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Trapping and the Future

Occasionally, someone will call trapping a “dying art.” Fewer people trap today than 40 years ago, but there are still a good number of folks who retain the drive, enthusiasm, and skill to trap.

In 2013, 5,596 trapping licenses were purchased, the fourth straight year they have gone up and the highest in the last 10 years.

Modern trappers are everyday people who get up and go to work as doctors, lawyers, construction workers, teachers, biologists, loggers, mechanics or other professionals most of the year. These same individuals deliberately carve out a portion of their time and life to trap. Trapping is an annual tradition, a way to reconnect to the land, and an opportunity to spend valuable time outdoors with family and friends.

Trapping is a passion shared amongst loved ones and strangers alike. This can be seen every fall at annual trapping rendezvous or on a trapline. Trappers are social, thoughtful, family oriented folks who are willing to help and share knowledge when they can.
For a lot of trappers, just talking about trapping or encouraging an individual with interest to learn more about trapping is as rewarding as setting a trap.

Before heading to the field for the first time, new trappers must gather knowledge and understanding of basic trapping equipment, regulation, and techniques.

Fully aware of the learning curve, members of the Indiana State Trappers Association and Fur Takers of America work collectively with Conservation Officers and other DNR employees to schedule and conduct trapper education courses throughout the state. These courses cover trapping techniques while focusing on the responsibility and ethics of trapping.

Each year, volunteer instructors selflessly donate countless hours to ensure responsible trapping continues, and others with genuine interest can share this connection to the land. Attending a trapper education course is an easy way to gain practical experience as well as a better understanding and appreciation of what it means to be a trapper.

The course describes basic methods for trapping furbearers, handling the catch, and the responsibilities of the trapper. The course takes approximately six hours to complete.

For more information on trapper education courses visit

For more intensive training, the Furtakers of America, in cooperation with the DNR and Purdue University, offers the Professional Trapper’s Short Course each fall in northeast Indiana.

The week-long course covers the biology and management of furbearers, nuisance wildlife control, diseases associated with wildlife, trapping regulations, and public perceptions of trapping. The focus is on the mastery of field techniques. Approximately eight hours are spent afield each day.

Two continuing education credits are offered through Purdue University for completion of the course.

For more information, go to or contact Gene Beeber, 7701 Chet Lane, Louisville, KY, 40214.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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