Studies & Reports Pertaining to Trapping & Furbearer Conservation

Regulated trapping is utilized by State, Federal and Tribal agencies to manage wildlife and their habitats - providing many benefits to people (not just hunters and trappers). Both state agencies and professionals depend on furbearer trapping activities for scientific monitoring of animal population size and health, reintroduction efforts to stabilize populations (such as river otters; gray, red and mexican wolves; beavers and fisher), to protect endangered species during vulnerable periods (such as sea turtles and ground nesting birds), and to help monitor abundant furbearer populations (such as raccoons, skunks and coyotes).


Regulated trapping activities also provide a benefit to citizens through relief from property damage (such as livestock, agriculture, forestry, and municipal infrastructure), and by protecting public health, welfare and safety (through localized control/management of rabies & distemper outbreaks, or flooding to private property from beavers). An added integral benefit includes assurance that wild resources (such as furbearers) are used responsibly. Trapping is highly regulated by state and federal agencies through scientifically-based laws and regulations that are strictly enforced by conservation officers. A small sampling of that science can be found here - with an accumulation of relevant studies and research pertaining to the conservation of fur bearing species and the regulation of beneficial trapping practices. The resources found on this page will be updated as those updates become available, and new/relevant studies will be added as they become available.


Foxes & Lyme Disease: Is There A Connection?


From Vermont Fish & Wildlife:

"In January 2018 the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Board received a petition to eliminate the hunting and trapping of fox “to help protect public health from Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases.” The petitioner was driven by the belief that the current level of harvest impacts the fox population and, consequently, that of small mammals, in particular, the white-footed mouse, one of the reservoirs of Lyme disease. After a thorough review regarding the influence of Vermont’s red fox harvest on the prevalence of Lyme disease in the state, the VFWD finds no compelling evidence that the current rate of harvest of red fox is influencing the presence, distribution, or prevalence of infected black-legged tick.”

Fox management has also been recently scrutinized by hunting critics throughout the Northeastern United States. A recent trend in the debate over predator management appears to include misconceptions over the relationship between predatory species and impactful rodent control. More specifically, the control of Lyme Disease vectors such as white-footed-mice and chipmunks.

Animal rights activists feel as though wildlife management protocols of predators such as foxes and coyotes shouldn’t exist, as, by their belief, the more predators gorging on mice, the less mice there will be to carry Lyme infecting ticks, thus slowing the spread of Lyme disease, and by proxy, the contraction of Lyme to humans. But as any good researcher knows, the wild kingdom will seldom play by such black and white rules. Follow the links below to read more.



Calamity By Design: The Chelmsford Example

“During the late 1980s, a national animal rights group developed a "model" for getting trapping ban initiatives passed by town, county and state governments. The model guidelines encouraged animal rights activists to disguise regulated trapping as a public safety/animal welfare issue. Exactly in accordance with such direction, an article to ban trapping was introduced at a Chelmsford town meeting in 1988.”

So what happens when Animal Rights groups and politics muddy the waters of wildlife management and beneficial regulated trapping actions? A prime example lies in a small Massachusetts town, where beaver trapping was outlawed - briefly.

“The Chelmsford Example” is presented by the Northeast Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, and discusses the cause & effect ramifications of removing sustainable management from the wildlife conservation equation.



Science Advances: Artelle Et Al. (2018) Miss The Mark on Wildlife Management

“Artelle et al. (Hallmarks Of Science) conclude that “hallmarks of science” are largely missing from North American wildlife management based on a desk review of selected hunting management plans and related documents found through Internet searches and email requests to state and provincial wildlife agencies. Although several conceptual, methodological, and interpretation errors are evident in Artelle et al., we highlight three fundamental problems that compromise the validity of conclusions posited: missing information to support selection of hallmarks of science, confusion about roles and nature of science and management, and failure to engage effectively with scientists and managers actively managing wildlife populations in North America.”

Wildlife Management endavors are increasingly criticized by a broader conservation mindset that seeks to allow nature to “figure itself out” rather than have mankind manage and conserve resources. Misnomer terminology, such as “trophy hunting” lie at the core of a broader debate about whether or not wildlife should be managed through regulated hunting and trapping actions. This study is a response to a report that contends scientific hallmarks are largely missing from modern wildlife management protocols.

Habitat loss and climate change are clearly far greater threats to North America's native wildlife species than the regulated activities of hunting and trapping. Broader aspects of the hunting industry is a great supporter of conservation efforts, and is an important source for scientific data about the health of both animal populations and broader ecosystems as a whole. The emotional criticsm that expends immeasurable amounts of resources and funding in an attempt to shut down predator hunting and regulated trapping actions immensely undermines impartial, legitimate and beneficial science-based approaches. Attempts to remove licensed hunters and trappers from the conservation community creates a rift that alienates a culture-base of people who share an ultimate goal of conserving and managing wildlife resources in North America.