Can I shoot the possum?

Can I shoot the possum?

This is a discussion on Can I shoot the possum? within the Home (And Away From Home) Defense Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Here's the question: Can I shoot a wild animal attacking a domestic animal if it's on my property located in a densely populated area? Here's ...

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  1. #1
    Member Array Orangeman's Avatar
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    Can I shoot the possum?

    Here's the question: Can I shoot a wild animal attacking a domestic animal if it's on my property located in a densely populated area?

    Here's the details: I walked out of the house this evening looking for my wife's cat that was loose in our fenced in backyard. I walked around the corner a small greenhouse we have and there is the cat, a bulky 16 pounder that's part Maine Coon, staring eye to eye with a possum that was bigger that it was!

    Fortunately they apparently had just met (no signs of damage on the cat) but when I hit them with the flashlight, the possum reared up and it turned toward cat, which then did a snagglepuss "exit stage right" and left a trail of doo doo high-tailing it around the corner.
    There was a moment where I wasn't sure if the possum might take a chunk out of the cat. That raised the question: Can I shoot the possum?

    I was carrying my Glock 30 with 230 grain Federal Hydrashocks, so I'm guess a single shot would do it. Of course it would have to be a steeply downward trajectory and would have to be a last resort because the cat would likely be moving around quite a bit at that moment, too.

    My conclusion: It would not be OK to shoot, even if I had a clear shot, especially because the elderly preacher and his wife next door probably would have simultaneously collapsed moments after calling 911. Chances are I would have grabbed a rake or large stick, although nothing was immediately available.
    So what's the consensus out there?
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  2. #2
    Ex Member Array Longstreet's Avatar
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    I can only speak to Indiana law. Here, the answer would be no. My guess is that Florida codified law, and the codified law in the densely populated area you describe, is likely similar.
    WrongRecroom and RickyD like this.

  3. #3
    VIP Member Array lionround's Avatar
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    Let's see: 1) Dead Cat or 2) Possum stew? Nuff said.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Longstreet View Post
    I can only speak to Indiana law. Here, the answer would be no. My guess is that Florida codified law, and the codified law in the densely populated area you describe, is likely similar.

    You need to check your local and state laws. I would tend to agree with Longstreet that discharging a firearm in a densely populated area for any reason other than self defense is probably a no no, but you would need to confirm.
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  5. #5
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    No. A 'possum acts fierce, but a Toy Poodle could take one.
    msgt/ret, tdave, Hoganbeg and 7 others like this.


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  6. #6
    Ex Member Array Gearhead's Avatar
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    Here in Michigan, discharging a firearm that could result in injury is a felony. So me personally, I'd rather lose the cat than lose my guns and/or go to prison. That said, I had a nearly identical situation in which a big possum cornered and went after the family dog on the porch. I dispatched the possum with a large rock from the planter. The dog thought that was pretty cool.
    Caertaker, sdprof and bigmacque like this.

  7. #7
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    I would imagine that what the Florida Dept of Natural Resources (or equivalent gov't agency) has to say, would be much more important than what a consensus of strangers from across the country have to say.

    But that's just me.
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  8. #8
    Member Array locotest's Avatar
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    I would agree that most likely not legal. As far as the opossum harming the cat there is no way an
    opossum will catch a cat that does not want to be caught unless there is something physically wrong with it.
    msgt/ret, sdprof and Sister like this.

  9. #9
    VIP Member Array JDE101's Avatar
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    Don't know what the laws are in Florida, but most of the cities around here have ordinances against discharging a firearm within the city limits. Which is why "Shotgun" Joe Biden is such an idiot for suggesting discharging a double barrel shotgun in the air to scare away potential intruders. But I digress! If you said you shot the possum because it was attacking your wife's cat, I'd guess you'd be in trouble with the law if someone called 911 and reported a gun being fired. However, if you had to shoot the possum because it came at you and you feared it might have rabies and you were protecting yourself you might be OK. That is just my .02. I am not a lawyer and I did not stay at a Holiday Inn last night, so take the advice for what it's worth. A rake, ball bat, club, spear, machete, etc. would probably be a safer choice.
    Last edited by JDE101; February 14th, 2014 at 10:20 PM. Reason: spelling
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  10. #10
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    I keep a pellet gun in the garage for rodents. I wouldn't worry too much about damage from an opossum. Often they will play dead when cornered.
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  11. #11
    VIP Member Array StormRhydr's Avatar
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    OK, my all time favorite clean cut country joke:

    WHY DID THE CHICKEN CROSS THE ROAD???


    TO SHOW THE POSSUM THAT IT COULD BE DONE.

  12. #12
    VIP Member Array NC Bullseye's Avatar
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    If only the cat had been open carrying this could have all been avoided.....
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  13. #13
    VIP Member Array StormRhydr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottync View Post
    I keep a pellet gun in the garage for rodents. I wouldn't worry too much about damage from an opossum. Often they will play dead when cornered.
    Possum have some mighty sharp long teeth, and when they dont sull up, they can fight like hell.

  14. #14
    Ex Member Array Gearhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NC Bullseye View Post
    If only the cat had been open carrying this could have all been avoided.....
    I'm guessing that if a cat had a gun, it'd be a Calico
    calico.png
    tdave and Ranger_68 like this.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottync View Post
    I keep a pellet gun in the garage for rodents. I wouldn't worry too much about damage from an opossum. Often they will play dead when cornered.
    Opossums in NC must be different from the ones we grow here in Virginia! Last one I saw had claws that where 2 feet long, and Teeth the size of CHOPSTICKS, those things are mean and nasty little buggers………………
    SteelerFan and welder516 like this.
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