Contrary to public perception, trapping is good for conservation and sustaining wildlife health and diversity. Regulated trapping is an important way for biologists to collect data about wildlife including information about wildlife diseases like rabies that can also affect people.
In the U.S., trapping is an activity practiced on few and specific furbearing species that are abundant or overly abundant in their habitats. Only licensed trappers are allowed to participate during a strict trapping season that lasts a few months yearly and rarely during the spring or summer seasons when animals are busy caring for their young.
Threatened and endangered species also benefit from regulated trapping. Sea turtles, black footed ferrets, whooping cranes and other rare species can be protected from predation and habitat damage caused by foxes, coyotes and nutria. Moreover, trapping can relocate wildlife populations to areas where they once lived but may no longer be found. The restoration of river otters in Missouri was made possible through the use of trapping as a management tool.
In 1996, the Association began one of the most ambitious research projects in the history of conservation—a program to develop Best Management Practices (BMPs) for regulated trapping. The program aims to improve and modernize the technology of trapping through research that evaluates animal welfare; identifies efficient tools and techniques; and develops recommendations for state fish and wildlife agencies to consider as an element of their wildlife management programs. To date, 22 BMPs have been produced.
AFWA Staff Contact
Bryant White at 573/815-7901
Sustainable Use of Wildlife
Furbearer Conservation Technical Working Group