Wisconsin, has a wonderful diversity of common, unique, and rare mammals known as furbearers. Beaver, coyote, raccoon, and muskrat are good examples of the more abundant and common species across our large region. Stone marten is a non-native rather unique furbearer, and American marten is our native, endangered furbearer of northern Wisconsin. In contrast, the more secretive bobcat, fisher, and river otter are present in the northern one-half of the state and expanding southward to the pleasure of most.
“Usually by mid-summer folks begin to ask, ‘How are things going out there?’ or, ‘What can I expect to see this upcoming fall and winter?’,” says DNR Furbearer Specialist, John Olson. “From paddlers, to berry pickers, trekkers to trappers, folks are excited about potential opportunities for viewing and harvest this fall and winter.”
Raccoon Season Information Resident Season: October 20 - February 15, 2013 Non-resident Season: November 3 - February 15, 2013 Except: The Mississippi River zone opens the day after the duck season closes, or the second Monday in November (November 12, 2012), which ever occurs first, and ends on February 15, 2013. Bag Limit: Unlimited
Raccoons are found in a wide variety of both rural and urban habitats. Those areas close to a wetland or farmland mosaic have the highest populations, with even the northern forests now being home to raccoons.
“We have large populations of raccoons with the highest densities in southern and western portions of the state,” reports Geriann Albers, assistant furbearer specialist for the Department of Natural Resources, “Raccoons are still very abundant in all counties in a wide variety of habitats, often to nuisance levels, with populations extending northward into portions of southern Canada where the ancient language of Native Americans doesn’t even include the word raccoon!”
On the western front, Kris Johansen, wildlife biologist for Buffalo and Trempealeau counties reports, “Raccoon numbers remain abundant, though not quite as high as the past couple of years. Despite high numbers, they seem to be healthy, as we’ve not experienced any major disease outbreaks in our counties. Raccoons are doing well, making this species a great opportunity to gain access to private lands, as farmers and landowners experience nuisance and damage problems. Hopefully trappers and hunters will utilize this renewable resource while their numbers are high, and help to maintain this population in a healthy condition.”
In southern Wisconsin, Conservation Officer Nate Kroeplin reports “As always there’s an abundance of raccoon in the south-central region. Populations seem healthy with no reports of raccoons being found dead or sick from Canine Distemper Virus.” Lindsey Long, department wildlife veterinarian, notes, “High populations of raccoons can produce localized effects or pockets of Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) infection. In the past, there have been widespread problems with CDV not only causing raccoon deaths, but also spreading to other mammals.”
According to Long, infections were found in less commonly affected furbearers including badger, opossum, and mink in recent years, adding, “Everyone should take special care with abnormal acting raccoons, as the distemper clinical signs mimic those of the rabies virus. Rabies is a fatal viral disease for humans and other warm-blooded mammals, and cannot be differentiated from canine distemper without laboratory testing.”
Occasionally raccoons can cause problems and property owners are reminded that there are no poisons approved for use on raccoons.
“There are no legal toxicants or poisons approved for use on raccoons and it’s against both state and federal law to use pesticides such as fly bait and rat poison in a manner inconsistent with package labeling,” Brad Koele, wildlife damage specialist, said. “Non-target animals like the family pet dog or cat, or other wildlife may ingest the poison.”
Depending on the situation, there are a number of alternatives property owners can choose from when dealing with raccoons. Removing food sources, harassment, exclusion, and live trapping and relocation are all non-lethal options to consider. Anyone relocating animals must have the landowner’s permission when releasing the animal.
If lethal control is needed, trapping and shooting are also options. State law allows landowners or occupants of land to trap or shoot raccoons year-round and without a hunting or trapping license, with the exception of the 24-hour period preceding the gun deer season.
Anyone conducting removal efforts on behalf of the landowner must possess a valid trapping license if they are trapping the raccoons or a valid small game license if they are removing raccoons by shooting, and in both cases they must have written permission from the landowner. Individuals must also follow all other trapping and hunting regulations. If at all possible, we urge landowners to consider contacting licensed hunters or trappers who are trained and could possibly utilize the animal during the fall harvest seasons.
