About the Study Guide

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You must check your traps at least once a day.

  • When you set traps, you make a commitment to check them every day until the traps are removed. This commitment does not change because of bad weather or other inconveniences.
  • If you are unable to check your traps due to illness or other emergency, ask another licensed trapper to check your line for you.

Because most furbearers are nocturnal it is best to check traps at first light, or as early in the day as possible. The most important reason to check traps early each morning is animal welfare. To minimize pain and suffering, animals should spend as little time as possible in traps.

You also should check traps early each day to:

  • Prevent escape from live traps.
  • Release non-target animals as soon as possible.
  • Reduce the risk of fur or trap theft.
  • Reduce the risk that a predator will find your catch.
  • Demonstrate to landowners and others that you are a responsible trapper.
  • Give yourself time during the day or evening to skin or sell your fur.
  • Give yourself time to remake sets.

In addition to checking traps daily, follow these rules of etiquette for setting traps and running traplines:

  • Whether or not an animal has been caught, check to see that sets are in proper working order.
  • When possible, make sets to cause immediate submersion and death. This will prevent trapped furbearers from escaping or alarming other furbearers in the area.
  • Be clean. Avoid smoking or leaving too much human scent in any form.
  • Always strive to improve your skills. Try to make every set better than the last. One way to help improve your sets over time is to keep a trapping journal. This will help you learn and remember which techniques work best. In your journal, make notes about:
    • The types of traps you use
    • The lures and baits you use
    • How you make your sets
    • How many animals you catch at each set
  • Leave your trapline area as "unmarked" as possible. Littering is a common offense on private land. This irritates landowners and compromises trapping success. Neatness makes for good landowner relations and a more productive trapline. It also helps deter trap and fur theft.