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Wisconsin Trapping Information and Resources
Trapping 101
Scouting Matters: Pre-season and in-season scouting are critically
important to any trapline. Furbearer activity centers sometimes shift,
based on the availability of food and den sites. Scouting helps a
trapper determine where it's best to put traps. After all, traps set in
areas where targeted furbearers aren't available will only waste your
time and fuel. Be efficient. Don't guess. In the process, you'll squeeze
plenty of excitement into your morning trap-checks and become a better

Blowing in the Wind: When choosing trap-set locations, make sure to use
the wind to your advantage. If a furbearer cannot smell your attractant,
it may pass within a few feet of your set and never take a step toward
it. Most furbearers are curious, and if they detect the bait, urine or
lure you're using to attract them, they'll come closer to investigate.
The wind will help you pull in furbearers by carrying your attractant's
smell further than it would emanate on its own in a still night air,
especially in cold weather. It also allows you to set further off the
travel-way, reducing the possibility on non-target catches, and trap

Every 24: Trappers have a legal obligation to check their traps every 36
hours. Most trappers, however, rarely check traps later than every 24
hours. Experienced trappers know that it's best to check traps earlier
to ensure captured furbearers stay in the trap; no one steals the
captured furbearer and trap; and the captured furbearer spends no more
time restrained than necessary.

Swivel Action: Adding swivels to your trap's chain - as well as
shortening and center-mounting the chain to the trap frame directly
beneath the jaws - will reduce escapes and self-inflicted injuries to
the trapped furbearer. Swivels are inexpensive, easy to incorporate and
will pay dividends. Consider placing one on each end of the trap chain,
and one in the center. The swivel for the stake-end of the chain should
be large enough to accommodate your trap stake. For additional trap
modifications, please visit the Game Commission's website at, click on "Trapping and Furbearers" in the left
column, then select "Best Management Practices for Trapping in the
United States."

Sweet Treats: If you're raccoon trapping in an area where there's a
possibility of capturing a non-target animal, it's usually best to avoid
using meat- or fish-based baits and gland lures. Try using substitute
attractants such as grape jelly, anise oil or peanut butter. These baits

usually won't pull in pets and they still have tremendous appeal to

Rock Solid: Traps set afield for furbearers work best when they are
seated solidly in a trap bed. This is accomplished by packing soil
around the circumference of the trap's jaws. If the trap moves when you
push down on the trap's jaws or springs, it's not seated firmly enough
in the trap bed. Pack dirt around the trap or place a stone or small
stick under the trap's jaw to keep it from moving. Traps must be
immobile to be effective.

Ask First! Ask a landowner for permission to trap, even if he or she
allows trapping, or doesn't have his or her land posted. Landowners
often know their property intimately and can direct you to the best
places to set traps, or the only places they allow traps to be set. Be
responsible and trap ethically. Remember, wildlife conservation always
wins when trappers and hunters ask for permission.

On the Blind: Another great way to take raccoons and mink in areas where
using bait may lead to the capture of a non-target animal is by using
"blind" or trail sets. These sets are placed where a raccoon or mink is
forced to enter the water to get around a rock, tree trunk or to walk
along a bridge abutment. These sets are especially effective on
furbearers that have learned to stay away from bait sets.

Any Trap Won't Do:  Traps must be matched to the furbearer you intend to
catch. You can't use a muskrat trap to catch a coyote and a beaver trap
won't work for raccoons. Here's a quick overview of what to use for
popular Pennsylvania furbearers: foxes, 1.5 coil spring; coyote, 1.5,
1.75 or 2 coil spring; raccoon, 1 or 1.5 coil spring; weasels, skunks,
opossums, 1 coil spring; mink, 1 or 1.5 coil spring or five-inch by
five-inch, double spring body-gripping trap; muskrat, 1 long spring,
jump or coil spring trap or five-inch by five-inch single spring
body-gripping trap; and beaver, 3 or 4 double long spring or jump trap
and 10-inch by 10-inch, double-spring body-gripping trap.

Out of Sight: Most people do not consider the skinned carcass of any
animal to be pleasing to the eye. Since furbearer remains are considered
municipal waste, carcasses should be disposed through your curbside
pickup, or at an approved waste or rendering facility. Don't dispose of
them where passersby will see them, where a pet may drag one home, or
where their decomposing odor will offend nearby homeowners. Keep it

Protection Precautions: Trappers should always handle dispatched
furbearers with latex or rubber gloves to avoid coming in contact with
any body fluids from the animal. Rabies, which continues to pose a
health threat in many counties, is transmitted when a furbearer's body
fluids enter a person's body through a cut or body opening (mouth, eye,
etc.) Don't take risks when approaching trapped animals to dispatch
them. Always maintain a safe distance from captured furbearers and
handle catches with gloved hands.

Information provided by the PA Game Commission
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