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The practice of trapping in Canada is older than the country itself. Aboriginals trapped for centuries before European explorers arrived on the continent, and many of Canada’s cities began as trading posts. Trapping continues today for many different reasons.
The most obvious reason people trap is for fur or food. Trapping for these reasons has decreased since the 1970s but there are still approximately 60, 000 fur trappers in Canada, most of them trapping part time.
Fur trapping has become increasingly regulated in Canada. The practice falls under the provincial/territorial jurisdictions and all trappers are required to take training courses in their province before they are licensed. This ensures they know and understand the regulations for trapping in Canada and are knowledgeable about the most recent developments and requirements in humane traps and trapping methods.
It is illegal to trap without a license, except for farmers trapping on their own land and Aboriginal people whose trapping rights fall under their Treaty or land claim agreements. Trappers are required to carry their license when trapping.
Trappers attempt to set traps in a specific location that will lure the target species and minimize the chance of non-target animals being captured. Unfortunately, however, companion animals and many other non-target animals, including some endangered species, are sometimes caught in traps set for wildlife in parks, along paths, or in fields and forested areas. Like the target species the trap was set for, non-target animals caught in traps suffer extreme pain and distress and are often not found for many hours or days.
Trapping in Canada involves more than just trapping wild animals for their fur or food. Animals are also trapped for pest or wildlife management, to prevent crop and livestock damage, to keep wildlife at desirable levels, and to spay/neuter feral cats.
Wildlife management involves the management of animals to ensure the health and safety of both people and animals is protected. With urban expansion and habitat loss, wild animals are often forced to adapt to living in close proximity with people, and this can lead to conflicts. Wildlife management also helps control animal damage and beaver flood damage, and usually includes relocating animals to other suitable habitats when necessary.
Trapping is also used for pest control and to prevent humans and pets from being exposed to diseases such as rabies, mange, and tularemia. This also falls under the jurisdiction of provinces and territories, which have programs in place to oversee and implement pest control practices. This sometimes includes live trapping and relocation of animals but it more often involves using oral vaccine baits to contain and eradicate disease. Many municipalities also legislate trapping in city limits.Print this page