Safe Trails
Danger: Trapping Ahead

Is trapping tightly regulated?

Very few states tightly monitor the number of animals trapped each year, and most do not require trappers to report the total number or species of animals they kill.

Some states conduct voluntary surveys that tend to have very low response rates, from which state wildlife agencies then "guesstimate" the total numbers of animals trapped each year.

Mandatory trapper reports are used by some states and can provide a more accurate estimate of the number and type of species killed annually. However, it is important to point out that no matter how accurate kill data or "harvest reports" are, they are retrospective and, as such, do not reflect current populations. Regardless, wildlife agencies frequently use harvest reports to estimate populations and to set annual bag limits and trapping seasons in lieu of conducting scientifically valid population assessments.

In addition, some states rely on voluntary or mandatory "fur dealer/buyer reports" to estimate annual trap kill totals. These reports have little correlation to the actual number of animals trapped since these reports only record the number of pelts purchased within the state. Out-of-state sales and pelts unsold are not recorded.

Accurate population monitoring would require a multilayered monitoring program capable of accurately tracking population trends of all exploited species. tates do not have these types of monitoring programs in place for all species of animals who are trapped.

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