This manual is intended to improve yourknowledge of Minnesota’s furbearers and to providethe basic information needed to trap them in aresponsible manner. In the manual is a discussion of basic techniques and how to avoid many of the mostcommon trapping mistakes. Trapping is not foreveryone and persons who trap, or who areconsidering trapping, must accept the responsibilitiesthat come with it. The manual will not make an“expert” out of anyone – and is not intended to.Expertise in trapping comes only with years of experience and long hours of thoughtful observationand study. This manual will provide an introductionto the biology and management of Minnesotafurbearers, and to the basics of using that resourceresponsibly and safely. It is not intended toencourage or discourage anyone who might want totrap.Unfortunately, much of the opposition totrapping today is the result of an unknowing publicand irresponsible acts by a few trappers. Althoughthere are some who will oppose trapping no matterhow it is conducted, there is no excuse for theavoidable abuses resulting from lack of knowledgeby inexperienced and irresponsible trappers, whichserve to inflame public opinion against all trappers.As fur prices increased in the 1970s and early1980s, so did the number of inexperienced trappers.In 1978, concerned members of the MinnesotaTrappers Association (MTA) in cooperation with theDepartment of Natural Resources (DNR) began astatewide program of voluntary trapper education.That program recognized that many inexperiencedtrappers were sincerely interested in trappingresponsibly, but they lacked any available source of direct information.This manual is intended for use in conjunctionwith the MTA/DNR education program. In additionto classroom sessions, the program includesequipment demonstrations and practical fieldexperience under the supervision of qualifiedinstructors. Although this manual can be used aloneas a reference or a self-instruction book, it will be of most value when used in combination with theeducation course.
Individuals who study this manual andsuccessfully complete the education course will:1)
Have a greater knowledge and appreciationof natural environments and their associatedwildlife;2)
Be aware of the history and heritage of trapping and the fur trade;3)
Have a basic understanding of the biologyand management of Minnesota furbearers;4)
Be familiar with trapping and wildliferegulations and their purpose;5)
Know how to behave ethically in theoutdoors;6)
Understand how to properly prepare,maintain and use trapping equipment;7)
Know the basics of trapping Minnesotafurbearers responsibly and effectively;8)
Understand how to properly prepare, carefor, and use or market, fur pelts to realizethe greatest benefit with the least resourcewaste; and9)
Understand the basics of outdoors safety andsurvival.These are ambitious goals. We cannot stressenough that this manual and the education course areonly a beginning. You are encouraged to check withyour instructor for sources of additional informationand to seek guidance from instructors or otherexperienced trappers at every opportunity. Above all,you will learn by doing. Take the time to analyze thereasons for your successes and failures and alwaysattempt to improve on your methods. No twotrappers do everything the same; they each develop asystem that works for them. The purpose of thismanual is to get you started on the right track in thislearning experience.