Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
North Dakota Furtakers Educational Manual
Millions of dollars each year are generated through fur harvesting. Trapping
has been recognized as a valuable wildlife management tool. In recent years
many dedicated trappers have tried their best to maintain and balance wildlife
populations and the habitat that wildlife depends on. The general public, when
uninformed, fails to recognize wildlife management as an efficient means of
maintaining wildlife populations. There are groups of people who feel that the
removal of certain animals tend to decrease or endanger our animal populations.
In reality when certain animals are harvested we greatly improve the health
and numbers of animals that are left to breed. It doesn't matter whether it's
cattle, deer, muskrats or beaver, animal populations that are left to reproduce
have the capacity to destroy their ecosystems. Muskrats for example, will destroy
the vegetation in a swamp which destroys their own habitat as well as the habitat
of other wildlife. Wildlife managers use the phrase called "carrying capacity"
which is the number of animals that an area can sustain for a long term before
damaging the environment. If a carrying capacity is exceeded, both the habitat
and animal populations suffer. It is also at this time that factors such as
disease and starvation reduce populations. This type of death is much more inhumane
than hunting or trapping.
Trapping allows the trapper to utilize the surplus animals rather than allowing
them to be wasted. At the same time he is helping to maintain a healthy viable
Hunting and trapping can reduce the number of surplus animals in a given
area which in turn reduces the chances of contracting and spreading diseases.
Some of the more important diseases that can be transmitted to a human from
animals are rabies, plague, tularemia, mange, and rocky mountain spotted fever.
Other diseases such as distemper and lepto, which are not transmitted to man,
endanger livestock and the survival of wildlife. No one is more interested
than the hunter or trapper in the survival of our furbearing species. Wildlife
management practices for furbearers and game animals help the non-game species
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