Mostly Trapping

Trapping course instills knowledge in next generation of hunters
Apr 30, 2019 08:11 ET

(Reprinted from above link)

Being involved in a recent series of trapper education courses has been one of the most enjoyable programs to take part in for Jason Nelson, the state’s outreach coordinator for the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department.

Nelson was at the Sportsman’s Club of Brown Co-Terry O’Keefe Hunter Education Center south of Aberdeen Saturday for classes that attracted participants ranging from youth to gray-haired adults.

The classes are part of the state’s newly initiated nest predator bounty program, which started April 1.

“This initiative we’re pushing here is to get rid of our nest predators,” Nelson said. “The species we’re targeting are very good at destroying nesting bird nests, so it’s a great way to give our hens, pheasants, ducks and turkeys some time and success here. It ought to pay off in the fall.”

“Every class has been pretty close to full,” Nelson said. “There’s been really good turnout. This has been one of the funnest classes I’ve been a part of (due to) the excitement from the participants.”

Each class covers the basics of trapping, including education on regulations, guidelines, ethics, wildlife conservation, how and where to set a live trap, baits/lures, humane dispatch, non-target species and safety. For instance, those who are trapping should know where they leave their traps. Nelson recommends keeping a journal.

For Tom Thuringer and his son, Nolan, the class provided a chance to bond and learn more about different trapping techniques.

“My dad trapped, and I did trapping for him, so it’s a good way for him to experience ways of trapping,” Tom Thuringer said. “I’ve never live-trapped before, so we came here to learn how to do that. I don’t know if there was anything I didn’t already know, but it was good to see him learn,” he added.

The state gave each participant live traps to take home after the class, which included hands-on training on how to use the traps and tips for a successful and ethical trapping experience.

“You don’t get into it unless you’re ready for some responsibility. You’re putting metal in the ground and you’re there to take advantage of our resources,” Nelson said. “But at the same time, we need to respect what we catch. So that is a big responsibility to put on anybody and it’s something that we’re stressing to families and young people.”

Nest Predator Bounty Program information

From now until Aug. 31, South Dakota residents may trap certain nest predator species without a license to participate in the program, or until the $500,000 available for bounty payments is spent.
  • Participates receive $10 per raccoon, striped skunk, badger, opossum or red fox tail. Tails must include entire tail and tail bone of species to receive bounty payment.
  • Participants are eligible to receive up to $590 per household and must comply with state trapping and hunting rules and regulations.
  • Road kill animals are not eligible.
  • Coyotes eat small mammals such as rabbit and mice and are not primary nest predators.
  • Trapping is not allowed in state parks and recreation areas before Aug. 31 and permission must be granted to trap on private land leased for the public hunting and walk-in area program, controlled hunting and access program and the conservation reserve enhancement program.
  • Upon tail submission, participants are required to sign a legal affidavit indicating the tails were obtained during the time period outlined above and that they came from an animal they trapped. Parent signatures are required for anyone under the age of 18.

  • Tails can be submitted at the following state Game, Fish and Parks offices Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.:

    Aberdeen, 5850 E. U.S. Highway 12
    Mobridge, 909 Lake Front Drive
    Watertown, 400 West Kemp

    Webster, E. 8th Ave.

    Eligible nest predator species:

    Raccoons
  • Live about two to three years.
  • Breed December through June with a breeding season peak in March.
  • Females give birth to as many as seven kits per litter between May and September.
  • Young are weaned two to three months later.

  • Striped skunks
  • Live less than three years.
  • Breeds usually in February or March.
  • Females give birth to two to 10 kits per litter.
  • Young weaned six to eight weeks later.

  • Badger
  • Live about four to five years.
  • Breeds in late summer or early fall.
  • Females give birth to litters with as many as five young in March or April.
  • Young weaned eight weeks later.

  • Opossum
  • Live about two years.
  • Breeds January and again in May or June.
  • Females give birth to two to 17 young per litter, which are kept in the mother's pouch.
  • Young are independent at 100 days of age.

  • Red fox
  • Live about six to 10 years.
  • Breeds December through March.
  • Females give birth to as many as seven pups per litter.
  • Young weaned six weeks later.