Wildlife managers from around the state suggest that 2012 will be a good year to ask permission to trap or hunt furbearers on new lands. Raccoons are a species where landowner permission to hunt or trap is normally not a problem, but ask for permission early – landowners appreciate it and then you’re ready well before the season opener. Nate Kroeplin also reminds folks interested in trapping in road right-of-ways that, “Permission is needed from the owner of the land underlying any public road, street, or highway.”
Mike Zeckmeister, Northern Region wildlife supervisor from Spooner urges trappers and hunters to “Make sure to do your homework with pre-season scouting, and obtain permission from landowners well in advance. Through pre-season efforts, hunters and trappers can make their efforts more efficient, while reducing fossil fuel consumption. This saves money and reduces our carbon footprint.”
The raccoon season opens statewide for residents on October 20, 2012 with the exception of the Mississippi River Zone where the season opens with the muskrat and mink season. The non-resident raccoon trapping season is from November 3, 2012 to February 15, 2013.
Beaver Season Information Zone A (Northwest): November 3, 2012 – April 30, 2013 Zone B (Northeast): November 3, 2012 – April 30, 2013 Zone C (South): November 3, 2012 – March 31, 2013 Zone D (Mississippi River): Day after duck season closes to March 15, 2013 Bag Limit: Unlimited
Sluggish fur prices and poor ice at the start of the 2011 season, followed by a steady decline in spring pelt values may have affected trapper interest. Statewide, the beaver population estimate is around 82,000 animals, based on helicopter surveys of Beaver Zones A and B in 2011. This is an increase from 2008, the lowest statewide population estimate since these surveys began in 1992, at roughly two-thirds of the 1995 estimate. Concerns over this decline are being addressed by fish and wildlife biologists, fishermen, trappers, user groups, and interested citizens.
Regionally, beaver numbers in southeastern Wisconsin and on the Mississippi River appear to be stable or increasing, while stable or decreasing elsewhere. Dave MacFarland, wildlife researcher from Rhinelander, coordinates the intensive aerial surveys conducted every three to four years in the northern portions of the state. Following our fall surveys of 2011, Dave stated “We have a population of approximately 31,000 beaver in northwestern Wisconsin, known as Zone A, compared to 28,000 in 2008 and 41,000 in 2005. In Zone B in northeastern Wisconsin, the 2011 population estimate was 24,000 compared to 18,000 beavers in 2008 and 29,000 in 2005.”
In Zones A and B, where more intensive beaver control programs exist, the long term beaver population decline has reduced damage to trout streams and town roads, but with this decline are concerns about other resources dependent on beaver ponds and flowages. Because beaver populations are now at or below acceptable levels, the trapping season in Wisconsin opens in November, rather than mid-October, with southern Wisconsin, or Zone C, closing at the end of March rather than the end of April. A Beaver Task Force, comprised of citizens and agency personnel is currently reviewing overall beaver management in Wisconsin with initial recommendations expected in late 2012.
Otter Season Information North Zone: November 3, 2012 – April 30, 2013 Central Zone: November 3, 2012 – March 31, 2013 South Zone: November 3, 2012 – March 31, 2013 Bag Limit: One per permit Application Deadline: August 1
“Factors that impact beaver populations have similar effects on otter,” according to DNR Furbearer Specialist John Olson. “Beaver are herbivores that prefer the inner bark of aspen, willow, alder and cottonwood for food, and their branches for construction of dams and lodges, while otter prefer other animals for food, mainly small fish, crayfish, and amphibians.”
Current statewide otter populations are below management goals of approximately 13,000 animals. Although a majority of the population is found in the north, otter numbers in southern Wisconsin are increasing. They’re now present in many of our major river systems of the south and southwest, namely the Kickapoo, Black, Chippewa, Buffalo, Trempealeau, Mississippi, and Wisconsin rivers and tributaries.
Otter, like many of our furbearers, are associated with and depend on clean rivers, lakes, and streams. As Dale Katsma, area wildlife supervisor from Plymouth in southeastern Wisconsin suggests “People interested in river otters should thank those who have worked so hard to improve the water resources of southern Wisconsin – farmers, landowners, DNR, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Land and Water Conservation Districts, and Trout Unlimited to name a few. Most people are thrilled when they see otters, while a few trout farmers are not. If damage occurs, permits are issued, and we only issue a few permits a year.”
