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New York



From Training to Trapper

By Andrew Barbato

I had just started a new job as a Wildlife Technician with DEC when my boss asked if I would like to attend a Trapper Education Course that he was conducting. I would be working on furbearer research and interacting with trappers in my new position, so the training was definitely relevant. I let him know that I’d be there, with little idea of the impact the course would have on my future!

After the one-day training, I dove into trapping head first. An entirely new wing of outdoor adventure had been revealed to me, with much to learn. Early on, I became fixated on catching a bobcat. I spent a portion of each fall dedicated to this goal, setting out early in the season for locations that I had scouted over the summer, toting various optical and olfactory curiosities. I made elaborate sets amongst the hills and swamps where I was certain a surly tom bobcat would lurk. In the years that followed, I successfully harvested every furbearer in my area…except for a bobcat. Though achieving my goal has proven to be a bit more difficult than I first imagined, I haven’t given up. There is plenty of enjoyment in the pursuit, whether I succeed or not! Each bobcat set that I have made remains vividly recorded in my memory, along with a host of other experiences that I have had along the trapline.

If you have ever considered trapping or fur handling, I strongly encourage you to sign up for a Trapper Education Course. If you “catch the bug” like I did, you’ll come to know and respect the coyote, fisher, mink, and other furbearers in your area. You’ll find yourself learning new skills, meeting new people, and exploring new corners of the forests, fields, and wetlands. Most importantly, you’ll end up with a rewarding new hobby, another unique avenue to connect with nature, and a new way to create lasting memories in the outdoors. Maybe you’ll even catch a bobcat!

Permit Requirements for Marten

A free special permit is still required to trap marten in New York. To receive a permit, contact the DEC Region 5 Wildlife Office in Warrensburg at 518-623-1240. You must provide the following information:

  • Name
  • Mailing address
  • DEC ID # (from your trapping license or backtag)
  • Phone number and/or e-mail address.

You can also apply by email to: [email protected], type “Marten Permit” in the subject line. Please be sure to include the information listed above.

Adopt Trapping Best Management Practices (BMPs)

  • Learn practical traps and techniques that improve efficiency, selectivity, & the welfare of trapped animals
  • Find out about specifications for traps that meet BMP criteria for each species
  • Instill public confidence in and maintain public support for trapping

Visit and search “Trapping BMPs”

Report Your
Furbearer Sightings!

DEC wants to learn more about the occurrence of various furbearers throughout New York such as bobcat, otter, fisher, weasel, and snowshoe hare. Your observations help biologists understand the distribution and abundance of these elusive or inconspicuous mammals.

You can report your observations online, and you can even include photos!

Go to or email us at [email protected]!

Thanks for your help!