Trapping is a safe and rewarding sport, but a trapper needs to consider certain precautions while handling trapped animals.
When you walk up to one of the restraining traps, the animal will be alive. If you are using a bodygrip trap, the animal ought to be dead. Since live animals might inflict bites or scratch, safety precautions are a must!
The trapper can use a noose or catch pole to help if the animal is to be released. Georgia trapping regulations state that all trappers must carry a catch pose (also called a "choke stick") when tending to any trap.
If the animal is not going to be released, a small caliber firearm can be used to dispatch the animal. Again, Georgia trapping regulations state that all trappers must carry a .22 caliber rimfire firearm when tending to traps, and must use this firearm to dispatch any furbearing animal to be taken. Remember to follow the rules of safe firearm handling when using any firearm.
Animals in the wild may carry parasites and diseases that can be transmitted to humans. Wear latex or rubber gloves and eye protection when handling carcasses. Wash your hands and arms after handling carcasses. Disinfect all knives and your skinning tools. Taking these precautions will minimize risk of infection to the trapper. Let your health care provider know that you are a trapper.
When setting traps, be careful that your fingers are not in the jaw area of the trap. Some traps have a piece of wire or steel that will hold the jaws in place while the trapper is setting the trap. Not all traps have these safety devices.
Dress accordingly for the weather conditions. Trapping is usually enjoyed in colder weather. Hypothermia is always a consideration when hunting or trapping in wet and cold conditions.
Check your local trapping regulations. Every area has certain trapping seasons and regulations suited for that area.
Trapping is a great way to enjoy nature and learn more about the animals we share the woods with. Trapping can also supplement your income. The best way to learn more about trapping is to look up the Trappers' Association in your area.
Some Trappers' Associations have trappers who can mentor you - this is a great way to learn. An experienced trapper can teach the proper way to skin an animal as well as proper fur-handling techniques. There are classes offered on animal behavior, animal signs and animal tracking, as well as basic, intermediate and advanced trapping skills. This is an excellent way to learn the different aspects of the sport of trapping.