“The otter harvest is highly regulated, which helps to control harvest pressure at a time when recent fur prices have strongly fluctuated,” says Todd Naas, wildlife biologist for Ashland County. Permits are issued based on annually adjusted quotas, estimated fall populations, and expected success rates. In 2012-13 harvest quotas will continue to remain conservative, at 900 statewide.
Kris Johansen, wildlife biologist for Buffalo and Trempealeau counties, reminds us that, “trappers that plan to trap within the Upper Mississippi Fish and Wildlife Refuge need to apply for a permit for trapping through the District Fish and Wildlife Service offices located along the big river. For further information on refuge opportunities contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Brian Stemperat 507-494-6221.
Pat Beringer, wildlife biologist for Price County, states that, “The statewide opening date for otter is the same as beaver, November 3, and continues until March 31, 2013 in the Central and South Zones, and April 30, 2013 in the North Zone. Anyone interested in trapping otter must apply for a permit by August 1.”
Fisher Season Information All Zones: October 20 - December 31 Bag Limit: One per permit Application Deadline: August 1
Strong interest in fisher harvest has resulted in more applicants than permits, especially in Fisher Management Zone A, in northwestern Wisconsin, and in Fisher Management Zones E and F, in west- central and southern Wisconsin. Permit numbers are down in northern zones and the same or slightly higher in southern zones, but the number of applications received for each zone will determine whether a trapper receives a permit in their zone of choice or is awarded a preference point.
Kris Belling, Western District wildlife supervisor at Eau Claire further explains, “There are six fisher management zones in Wisconsin. Southern portions of Fisher Zones A through D have the highest fisher populations, with much lower fisher numbers in northern portions of these zones. Zone E is in west-central Wisconsin and has a growing fisher population.” Kris suggests that, “in Zone E, the best opportunities will be in the northern portions of the zone, namely Chippewa, Clark, Eau Claire and Marathon counties.”
Zone F includes the remainder of the state and will be open for harvest in 2012 for the ninth consecutive year. In this zone good opportunities exist in southern Marathon, Shawano, and Oconto counties. As Cortney Schaefer, wildlife biologist at Wausua observes, “Marathon County trappers have the best opportunity with four different zones and good fisher populations, but be sure you have landowner permission prior to applying for harvest permits.”
However, even in areas where fishers have flourished for over four decades, biologists are experiencing localized declines, while adjacent areas have strong numbers.
“Fisher numbers remain spotty in Price and southern Ashland and Iron counties,” says Biologist Pat Beringer, “Although localized areas may still have considerable fisher, many trappers reported low numbers of fisher during the last several years.” Yet in other areas, wildlife biologists are reporting an increase in fisher presence. Jess Carstens, wildlife biologist for Dunn and Pepin counties, and Harvey Halvorsen, area wildlife supervisor from Baldwin, observe a growing population in west-central Wisconsin, especially St. Croix County.
Bobcat Season Information North of Highway 64 only: Period 1: October 20 - December 25 Period 2: December 26 - January 31, 2013 Bag Limit: One per permit Application Deadline: August 1
The northern forest bobcat population increased through the early 2000s, stabilized, and may now be on a decline.
“Even though we’re on the northern edge of bobcat range, we do have relatively good habitat and mild winters compared to regions north of Lake Superior,” states Robert Rolley, DNR wildlife researcher who studied bobcats as his doctoral thesis. “The population apparently peaked at over 3,000 animals in the early 2000s, but is now likely at the low end of our population goal of 2,000 to 3,000 bobcats north of U.S. Highway 64. Some of this decline appears to be due to lower pregnancy rates, especially in yearlings, likely a result of reduced prey availability. Due to a combination of reduced reproduction and a decline in the winter track survey index, a significant reduction in the harvest quota will occur in 2012-13.”
A preference system allows the continuous applicant a bobcat tag about every five to six years. Wildlife biologists and wardens in central and southern portions of the state report an increase in bobcat sightings. In 2010, a road-killed bobcat in Columbia County wore ear tags from a research project in Iowa! Brian Dhuey of our Wildlife Research unit reports that a recent citizen-based trail camera survey suggests, “We can now well document the presence of bobcats in central and southwestern Wisconsin with several citizens providing great trail camera photos.”
