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Best Management Practices for Trapping

The cover of the Best Management Practices for Trapping in the U.S.

Trapping Best Management Practices (BMPs) are scientifically-researched recommendations for traps and trapping systems used to capture furbearers in the United States. The BMP process began in the mid-1990s as a joint effort between state and federal natural resource agencies, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA), wildlife veterinarians, and trappers. The purpose of the BMP program is to improve regulated trapping by evaluating trapping devices and techniques used for the capture of furbearers and educating those who use traps about the most humane, safe, selective, efficient and practical devices.

To date, over 600 trap types have been evaluated for 23 species of furbearers. BMPs include technical recommendations from expert trappers and biologists as well as a list of specifications of traps that meet or exceed BMP criteria. The process is ongoing as trap models are improved and new traps and trap sets are identified and tested. Results are available for wildlife management professionals, the trapping community, and the public:

Trappers may also be interested in the guidance provided in the publication "Body-grip Traps on Dry Land: a Guide to Responsible Use" (PDF) by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, and the article "Dog-Friendly Strategies for Trapping Public Land" (PDF). This article was reprinted with permission of the author and Fur Taker Magazine (Vol. 48, No. 5).

National Trap Use Survey

The "National Use of Traps by Trappers in the United States" Survey was conducted on behalf of state fish and wildlife agencies, including the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA). The goal of the survey was to determine what species of furbearers trappers are most interested in harvesting and what trap types are most commonly used. In addition, the survey asked about trapper knowledge and use of Best Management Practices for Trapping (BMPs).

The results of this survey are available in the report Trap Use, Furbearers Trapped, and Trapper Characteristics in the United States in 2015 (PDF). Results will be used to guide the continuing development of BMPs and to evaluate changes in trap use among trappers over the past twenty years by comparing results to previous surveys conducted in 1992 and 2004.

To view the reports from the previous trap use surveys and other information on trapping visit the AFWA website (leaves DEC website).

Other Resources (links leave DEC website)

Regulated Trapping and the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation (PDF)
Trapping & Animal Welfare (PDF)
Selectivity in Trapping (PDF)
Sustainable Use of Wildlife (PDF)