Illinois DNR continually reviews and develops rules, regulations and
education programs to ensure that hunting and trapping are as humane as
By reviewing rules, regulations and educational programs
related to hunting and trapping, Illinois DNR ensures the humaneness of these
activities, and promotes the welfare of wildlife by:
Illinois trapper education courses are mandatory for youth
younger than 18.
Classes stress knowledge, responsibility and humaneness.
Photo by Illinois DNR
Coinciding with animal life cycles
Hunting and trapping are allowed for a short time period each year, and
seasons are set to coincide with animal life cycles. Trapping is not allowed
when furbearers are giving birth to and raising their young.
The large bear traps with iron teeth seen in museums and antique shops
have been illegal in Illinois for more than 25 years. Modern traps have smooth
surfaces (some are even padded) and are sized to the animal being trapped.
Modern foothold traps are sized for specific animals and have smooth
and/or padded surfaces. The traps shown here are modified with padding to capture species
unharmed for safe release later.
Photo by Illinois DNR
Developing Best Management Practices to regulate trapping
Illinois DNR joins other state fish and wildlife agencies to develop Best
Management Practices (BMPs) for trapping in the U.S. BMPs identify
and promote the best technology to capture wildlife. They address key points
regarding the use and performance of traps. These include:
- the welfare of animals
- the ability of traps to capture animals efficiently
- the ability of traps to capture intended furbearers only
BMPs describe types of traps, how they work best, how they should be set,
what training may be needed for people who trap, as well as other
information that help traps and trappers function safely, humanely and
Best Management Practices are recommended to state fish and wildlife
agencies to include in regulated trapping programs and trapper education
Learn how advances in trap design, management and trapping technique
contribute to the welfare of furbearers.
Learn about existing BMPs for trapping.
Developing trapping laws
Illinois trapping laws include:
- Mandatory licensing of trappers.
- Mandatory daily checking of traps.
- Mandatory trapper education courses for first-time trappers younger than the age
- Restricted seasons for trapping.
- Restrictions on the size of traps.
- Restrictions on types of traps to ensure humaneness given current
- Restricted areas for trapping.
This Illinois conservation police officer is one
of 160 who patrol the state to enforce hunting and trapping regulations.
Photo by D.J. Case and
Promoting humaneness through education
Illinois DNR provides trapper education courses
for the public and encourages all trappers to participate. These courses
teach people how to trap in the most selective and humane way possible.
First-time trappers and hunters under the age of 18 are required to pass one
of these courses before they can buy licenses. Similar classes exist for