Trapping is a time honored tradition in Wisconsin. Our state is home to many different fur bearing species that trappers have been harvesting for their pelts for generations. While it may not be as popular as hunting, there are still a number of people who take to the woods and rivers every year.
Erinn Kiesow-Webb is a furbearer specialist with the DNR. She says that the number of trapping licenses sold is over 20,000. “In 2022, we had roughly 21,000 trapping licenses sold,” said Kiesow-Webb. “In 2023 we had 22,656 licenses sold and 371 of which were first time buyers.”
Even though there was an increase in licenses sold, Kiesow-Webb cautions that there is more to the story. “Now just because they sell the license doesn’t mean that person is actually going to go out and trap,” Kiesow-Webb explained. “We know at most it’s 22,000, but it’s likely less.”
Overall, Kiesow-Webb believes that the number of trappers fluctuates. “We’re very happy with the fact that it actually increased from last year to this year, but typically as a trend overall we’ve seen it decrease slightly with the fall in fur prices and the rise in gas prices,” she said.
The DNR provides a variety of opportunities for beginning trappers to learn the ropes. There are opportunities for virtual and in-person trapper education. Everyone needs to take trapper education to legally trap in Wisconsin. There is also a mentor program that is offered for those who aren’t sure if they want to take the education course yet still are eager to learn about trapping from an experienced trapper.