Keeping the Trapping Tradition Alive

Hunting Regulations Icon New York Hunting

Adopt “Best Practices” when Trapping on Private Lands

While many of New York’s trappers stick to setting traps on public land, trapping on private lands can be a win-win for all involved. With roughly 80% of New York’s land privately-owned, getting permission to trap on private property helps open up additional opportunity for trappers while helping landowners manage local wildlife populations and reduce potential nuisance issues on their land. Trappers are likely familiar with “Best Management Practices” or “BMPs” which evaluate the efficacy and humaneness of many different trap systems. Below are a different kind of BMPs – recommendations for trapping private lands that reduce the chance that conflicts between trappers and landowners will occur, protecting the legacy of trapping for future generations.

  • Communication is key when talking to landowners! A report done in 2019 found that a majority of Americans support regulated trapping. Take the time to explain the reasons why you trap, and keep the following in mind.
    • Approval is highest for trapping if it is for subsistence, population control, or to reduce damage to property, crops, or gardens.
    • Approval is lowest if trapping is for recreation, fur clothing, or money.
  • Be sure to talk to landowners well before the season begins and identify any concerns that they may have or special rules they would like you to follow.
  • Ask the landowner who else might be using their property during trapping season. Be sure to communicate with them regarding when others may be on the property and what they may be doing.
  • Work with the landowner to clearly define where on their property you are allowed to set traps and when you will be there.
  • Follow the regulations associated with setting body-gripping traps on land including specifications for cubby sets (see Furbearer Traps).
  • Know and use selective trap sets. For example, use foot-encapsulating traps for raccoons whenever possible.
  • Avoid areas that have a high risk of trapping domestic animals. Keep traps covered and do not bait traps with pet food or meat-based baits
  • Check traps regularly and as early in the day as possible.
  • Fully use trapped animals to the greatest extent possible, and dispose of carcasses properly.
  • Offer to help out landowners with nuisance wildlife problems.
  • Be respectful. Don’t damage vegetation when making sets, do not drive in areas where you don’t have permission, and make sure to close gates behind you.
  • Give the landowner your contact information so they may call you with questions or concerns while you are trapping on their property.

Most importantly, remember that you are the future of trapping. One negative incident can have an substantial impact on New Yorkers’ support for this activity. Be an advocate for the respectful, sustainable use of wildlife, wildlife management, and the benefits of trapping.

For more information read “Bodygrip Traps on Dryland: A Guide to Responsible Use” (https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/81564.html). For guidance on how to effectively talk about trapping with the public, check out the “Communication Strategy for Trapping and Furbearer Management” (https://www.fishwildlife.org//afwa-inspires/furbearer-management).


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 www.dec.ny.gov/animals/30770.html or e-mail us at wildlife@dec.ny.gov!

Thanks for your help!