Ready, Set, Trap

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Trapping continues to be a hot topic in some regions, and a target for anti-trapping organizations everywhere. The robust fur markets in some regions of the country today is proof that trapping is here to stay for a long, long time. Trapping is definitely an interesting hobby or outdoors pursuit.

If you need more reason to get outdoors, or want to improve the odds of survival for some popular and huntable animal species like rabbits or wild turkeys, then take up trapping. Traps can also help take and control problem species, like beavers, that inflict millions of dollars of damage to property or crops each year. These damages range from ruined timber, to flooded crops, to holes dug in dikes and dams. Then there’s the growing problem of missing and consumed pets—with coyotes being the culprits.

One damage control specialist in Illinois recently reported that he had requests to trap and open coyotes that have eaten pet dogs and prized cats in one region. In one case a coyote apparently ate a cat that was wearing a custom diamond encrusted collar. Good-bye stone!

There’s also the smelly issue of skunks. Anyone who has ever had a dog sprayed by a skunk wants trapping—of all skunks—to begin immediately. Then there are rabies problems and threats to public health and safety. Trapping helps reduce these problems.

Trapping provides other benefits. There are many diseases spread by—or contracted by—foxes and raccoons. There are far more of these nuisance critters out in the fields and forests than the average citizen realizes. All you need to do to get a fractional estimate of the local population is look on and along the highways. You’ll probably see lots of raccoons, some foxes and a few coyotes, and in some places beavers, and the occasional bobcat. Raccoons have become very common in some areas and have caused homeowners by raiding bird feeders, trash cans, and pet food dishes.

The good news is that trapping supplies today are generally inexpensive—and so are many resident trapping licenses. Fur prices, however, remain low partly because of the weak economy. With high gas prices on top of those, there will be less folks trapping—or running shorter trap lines—this winter. That just leaves more critters for you — and your traps.