a health hazard. But is it legal to shoot a possum in your yard? Let’s take a look at the law and find out.

Shooting possums in your yard is legal in some states, but there are some caveats. Many states allow hunting season for them, which carry strict regulations dictated by law. You should check with your state’s wildlife department to see if shooting a possum in your yard is allowed.

We know how important it is to get rid of possums in your yard, so in this blog post, we’ll give you tips on how to do it safely and legally. We’ll also discuss the laws around shooting possums as well as more humane methods to get rid of these pesky creatures.

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Here’s a Quick Pro Tip!

Some states let you use firearms to get rid of nuisance possums. But, other states established hunting seasons for them, followed by regulations dictated by law. If you prefer a non-violent way to get rid of possums, you can use a cage to trap them and return them to the forest.

If you believe you have a small possum invasion in your yard, you’ll likely need these: 

1. Protective GlovesTo carry unwanted visitors risk-free.

2. Special Possum CageBig enough so they can’t harm themselves.

3. Kensizer Animal Humane CageMore grip, more stability. You can trap a possum here and release it when necessary.

Possum Law

Possums can count as nuisance animals in some states, but others regulate the right way to get rid of them without necessarily harming them. So, let’s discuss the legalities surrounding possums.

Can You Get In Trouble for Killing a Possum?

Whether or not you’ll get in trouble for killing a possum will depend on the state that you live in. In some states, firearms are legal to get rid of possums. Meanwhile, other countries prefer more “humane” methods of getting rid of them.

For example, states like California highly suggest consulting with a professional that knows how to handle possums before attempting to kill them, even though they legalized many means for people to do so.

And they have norms that regulate the correct way to trap them. Additionally, they forbid relocating possums to other states due to the danger they pose to others.

However, in Alabama, possums are classified as “game animals.” This means they have legal hunting seasons, such as with deers or other legal-to-hunt wild animals.

So, if you made the knowing attempt, or if you achieved to kill a possum without checking the laws applicable to your state or country, there is a high chance that you may get in trouble for it.

Should I Kill a Possum in My Yard?

You must review local laws to know if you should kill a possum in your yard. Some states will regulate the correct way to kill a possum, while others will simply forbid it. Therefore, your choice should rely heavily on these factors. If you’re unsure, the wise option is to forgo killing it for a more humane method.

So, you must ensure that you understand the laws regulating their proper killing methods.

For example, most regulatory laws forbid you from killing possums if they haven’t harmed you, your property, or your loved ones. 

What Happens if You Shoot a Possum? 

If you aimed correctly, shooting a possum will likely kill them on the spot. However, if you shot it and couldn’t manage to hit it, it will likely “play possum.” In other words, it will play dead and even stick its tongue out, trying to fool you until it can escape.

This is common when homeowners encounter a possum in their home or yard. Opossums play dead, laying on the floor, with their eyes closed and tongues sticking out.

Also, they emanate a very disgusting odor that usually shoos predators away.

For the abovementioned reason, it’s highly recommended that you don’t approach them in such a state.

Instead, you should get back inside your house and watch its movement to see if it tries to escape before taking any other action against it.

You might also enjoy our post on If You Can Shoot Raccoons in Your Yard

Is It Okay to Kill Possums?

Whether it’s okay or not to kill possums is a topic of excruciating debate. Some argue that it’s inhumane and that you should just let them be since they will leave on their own. But, others simply agree that they should be killed to avoid more damage.

This is a matter of morality. One truth is that possums have the potential to become pests that carry many diseases, such as leptospirosis.

But, another truth is that people may resort to torture them unnecessarily as a form of killing them. 

For this reason, some states decided to forbid or regulate this practice. Therefore, it made possums the protection of the law.

However, other places made killing their last resort for controlling these pests by regulating the proper removal process citizens must follow.

In short, many states control the way you can kill them. The criteria that determine whether it’s permissible to kill a possum or not is if it represents a direct threat to you, your loved ones, or your property. 

But, if they’re walking freely without harming your property, it’s not necessary to harm them.

So, having the abovementioned points in mind can help you understand the revolt around it and why some defend the idea and others don’t.

Most often than not, it’s better that you recur to using non-harmful repellents and other tools to make sure that they are at bay. So, try these out before attempting to kill these creatures.

Is Possum Protected?

Animal game laws often protect opossums. This means they will only be killed during specific dates. Any attempt to harm or torture a possum outside these parameters may result in you being penalized by the law.

Many states such as Indiana, Massachusetts, Alabama, and Virginia allow residents to hunt possums on specific dates.

Meanwhile, they also regulate the hours and the conditions in which a possum may be eliminated.

Most states allow homeowners to eliminate possums under these conditions:

  • When the possum represents a major threat to the home or the members of the household.
  • When it’s causing havoc or it’s harming private property.
  • When it’s harming crops, in which case certain laws apply to them.
  • And when it’s hunting season, under certain hours or dates, and under certain conditions and regulations, hunting citizens must comply.

These are exclusive. This means that, outside of hunting season, if you see a possum roaming around the street and walking freely without hurting anyone, you are not to kill it.