Beginning in 2010, a $3.00 fee increase on bobcat permit applications has earmarked funds specifically for bobcat research in Wisconsin. Dave MacFarland, furbearer researcher out of Rhinelander, notes that, “The money generated from this fee increase is being combined with Pittman-Robertson funds to further understand bobcat populations and habitat quality south of highway 64. DNR personnel are cooperating with Dr. Eric Anderson and graduate student John Clare, both of UW-Stevens Point, who are conducting this new research.”
As with fisher and otter, bobcat must be tagged at the point of harvest and registered with the department.
Hunters and trappers keep the pelt, but bobcat carcasses, and in some years otter and fisher carcasses, are collected from the trapper or hunter. “Registration and carcass collections allow biologists to gather important management information such as harvest pressure, overall age structure of the population, reproductive age, and previous litter sizes,” according to Michele Woodford, wildlife biologist from Woodruff.
During the 2012 – 2013 seasons, carcasses will be required from all bobcat, all river otters, and fishers from Fisher Zones E and F.
New Season Structure
The bobcat harvest season is split between two time periods: early, October 15 – December 25, and late: December 26 – January 31, 2013, with permits valid for the season selected.
“After a two year experimental season framework this split season is now going permanent,” said Olson.
The bobcat harvest quota will be equally split between the two time periods, but permit levels will be lower for the later season due to higher success rates. Generally, snow cover increases harvest success because permit holders can locate bobcats easier and quicker compared to non-snow conditions.
“We will take a reasonable, conservative approach until we have a better understanding of how this new season works,” says Olson.
Also, in addition to registering bobcat harvest with a conservation warden, successful hunters and trappers are required to report their bobcat harvest using a call-in system. Within 24 hours of a kill, successful permit holders need to call 1-800-994-6673. The automated system will ask the caller to provide basic details regarding the harvest.
“Call-in reporting will allow DNR officials to monitor and potentially close the season early if harvest levels exceed the established quota”, according to Bill Vander Zouwen, who oversees the furbearer program in Wisconsin.
Coyotes, Foxes, and Wolves
Coyote Season Dates Trapping (statewide): October 20 - February 15, 2013 Note: An extension of the season closure is possible in an attempt to combine similar seasons together. With the established wolf season running through the end of February, for simplicity sake a similar season for all wild canids is recommended. Hunting: Year round. Note: The seasonal closure of coyote hunting during the gun deer season in select northern sites has been removed. Bag Limit: None
Fox (all species) Season Dates Hunting and Trapping (statewide): October 20 - February 15, 2013 Bag Limit: Unlimited
Wolf Season Dates Hunting and Trapping (statewide): October 15 - February 28, 2013 Note: Specific rules and regulations are being developed. Stay tuned by checking the DNR website at dnr.wi.gov and search under ‘wolf’
Coyotes, the second largest of Wisconsin’s native canids, have expanded their range throughout southern and western Wisconsin. In the remainder of the state they continue to do well with their greatest challenge being in established gray wolf territories, where coyotes have bounced back, having learned to be less vocal and avoid their larger cousin!
An adaptable animal, coyotes seem to fair equally well in rural, urban, and suburban settings. Wildlife managers and conservation officers across much of central and southern Wisconsin are reporting a marked increase in coyotes. The same is being observed for both gray and red fox, with ‘reds’ closer to human dwellings and grays in the brush land and woods.
“There is an abundance of coyotes on the landscape in south-western and west-central Wisconsin,” according to Area Wildlife Supervisor, Kris Johansen. “Trappers in southern Wisconsin will be able to start trapping two weeks earlier as this year the north and south coyote and fox season dates are combined. This will provide trappers south of highway 64 additional days during a pleasant time of year to be afield with coyote and fox sets.”
Bruce Bacon, recently retired wildlife biologist from Mercer adds, “Cable restraints are proving more effective for coyotes every year as folks are learning to use this relatively new tool. This year would be a great year to try this technique out to extend trapping opportunities into the winter. Cable restraint trapping also gets trappers out and about during snow cover, a great time to read sign and learn about animal behavior.”
“The cable restraint was thoroughly tested during three years of science-based research and was remarkable in its ability to restrain, without injury, any wild or domestic canine,” says Steve Hoffman, wildlife biologist from Grantsburg. After eight years of use by licensed trappers, things are going well.”
For additional information on use of cable restraints, request DNR Publication WM-443-2004, ‘Cable Restraints in Wisconsin, A Guide to Responsible Use’.
