How does trapping help conservation

By: Bryce Haynes

How does trapping really help conservation?

One of the biggest ways trapping is population control. Without trapping the populations of animals like raccoons and coyotes would grow tremendously. The large populations would allow viral diseases to spread easier which could hurt the overall population in the long run. Trapping helps eliminate some of those diseases from the population. Trapping also helps nuisance animals that live in cities or around people's houses that don't want them there.
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Diseases in Raccoons

Distemper- When the raccoon population becomes too large you start to see more of a disease called distemper. It can spread throughout the population and leads to death of the raccoon. The virus starts off slowly causing the raccoon to have watery eyes, runny nose, and a respiratory infection. The raccoon becomes malnourished and may also develop pneumonia. In the final stages of the virus the raccoon becomes unaware of its surroundings and may have paralysis. The virus spreads through body fluid, droppings, or airborne droplets.

Rabies- Rabies is a fatal viral disease that is contagious that can be found in raccoons, canines, and many other mammals. Raccoons are one of the most common carrier of rabies.

Signs that the coon has rabies:

Frothing at the mouth

Staggering around


Loss of leg function due to paralysis

There are a variety of ways that raccoons can be trapped. Many trappers use a baited trap like a dogproof. Some trappers also snare raccoons by putting the snare on the trail that they run on. There are also blind sets for raccoons. The traps used for blind sets are 220 conibears and a 1 1/2 coil spring. They are set where an animal is crossing a creek or on the trail of the raccoon.

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Diseases in Coyotes and Fox

Mange- Coyotes sometimes get a skin disease called mange. It is actually a parasitic mite that causes hair loss and inflammation. It causes hair loss in the animal and they become malnourished. Mange is a miserable condition that causes itching and pain that eventually will cause the death of wild coyotes and foxes.

Canine Distemper- This is the same disease that raccoons get, it is just through the coyote population.

Coyotes and Fox can be very tricky to trap. They both have noses that can smell just the slightest bit of human scent. Trappers have to cover up their scent by wearing gloves while making the sets. One common scent used for these canines is the dirt hole set or any bait hole set. Trappers set snares on trails that the coyotes and fox frequent.

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Diseases in Mink

Aleutian Disease- Mink can contract a viral disease called Aleutian Disease. Some signs and symptoms are weight loss, hind limb paralysis, and enlarged kidney. This disease can spread through the population very easily because it is viral.

Mink can also can get distemper.

The ways most trappers trap mink is a blind set using a foothold or a 110 conibear. Trappers also try a pocket set using fresh fish as the bait. Mink travel long distances so it may take up to a week for a mink to come back into a certain area.

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Diseases in Muskrats

Tularemia- Muskrats can get the disease from infected ticks, flies, or contaminated water. This disease can be transmitted to humans usually when you are skinning the animal. While you are skinning it you want to make sure you are wearing gloves. The muskrats die pretty quickly, but the disease is not fatal to humans.

Rabies- Along with any other mammal muskrats can get the rabies virus.

Muskrats are an aquatic mammal that live in dens in the banks of ponds or lakes. The entrance to the den is a little hole right underwater. When the muskrats swim out of these holes they like to feel the bottom on their stomachs. This creates an underwater trail or run in the bottom of the lake. Trappers will set a 110 conibear on a stand in the run.

Interview with Joe Hanner

Q: Do you see some of the disease listed above in the populations in Guthrie County?

A: Yes, one of the main diseases I see is distemper in raccoons. I've seen the disease spread throughout populations. This can cause the population to decline in some areas of the county.

Q: Are trappers taking too much of some species in specific areas?

A: A lot of the big time trappers sometimes take too many raccoons or mink in a certain area. Usually closer to their homes because they don't have to drive far. Sometimes trappers totally wipe out a beaver hut on the river or a lake. Usually the species can bounce back within a few years but I've seen areas where there used to be mink or beaver and now there isn't.

Q: How can trappers get better at maintaining populations of certain species?

A: A lot of trappers in Guthrie County are just fine the way that they trap. There are a few that could get better at not taking too much out of a certain area. This can benefit the environment and the trapper. This allows the species to stay in the area for years to come so there will always be something to trap in that area.


"ADC Animal Damage ControlWildlife Management ServicesServicing Denver Metro Area303-884-9100 Identify Nuisance Wildlife." Coyote Animal Damage Control Denver Metro|Coyote Wildlife Management|Coyote Removal Relocation. Web. 14 Jan. 2016.

"Common Infectious Diseases of Raccoons." Common Infectious Diseases of Raccoons. Web. 14 Jan. 2016.

"Viral Diseases of Mink." : Mink: Merck Veterinary Manual. Web. 14 Jan. 2016.

"ADC Animal Damage ControlWildlife Management ServicesServicing Denver Metro Area303-884-9100 Identify Nuisance Wildlife." Muskrat Animal Damage Control Denver Metro CO|Muskrat Wildlife Management|Muskrat Removal Relocation. Web. 14 Jan. 2016.