Trappers and Ethics
By Toby Trigger

Trappers have a unique situation when dealing with other trappers, hunters and non-hunters because they leave traps in areas 24/7.

If you are hunting and you see that someone else is already using the lands it is easy to just leave and find another area.  But trappers are obligated by law and by ethics to check traps regularly – so what is a trapper to do?

Well here’s a list of things trappers must be aware of:

• Respect the other trapper’s “grounds” – particularly brushed, maintained trap lines with a history of use.
• Check traps regularly.
• Promote trapping methods that will reduce the possibility of catching non-target animals.
• Obtain landowners’ permission before trapping on private property.
• Know and use proper releasing and killing methods.
• Develop set location methods to prevent losses.
• Trap in the most humane way possible.
• Dispose of animal carcasses properly.
• Concentrate trapping in areas where animals are over-abundant for the supporting habitat.
• Promptly report the presence of diseased animals to wildlife authorities.
• Assist landowners who are having problems with predators and other furbearers that have become a nuisance.
• Support and help train new trappers in trapping ethics, methods and means, conservation, fur handling and marketing.
• Obey all trapping regulations, and support strict enforcement by reporting violations.
• Support and promote sound furbearer management.

The Code of Ethics is reprinted from the Alaska Trappers Manual. The manual was created in a joint effort by the Alaska Trappers Association and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
The Alaska Trappers Manual and the Alaskan’s How-To Manual are available through the ATA – see listing of retail books for more info.