“Foxes, the smallest of our three native canids, prefers a more rural setting,” says Southeastern Wisconsin wildlife biologist, Dale Katsma, who also reports that, “coyote numbers are stable and steadily increasing in the southeast portion of the state, where they’ve been known to cause quite a stir around some communities.”
Red fox numbers have increased across many areas of the north, with mange and coyote competition impacting populations in western and southern portions of the state. A density dependent disease, sarcoptic mange, was observed across Wisconsin in susceptible canid species including red fox, coyote, and gray wolf in 2003, but has diminished significantly. Gray fox have fewer cases of mange and appear to be doing well in southern and central Wisconsin.
In January 2012, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made a final decision to delist the gray wolf. A state law, passed later that same month established a regulated wolf harvest season to begin this fall. In rapid order, rules required to implement this law were developed through a public involvement process and presented to the Natural Resources Board which approved the rules on an emergency basis in order for a hunting and trapping season to be in place for 2012.
An available harvest quota of 201 wolves was established with up to 116 wolves available to public hunters and trappers; up to 85 wolves could be harvested by the Tribes according to established Ceded Territory agreements. Updates and additional information is available on the DNR’s website under the keyword: ‘wolf’.
“The public is encouraged to report their observations, especially hunters and trappers who are intimately familiar with their area of the state. This kind of information is valuable in our efforts in monitoring populations. Every observation counts and we welcome the help,” says DNR mammalian ecologist and wolf expert, Adrian Wydeven. “Trappers who have incidentally captured a wolf in a coyote trap can help by checking with the local DNR office to see if a wildlife biologist is available nearby to radio collar and help release the wolf. “Every additional collared wolf on the air helps us do a better job keeping track of wolves in the state.
Muskrat and Mink
Muskrat and Mink Season Information Northern Zone: October 20 – February 28, 2013 Southern Zones: October 27 – February 28, 2013 Winnebago Zone: October 27 – March 15, 2013 Mississippi River Zone: Begins the day after duck season closes or the second Monday in November, whichever occurs first – February 28, 2013 Bag Limit: Unlimited
Mink and muskrat populations appear to be doing relatively well in most of the state, with pockets of good numbers and other spots with low numbers.
On a statewide basis, opportunities to trap these species are quite good, as they exist in most areas where permanent water can be found. Brian Glenzinski, wildlife biologist in Southern Wisconsin observes that, “Muskrats are doing really well and it should be a great year for them.” John Nelson, retired wildlife technician for the Mississippi River Unit suggests muskrat populations on the big river “appear to be having a rough time of it. High water levels last fall and through the winter months, combined with the same high water this spring has reduced populations and seriously affected trapper access on the big river.”
Trappers on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service properties on the Mississippi River need a USFWS trapping permit and tags, as well as the Wisconsin license in order to trap.
Aaron Buchholz, wildlife biologist in Mishicot observes “I handle numerous calls from property owners and municipalities regarding muskrat damage caused by their excavating activity. I always strongly encourage these folks to reach out to a local trapper for help and remind them that big muskrats make little muskrats every year....consider having someone trap muskrats every year, as annual maintenance is the effective way to mitigate damage from muskrats.”
“Colony traps were legal beginning in 2011” explains DNR Conservation Warden Tom Van Haren. “This tool is useful in select locations and specific for muskrat harvest and muskrat control.
American (Pine) Marten
American marten, also known as ‘pine marten’, are a state protected mammal and currently the only furbearer on Wisconsin’s endangered species list. Reintroduced into the Chequamegon and Nicolet National Forests in northwest and northeast Wisconsin decades ago, their numbers remain very low.
“Martens are a rare and unique member of our northern forest ecosystems, and require additional assistance to remain in Wisconsin for future generations,” said Jim Woodford, conservation biologist for DNR’s Endangered Resources Bureau. “To assist martens in Wisconsin, the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, and the department have recently completed a three year project to stock 90 additional martens from northern Minnesota into the Chequamegon National Forest.
Approximately half of the marten released into the state have been fitted with radio collars. The data generated from these animals are being analyzed to determine causes of mortality and to improve our understanding of the habitats best suited to their survival. This information will help direct and inform our future recovery efforts.
