Washington — The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies’ (AFWA) National Trapper Education Program (www.TrapperEd.com) is now online and ready for use. Developed collaboratively with state and federal fish and wildlife agencies as well as trapping experts from around the country, TrapperEd provides an online mechanism for states to certify trappers using consistent national content standards and learning objectives.

TrapperEd’s16 chapters cover the history of trapping, safety, responsibility and ethics, trapping equipment and techniques as well as skinning and fur handling. The course also covers the basics of land and water trapping including the use of foothold traps, foot encapsulating traps, bodygrip traps and cable restraints and cage traps.

“The idea behind TrapperEd is to bring trapper education up to speed with hunter education,” said Bryant White, AFWA’s Furbearer Research Coordinator. “Ideally at some point in the future, TrapperEd will be recognized by states to allow for reciprocity in licensing among states, similar to the way online hunter education is recognized now, but it will be up to the individual states to make that decision.”

As with online hunter and bow hunter education courses, students taking the U.S. trapper education course students can log in, work their way through the various chapters and quizzes, and print a completion voucher when they have successfully completed the program. AFWA also recommends that state agencies offer a supplemental field day to cover state-specific laws and regulations and provide an opportunity for hands-on instruction.

Modern regulated trapping is a very important wildlife management technique and is employed by most state fish and wildlife agencies. Since 2003, AFWA’s U.S. Furbearer Conservation Technical Work Group, which oversees the Humane Capture Research Program, has released 17 Best Management Practices (BMPs) for Trapping in the United States.

The BMPs aim to improve and modernize the technology of trapping through research that evaluates animal welfare; identifies efficient tools and techniques; and develops recommendations for state agencies to consider as an element of their wildlife management programs. Last week, AFWA published two new BMPs for regulated trapping of American Badger and Canada Lynx, bringing the BMP total to 19.

“The new BMP for trapping Canada Lynx is especially significant because the Lynx is listed as a threatened species in the contiguous U.S. states where it occurs,” said White. “However, trapping these animals is a vital and integral part of research efforts to restore declining populations and being able to demonstrate that they can be captured humanely is important to these efforts.”

Badger are often trapped not only by fur harvesters, but for damage control. Badgers can cause issues with livestock due to their burrowing activity. The process of evaluating traps and trapping methods is important for documenting and improving animal welfare among captured animals.

To learn more about AFWA’s Furbearer Management efforts, the BMPs and the numerous other works of the U.S. Furbearer Conservation Technical Work Group, go to www.fishwildlife.org and visit the Furbearer Management section under Focus Areas.

The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies —the organization that represents North America’s fish and wildlife agencies—promotes sound management and conservation, and speaks with a collective voice on important fish and wildlife issues. Found on the web at www.fishwildlife.org.

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