Role of Hunters and Trappers
Hunters and trappers play an important role in wildlife management by helping to control surplus populations.
- Before the pioneers, predators such as the mountain lion, wolf, and bear controlled furbearer populations.
- These predators are not common in most areas today. Instead, hunters and trappers have taken on the role of helping to control certain animal populations.
What does this have to do with wildlife management? Wildlife management helps ensure that hunters and trappers harvest only surplus animals in order to prevent over-harvesting. This is achieved through laws and regulations.
- Laws and regulations establish trapping and hunting seasons. These seasons usually limit harvesting to the fall and winter months. This allows wildlife populations to reproduce in the spring to renew their numbers after the harvest.
- Regulations also limit the species and number of animals that may be harvested. These limits change from year to year, based on current market demand and furbearer population levels.
- Other regulations may restrict the types of traps you can use, locations where trapping is allowed, and how you set your traps.
All animal populations vary somewhat based on weather, food, disease, predation, and reproduction. However, furbearer populations remain fairly constant today. Thus, regulated trapping and hunting do not endanger wildlife resources. Instead, these activities protect the furbearer resource and its habitat by controlling the number of furbearers.
It is important to remember that wildlife management focuses on preserving habitat and maintaining animal populations at a healthy level. Regulated trapping helps achieve these goals.
A Successful Trapper
A successful trapper today is a sportsman who has:
- Keen powers of observation
- A complete knowledge of furbearers
- Sharp skills
- Effective, well-maintained equipment