The benefits of regulated trapping are predator management, species protection, and benefits that the trapper incurs for taking care of the landscape and its resources. Despite the benefits, new attempts to target trapping every year exist. And the interest in the activity seems to decline. There is a lack of awareness and understanding of the good that trapping does for the landscape and society. Therefore, deep diving into the benefits of a well-regulated trapping industry is essential.
One of the most evident benefits of trapping is the management of predators and other species that are difficult to hunt through other means. Coyotes, wolves, and beavers are just a few species that are difficult to target through traditional hunting. Yet, just like any other resource on the landscape, proper management is critical for the species’ long-term success and viability. Trapping steps in and allows these species to be managed efficiently and ethically.
Another benefit of trapping is protecting vulnerable species that hard-to-manage predators may target. Left unchecked, predators disproportionately impact certain species susceptible to predation. An example of this is the turkey and whitetail deer. Both species are natural prey for coyotes. Suppose the coyote population is allowed to grow exponentially. In that case, the impact on turkeys and deer will be lowered to a dangerous level. Many relationships like this can be managed by well-regulated trapping.
The prevention of starvation is also a benefit of well-regulated trapping. Managing species numbers is critical to preventing the landscape from being over-taxed. Every habitat has what is called carrying capacity. Carrying capacity is the amount of food available at a sustainable rate for the wildlife. When a species like a raccoon, martin, or otter gets too populated, they exceed the land’s carrying capacity. The result is wildlife conflicts and starvation, Much like the reality of exceeding a landscape’s carrying capacity. Habitat destruction is also a reality that must be considered and contended. Beavers are the poster child for destroying habitats for other creatures as they attempt to make ponds, lodges, and dams to suit their needs. Beavers have a robust ability to grow a population and are very difficult to hunt due to their aquatic habits. The only way to reliably manage them is through trapping.
Disease prevention is another compelling benefit of regulated trapping. When there is a disease in a particular species, trapping can be a way to lower the number of animals on the landscape. With a smaller population, it becomes more difficult for the disease to spread. This increased difficulty can, and often has, resulted in providing enough time for the illness to run its course and exit the population. The result is that a breeding population of the animals is maintained for future growth.
Another benefit of regulated trapping is the simple rewards a trapper receives from the activity. America was founded on trapping by trappers. Most of the American west was mapped by trappers that were looking for bountiful animal populations that they could harvest. By engaging in this art, a trapper learns history firsthand and becomes a part of the heritage of the mountain men. They also receive food and clothing for their efforts. While some species are not commonly eaten, some are well known to be delicacies. The wearing of fur is not only a time-honored tradition, but they are often fashionable and practical.
Just like the trappers of old, the modern trapper can enjoy being paid for their efforts by selling their furs and collecting bounties on nuisance animals. This allows the trapping endeavor to be paid for and possibly even profitable. The excitement of watching the prices fluctuate and going to fur auctions can be a unique benefit of a well-regulated trapping season.
The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation’s last principle in North America is to conduct scientific wildlife management. Sometimes this causes species to be protected from hunting, fishing, trapping, and other activities. However, it often demands that we step in and prevent the species from growing too robust. Trapping can provide a great way to learn about the local landscape and get some tangible benefits from having outdoor adventures. The next time you watch a documentary or movie featuring the great mountain men, remember that you can tap into that legacy and help manage wildlife as well.