How Trapping Works

Arguments Against Trapping

­Even with something as small as a mousetrap, traps can go bad. You may have had an experience with a common household snap trap in which the animal only got ­caught by a portion of the trap and didn't die instantly. Such things can also occur with other outdoor traps, causing an animal to suffer. This is one of the reasons trappers are supposed to check their traps often.

And although there are rules and provisions to try and protect against accidental trapping, traps are not intelligent -- sometimes capture animals they're not meant to. They aren't like hunters, who knowingly aim only for a buck or a pheasant. Threatened and endangered animals can become trapped, as well as domesticated animals. In some rural areas, humans have to be careful to avoid large foothold traps intended for bears and other animals. In catch-and-release cages, it may not be as much of an issue if the incorrect animal is trapped, but it can still be extremely stressful and detrimental to a wild animal's health to be locked up in a tiny cage for an extended period of time.

Though trapping can be very useful and very humane, even the best intentions sometimes have unintended negative outcomes -- in this case, animal cruelty. The complex issue of trapping is not likely to be determined anytime soon, so for more information, visit the links below.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. "Best Management Practices for Trapping in the United States." (Accessed 12/8/08)
  • Born Free USA. "The Truth About Trapping." (Accessed 12/8/08)
  • Fort Green Museum. "Sears and Roebuck Fur History." (Accessed 12/8/08)
  • In Defense of Animals. "Glue Trap Facts." (Accessed 12/8/08)
  • Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. "2008 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook." (Accessed 12/8/08)
  • New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. "General Information about Trapping in New Hampshire." (Accessed 12/8/08)
  • Raccoon Animal Trapping. "Raccoon Padded Foot Trap and Body Trap." (Accessed 12/8/08)
  • Tomahawk Live Trap. "Animal Traps / Animal Cages." (Accessed 12/8/08)
  • Wild About Trapping. "Tips, Pointers and Sets." (Accessed 12/8/08)
  • Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. "2008 Trapping Regulations." (Accessed 12/8/08)