Squirrels have become a real nuisance on our shoot, damaging trees we’ve planted along drives and destroying feed hoppers. What is the best method to trap them?
John says: In an area where there may be any red squirrels, live catch cage trapping is the only safe method to use. Cages should be secured, firmly bedded in so that they don’t move when a squirrel enters, and should be baited and covered over using natural material like logs or brush, or with a hessian sack covered with leaf litter. While red squirrels must be released, grey squirrels must not so you need to have the means to dispatch any captured grey squirrels quickly and humanely if you cage trap them. Except where there is a very good reason, my preference is always to go with one of the approved spring traps. The Kania trap is well known as the classic forestry trap as it can be mounted directly onto the trunk of a tree, high up and out of the way of the public. More familiar spring traps, like Fenns and BMI bodygrips, set in tunnels around hoppers and the base of trees are also very effective, as are the more modern WCS tube traps used in the same way. I would also encourage you to try these tunnel traps off the ground. Lofting traps can also exploit the squirrels’ natural behaviour by placing ‘running poles’ between trees and from tree to ground. And don’t forget those top entry boxes which can also be tree mounted. The grey squirrel is one of very few species of mammal that can travel headfirst down a tree. It is able to turn its feet so the claws of its hind paws point backwards and can grip the tree bark.