Trapping is the act of harvesting wild game with specially designed devices, traps, for the purpose of food or fur harvesting. The concept of trapping requires an "Engine", and another device to restrain the animal. An example of an "engine" would be the young sappling that is bent over to act as a spring when used in a common snare trap. Sometimes the weight and momentum of the animal itself is the "Engine", and sometimes gravity is the "Engine" such is the case with deadfall and pit traps. Every trapping scenario will use some type of "Engine" along with a device for retaining the animal. The retaining device might be a simple snare wire, to a 10' pit dug into the ground.
Modern traps are typically more humane and will not cause undo harm to the animal. Among these are the foothold traps, and the cage traps. These allow the trapper the ability to release non target species. Modern traps also have the ability to adjust the tension on the pan, trigger or restrict the size of the animal in cage traps. This gives even more versatility when targeting select species.
Today, modern trappers follow a strong code of ethics when trapping. These ethics include trapping for a particular target species and utilizing methods and lures specific to that species. The ethical treatment of target species, and immediate release of non target species caught in their traps. Among several other things, the code of ethics also pertains to respecting the wilderness and the habitat of all animals, by not disturbing, poluting, or doing any activity that is harmful to the ecosystem while trapping. These are just a few things that can be found in most trapping associations "Code of Ethics" so check out the external links below for more information.
Reasons to Trap
- Fur, clothing, hides, skins, etc.
- Profit and sustainability
- Control predation
- Regulate water resources
- Wildlife management
- Carry on tradition
There are many different means in which to trap an animal. There are two distinct characteristics of trapping that apply to the following techniques. They are "live" traps and "kill" traps, and can be very effective in different scenarios. When practicing these trapping techniques be sure to follow your local and state regulations, and never leave these traps unnattended, especially "kill" traps, such as deadfalls, snares, and pits. Trapping can be a fun and rewarding skill to learn, and can significantly increase your other hunting skills, as you will learn quite a bit about your target species.
Here are a few of the more known and practiced techniques:
Poison Traps (illegal in all 50 states)
This type of trapping was well used, until the 1950's and later to reduce predator populations. It involves placing cyanide or similar toxin in a rabbit carcass and baited near a coyote hole. The coyote would find the rotting carcass and pick the bones clean, and in so doing would die from the poison. There were many variations of this method used throughout the plains and western states to reduce the wolf and coyote populations. The biggest problem with this technique was that it had a severe impact on non target species and drove some of them to near extinction, such as the California Condor, and the Bald Eagle. This method was also used in combination with snaring, which allowed the trapper to harvest the target species fur or hide.
Trapping is one of the oldest methods for food procurement, and is often seen as a form of abuse in modern times. Trapping in modern day is being regulated out of existance, due to the innexperienced and un-educated politicians and animal activist groups that feel that trapping an animal in any way is inhumane. Many states are placing too strict of regulations on trapping that the professional trapper has moved on or no longer traps. This has caused a cascade of problems for communities from irrigation and flooding problems to an over abundance of predator species. In addition to these animal activist groups there are other social groups that frown on the use of fur animals for clothing.