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  Hunting and Trapping Benefit People and Ecology 

Regulated hunting and trapping provide many benefits to society, especially to maintain a balance between wildlife and people.

Trapping benefits people by:

Trapping benefits wildlife by:



Providing Products People Use Everyday
It is a mistaken belief that fur is the only part of the animal used by society. Often, nearly the entire animal is used.

Most animals caught by Illinois fur hunters and trappers are sold to fur buyers. Fur buyers prepare the fur for resale, market other parts of the animal, and send the rest to animal by-products facilities.
 

Regulated harvests provide a local, healthy, economical and organic source of food and clothing with minimal impacts to other resources.

Read more about how trapping is ecologically sound.

Yes, people value fur
People for thousands of years have used fur for clothing. Today, fur remains highly valued for garments and other items. In addition to its attractiveness, fur has water-repellant qualities and provides excellent insulation.

People Value Fur
Everyday Americans wear fur. Hunters and trappers often have furs made into hats, coats and blankets.
Photo by www.zenwaiter.com

Furs are tanned, trimmed and sewn into garments, blankets and ornaments, and dyed in colors and patterns. Furs are used in fishing lures, fine brushes and other products. Some furs are shaved, and the hair processed into felt for hats and clothing.

Furbearers as food
Hunters and trappers often eat the meat of some furbearers and other game, just as others eat pork and beef. When prepared properly, the meat from raccoon, beaver and opossum can make a great meal.

Learn how trapping is a way of life for some people.

Furbearers as Food
Trappers and hunters eat furbearers such as raccoon, beaver and opossum. Hunters here enjoy an outdoors meal.
Photo by D.J. Case and Associates

Rendering: the invisible industry
Rendering is the process by which animal fat is processed into a variety of products used everyday by people around the world.

Many animals that are trapped are made available to the rendering industry, where they are used to produce soap, livestock feed, paint, tires, ice cream, textiles and construction materials.


Many commonly used household items such as soap and paint are made in part from animal products.
Photo by D.J. Case and Associates


Reducing Overpopulation and Property Damage
When wild animals become too numerous, they can cause problems for humans, as well as their own populations.

Wildlife overpopulation can lead to parasitism such as mange, as well as diseases such as rabies and distemper.  As more and more animals crowd together, diseases often increase. Large die-offs due to disease are common under these circumstances. Some diseases and parasites, such as rabies and mange can affect people and pets.

Fox with Mange
This fox suffers from mange, an unsightly condition caused by burrowing mange mites. Mange is contagious and spreads easily when wildlife overpopulate. This disease can spread to domestic dogs and, on rare occasions, even humans.
Photo by George Hubert

Regulated hunting and trapping reduces threats to human and pet health and safety by decreasing wildlife populations and exposure to diseases.

Hunting and trapping help maintain a balance between wildlife and people by reducing or preventing expensive damage to agricultural crops, buildings and other property. Regulated harvests help manage healthy wildlife populations.

Beaver Damage
Beavers can devastate valuable landscaping such as trees and shrubs. Their dams can cause flooding in crop fields, across roadways and in neighborhood yards.
Photo by D.J. Case and Associates


Benefits Rare and Endangered Species

Reintroducing species:
Wildlife biologists sometimes use foothold traps (traps that capture an animal by the foot) to capture rare or endangered species unharmed. These animals then are freed elsewhere to reestablish healthy wildlife populations.

Such is the case for river otters in Illinois. As part of an extensive reintroduction project in the 1990s, river otters were captured safely in Louisiana, where numbers are plentiful, and released in Illinois, where populations were scarce.

Today, otters abound throughout the state.

River Otters
Illinois DNR was able to successfully restore river otter populations using trapping methods commonly used by Illinois trappers.
Photo by Illinois DNR


Protecting species:
Trapping is an important management tool to protect the health and viability of many established or newly reestablished populations of rare or endangered plant and animal species. Foothold traps are particularly important management tools to protect rare and endangered species from undesirable levels of predation by species like fox and coyote.  (Note: Types of traps vary depending on species that are being removed.)

Predators trapped during these operations are removed or relocated after capture. Trapping may be carried out by federal or state wildlife biologists and animal control agents, or by private, regulated trappers.

Prairie Chicken
Greater prairie chickens are state endangered.
Photo by Saskatchewan Environment
Opossum
Trapping predators such as opossums protects prairie chickens in Illinois.
Photo by Bob Gress

In Illinois, the following threatened or endangered species are protected through trapping:

  • Forster's tern females (state endangered) and their eggs are protected from predation by trapping raccoons, coyotes and other mammals that pose a threat during the nesting season.
  • Greater prairie chicken females (state endangered) and their eggs are protected by trapping raccoons, striped skunks and opossums.
  • Eastern prairie fringed orchids (state endangered and federally threatened) are protected from flooding caused by beaver dams. Trapping beavers eliminates animals that would build dams in areas where orchids grow.

Hunting and Trapping Furbearers

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