Although they have not ventured far from the original release sites, we’ve discovered additional martens in northern Iron County. Zach Wilson, private naturalist, and retired Wildlife Biologist Bruce Bacon, both of Iron County, lead a citizen science effort with local Iron County high school students. Zach Wilson observed that “Local trappers in Iron County have helped us determine where these rare marten have been living for the last ten years, and through their help we may learn of their connection with martens in our neighboring state of Michigan.”
These two biologists and students have radio-collared several marten over the last 6-7 years, and Bacon states martens are “being tracked as part of the Woods and Waters program in the Hurley and Mercer High Schools.” He also adds “Fisher depredation may be an important factor in the success or failure of the marten re-introduction efforts, and with fisher numbers down in the north it may be a factor in the success of martens in Iron County. Trappers are urged to consider using live trapping techniques such as cage traps, in areas occupied by martens.”
Regulated trapping with special restrictions is allowed within Wisconsin’s two Marten Protection Areas. These special restrictions allow for regulated take of several furbearers while protecting marten, and are found in our trapping regulations. Monitoring these restrictions is critically important to the future of American martens in Wisconsin.
Anyone with a marten observation should contact their local wildlife biologist, or James Woodford at 715-365-8856.
A European cousin of our marten, the stone marten began to appear in southeastern Wisconsin nearly 70 years ago. This was the result of an escape or release of specimens from a fur farm in the Burlington area.
Jonathan Pauli, assistant professor with the University of Wisconsin - Madison explains that, “The stone marten or beech marten is a furbearer native to central and southern Europe. In Wisconsin they’re present in our deciduous woodlots of southeastern Wisconsin while our American marten inhabit northern, mixed hardwood-coniferous forests, with these two species hundreds of miles apart.”
The two martens can be identified by the throat patch, with the stone marten having a white throat patch (like our native mink), whereas the American marten has an orange or tawny colored throat patch. Dr. Pauli and the department are interested in the presence and distribution of stone marten. As an unprotected species it’s a legally harvested species but with low fur value. We would appreciate hearing from anyone who either observes or harvests a stone marten so we can collect location information and tissue samples. For more information about stone marten, contact Dr. Pauli at 608-890-0285.
Trappers are required to turn in incidentally trapped animals to local conservation officers. They can use the 1-800-TIP-WDNR hotline (1-800-847-9367) to report incidentals. These specimens are used in furbearer research and training workshops. If pelts are sold, the proceeds are used in our growing trapper education program. Virgil Schroeder, President of the Wisconsin Trappers Association encourages trappers to use this service and turn in rare incidentally taken furbearers. “It’s easy, it’s important, and it’s the right thing to do. Your efforts will not only help our furbearer education program but will be used to test new tools and new techniques you might use in the future that could increase opportunity and reduce incidental take.”
Some villages, cities, and towns throughout the state, primarily in urban areas, require special permits and/or have ordinances that restrict trapping, or the discharge of firearms or bows. Check with local town or village offices before you hunt or trap to see if special rules apply! A quality hunting or trapping experience can be found on public or private lands, but pre-season scouting and permission from landowners is critical.
Best Management Practices (BMPs) for Trapping
In a progressive effort to improve the science of furbearer management, the State of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Trappers Association, Wisconsin Conservation Congress,and individual trappers have been actively involved in an international effort to develop BMPs for Trapping. This is one of the largest collective trap research efforts ever undertaken, with the final product being information and suggestions that each state and their trappers can use to improve on animal welfare and trapping in general, but specifically, in their trapper education programs. There are now 18 BMP studies completed and available at www. fishwildlife.org.
“Advances in trapping through scientific study are the future of resource management in Wisconsin and in the United States, where our natural resources belong to all citizens,” says Tom Hauge, director of the Bureau of Wildlife Management. “Regulated harvests, combined with science-based knowledge, a caring public, and highly trained conservation officers will provide us with reasonable tools with which we can continue to manage wildlife populations while enjoying the immense pleasure and knowledge of having intact, natural systems.”
If you are interested in becoming a trapper, completion of a 12-hour Trapper Education course is mandatory. The cost of the course is $12.
“If you would like to learn about furbearers, trapping history, responsibilities, and ethics of the modern-day trapper, consider taking the trapper education course offered by the department and taught by dedicated volunteer instructors of the Wisconsin Trappers Association,” invites Nicole Shumaker, trapper education coordinator for the WTA.
To locate a current class near you, contact your local DNR office or check the DNR website, keyword ‘trapping’.