Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How Trapping Works

Trapping Laws

Trapping laws vary from state to state, so it's important to carefully review your state's trapp­ing laws and regulations before you begin. Some states have even banned leghold and foothold traps, so you may have to alter your methods depending on where you are.

­Many states support trapping as a legitimate outdoor activity necessary to control the wildlife population and damage to people and their property. However, people must apply for a license to trap and trap in season for the animal they are seeking. There are no age limits on trapping, but many states recommend age 12 to complete successful trapper education courses before buying a trapping license. Some states, such as Wisconsin, offer nonresident trapping seasons for some animals. However, Wisconsin offers this option only to residents of states that allow Wisconsin residents to also purchase nonresident trapping llicenses. There are exceptions for people from Hawaii, Michigan, Minnesota or Washington, D.C., who want to trap in Wisconsin [source: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources]. Such states may also require trappers to complete their state's trapper education course, or a home-state equivalent.

Many states also require that trappers check most types of traps at least once a day so that animals are not left in traps or cages for an extended period of time. Some states don't require regular review of traps under the ice; however states like New Hampshire mandate that ice traps must be visited at least every 72 hours [source: New Hampshire Fish and Game Department].

Whatever the laws and regulations of the area in which you're trapping, be sure to carefully review the limits of land of your trapping area. Respect private land, and always ask a landowner before placing a trap on an area that is not specifically marked as open for trapping.

Why is trapping so important? Read on to find the thoughts behind the argument in favor of trapping.