But, if it’s causing havoc in your house, you are allowed, as the homeowner, to get rid of it.

And some states also regulate the weapon you choose to kill them.

Overall, this restriction speaks about the type of weapon, and the adequate length of the weapon, as described by law. So, if you’re on a hunt, be sure to know these laws well.

Moreover, homeowners can’t attempt to use torturing methods to kill possums. If so, they risk being arrested on a count of animal cruelty.

Is It Illegal to Hit a Possum?

It’s illegal to hit, abuse, or torture a possum or any animal in general. No one is to deliberately kill, torture, or injure an animal to extend its suffering. These actions can make you legally liable for punishment. 

So, deliberately smacking or hitting a possum is illegal in your state. However, if we are referring to accidentally hitting the animal with your car, it’s illegal to leave it there to suffer or agonize.

In such cases, you should call an expert that can help you deal with it. 

You might also enjoy our post on If You Can Shoot Rats on Your Property

How to Get Rid of a Possum

Now that you learned about the legal concerns regarding getting rid of possums, you should learn the correct way to get rid of them.

Using non-violent methods to keep them away from your house is preferable, so let’s learn about them.

What Kills Possums Fast?

Things that can kill possums fast are firearms, certain forms of poisons, and euthanasia. Some of these methods are preferable because they don’t cause torturing agony to the possum, which is ideal.

The only proper way to kill an animal is through carbon dioxide, which won’t cause much agony. And it’s perceived as a more “humane” way of eliminating them.

So, there’s no need to resort to other drastic methods that may be inspired by savagery.

Or, better yet: if you find a possum in your yard but don’t want to handle it on your own, you can use a cage for them and have Animal Control take care of it. This is a more proper solution.

How Do You Hunt a Possum?

State laws often regulate the correct way to hunt a possum. However, the most used methods involve trapping the opossum inside a cage and then legally disposing of it. And most hunters can have the assistance of a dog to do so.

State laws regulate the way a person can hunt possums. For example, some weapons are allowed, while others aren’t. And the weapons have to have a certain size.

For example, the length of a hunting rifle should be 0.22. 

And the hunter also has to know how to kill the possum without causing it much agony. This means that its death should be instant. 

Always take important safety measures when dealing with possums. And, always check your local laws for the regulations regarding equipment, weaponry, and the forbidden practices you must avoid.

Can I Kill a Possum With a BB Gun?

Even though a BB gun can kill a possum, it’s not recommended. This is because to shoot the possum, you need precision. Instead, you need to use a 0.22 rifle and shoot them and kill them instantly, without causing much suffering.

You should check your local hunting laws or animal nuisance laws to ensure that you know exactly what weapons you can use to kill possums or other similar animals.

Other Options

While some options here may seem complicated to do or understand, we need to know that there are not the only ones we can try to get rid of possums.

So, let’s see what else we can do to remove them from our yard!

What Attracts Possums to Your Yard?

Possums are likely to roam around your yard when there is leftover food, any funny smell inside your trash cans, or if there is any other factor that may attract them. In addition, they are likely to hang around places where they are provided free food, water, and shelter.

So, if you want to keep your possums away from your yard, you have to make sure that your home’s environment is clean.

And you may want to seal your trash cans if you already have the presence of possum in your backyard.

How Do You Get Rid of a Possum?

There are many ways to get rid of possums, and most of them are strictly regulated by the state’s laws. However, there is an appropriate way to trap them and then call animal control experts that can help you remove the possum from your yard.

For example, you can resort to trapping them using specialized cages that fit the possum’s size. To do that, you have to make sure to have a proper bait that they’re attracted to.

More often than not, possums are eating fruits and nuts, which you can use for this purpose.

You can use chemical repellents or electric repellents so that they are no longer motivated to come back.

Using a water sprinkler can scare them, although their effects only last temporarily and will not prevent their return. 

The most convenient thing to have a more long-lasting effect is to keep your patio neat, clean, spotless, and trash-free.

Also, remember that possums love areas where they can retrieve easy food, water, and shelter. So, you should avoid having a home that gives them that.

You might also enjoy our post on If You Can Shoot Deers on Your Property

What Time Do Possums Come Out at Night?

Possums come out at least 30 minutes before sunset. They are nocturnal animals, so they are active during the night, and they will sleep during the day. It’s not usual that a possum comes out during the day, but it’s still a possible scenario.

This means that they usually wake up late afternoons and begin roaming their habitats during the night in search of food, water, and shelter. So, it’s safe to say that late hours favor them.

Can You Pick up a Possum?

It’s possible to pick a young possum. However, you must pick them up carefully. Make sure that you always approach them from behind and not from the front since they may attack you, even though their bite is harmless.

It’s recommended that you use a soft cloth to wrap them inside until you locate a spacious box and place them there. Keep them away from other people, pets, or even members of your household.

And, make sure that they don’t receive any light, so you don’t scare them.

Moreover, it’s recommended that once you pick them up, you call a possum expert that can help you understand how they need to be fed and pampered.

It’s more convenient if you call animal control, for they can take care of it and even take them somewhere safe.

How Far Will a Possum Travel to Return Home?

A possum can travel around two miles or more, especially if they need to return home. Thus, relocating them is not recommended because they are territorial animals. In addition, relocating them may result in them being killed by other possums nearby.

Even though relocating an animal may be very tempting, it’s not something that’s encouraged by the government or any non-profit entity that defends its rights.

This is because the experience will likely stress them out, and they’ll probably die if they fight with other possums. 

Besides, most federal and state laws forbid relocating possums or other mammals.

This is because they are often the carrier of many diseases that affect cattle, so this measure is taken to prevent them from spreading.

Will Possums Come Back After Relocation?

Possums will not come back after relocation. This is because they’ll likely be dead by the time they attempt to return to their usual spot. This is the reason why many states and countries forbid the relocation of these types of animals. 

Possums are naturally territorial. So, it’s likely that they will get involved in a very bad fight. However, it’s common knowledge that most mammals work like this in the wild.

So, it’s best to avoid thinking about them.

Are There Any Possums in America?

There are possums in America, but they are referred to as opossums. Although, in some texts, they are both referred to as possums. Yet, they differ from other possums due to their country of origin. And they are very interesting creatures.

Of 65 different types of possums in North America, only one is native to it, called the Didelphis Virginiana (common opossum, or Virginia opossum).

Currently, opossums are the only marsupial that exists in North America.

Are Possums Aggressive?

Possums are not aggressive, but they can try to attack you if you bother them. And even then, their attacks are only to shoo you away, not to harm you. Moreover, they can resort to playing dead to avoid having predators catch them.

So, you shouldn’t be scared of their aggressiveness because they won’t naturally attack you unless you go and disturb their mental peace of mind.

However, their bite is soft but dangerous because of the many diseases they may carry.

Do Possums Bite Humans?

Like wild animals, possums can bite if someone threatens them or approaches them. Other ways in which they can react to human contact is by hissing and playing dead. Moreover, it’s better to avoid getting bitten because of the diseases they may carry.

Possums only attack when they aim to defend themselves, but they are not aggressive animals. This is why, when picking one, you should be careful.

You should also be wary of the diseases they may carry with you.

You might also enjoy our post on If You Can Shoot Snakes in Your Yard

Are Possums Aggressive to Humans?

Possums are not naturally aggressive to humans. They’ll only attack someone if they bother or try to touch them, especially if they’re a female possum who just recently gave birth. So you shouldn’t touch or interact with them if it’s not necessary. 

So, if you ever find a possum around the street that hasn’t harmed anything or anyone, simply don’t attempt to grab them or touch them and let them be.

There’s no need to risk your health for the sake of curiosity.

What Do Possums Hate Most?

Possums hate a lot of smells. Ironically enough, they even dislike the smell of fish, even though they eat them. Moreover, they also hate garlic and animal-derived fertilizers. So the smell of these products will likely keep them away from your property.

Possums hate garlic, fertilizers, camphor, onion, and mothballs (tip: ensure mothballs are legal in your area, first!). So, they will likely keep them from going to your house and yard. Try to make a repellent with these ingredients and see the results.

Related Questions

What Animal Will Kill a Possum?

Possums can be killed by various animals, including foxes, raccoons, dogs, and other mammals or wild birds. Hence, they have a high chance of dying throughout life, meaning they have had high mortality rates since their early years.

Canines can kill possums, as well as felines. Bobcats can attack possums and kill them with their sharp teeth.

Moreover, possums are also the snack of certain birds, just like owls, eagles, and hawks. So, possums must be extremely wary of them.

Why Would a Possum Be Out in the Daytime?

Possums are animals that are active during the night, so seeing them during the day is unusual. But, when this happens, it’s usually because they don’t have enough food to survive or are disturbed during sleep. And, their day sightings are more common in urban areas.

Daily sightings of possums have been spotted in cities like Brooklyn, NY. Many people are surprised when this happens because most people know that these animals are mostly nocturnal.  

What’s the Difference Between a Possum and an Opossum?

The difference between a possum and an opossum is that they both come from different origins. Possums are native to Australia and places like New Zealand, but Opossums are native to North America, especially the area of Virginia. 

We can differentiate possums and opossums like this:

  • Opossums: North America marsupials. It’s a white-grey animal of the Didelphimorphia order.
  • Possums: Australian-native marsupials. They are also seen in New Zealand, China, and New Guinea. They’re from the Diprotondia order and are closely related to kangaroos. 

It’s not unusual that people get confused, especially because North America often uses the word “possum” to refer to opossums.

But, you should remember never to confuse the two because even if they are similar, they’re still very different from one another.

Final Thoughts

While it’s tempting to resort to killing a possum to get rid of it, it’s important to first check with your local laws to see if this is allowed in your state or country.

Even though some states allow using firearms to kill possums, it’s best to resort to non-violent methods before doing this.

And, you must always remember that you can’t torture animals to kill them because it would count as animal cruelty.

Furthermore, possums and opossums are not the same, even though most people use them interchangeably.

One comes from Australia, and another is native to North America. Learn them both and their difference well.

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