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Best Trapping Practices

The illustrations and data provided below were inspired from the results of the trap testing completed through the work of the Trap Research and Development Committee of the Fur Institute of Canada. They are intended as general guidelines for trap users.
Illustrations © Fédération des Trappeurs Gestionnaires du Québec, Fur Institute of Canada and Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et Parcs (Quebec).



ACCIDENTAL CATCHES (cervidae, cattle, sheep)

ACCIDENTAL CATCHES (eagles and birds of prey)

Fishers are considered a "limit" species in Alberta and all fishers trapped during an open season must be registered (see Mandatory Registration), including those fishers incidentally trapped in areas or at times with no open season.

To minimize incidental capture of fisher in marginal areas and to maintain or enhance fisher populations where marten trapping is taking place, marten boxes can be modified by making them longer and the entry hole ≤2¼” in diameter (see diagram at right). Using this method, fishers are deterred from entering the marten box.

Marten box at right modified with fisher exclusion plate. The exclusion plate splits horizontally in the hole middle and is held in place by thick rubber straps to allow for the extraction of an animal.

Trapping in Protected Areas

In certain cases trapping is allowed within specific protected areas where this activity is not normally allowed. This may involve a Provincial Park or Recreation Area (or portions of such areas) that fall within an RFMA. If trapping is allowed in such an area individuals who wish to trap on those portions of the RFMA may be required to obtain a Firearms Carry and Discharge Permit from Alberta Parks. Please contact your local Alberta Parks Office to confirm if trapping is allowed in a protected area and if this permit is required.

Accidental Trapping

Trappers who accidentally take a fur-bearing animal during a closed season, after a quota has been filled or a species they are not licensed to trap, are required to deliver it to the nearest Fish & Wildlife office as soon as possible. The trapper will be required to complete a statutory declaration and the pelt will be registered and tagged. Circumstances will determine whether the animal may be returned to the trapper for sale purposes. The animal does not have to be skinned.

Swift Fox has been reintroduced into Fur Management Zone 8, and trappers are encouraged to take all reasonable care to prevent accidental capture, and to report any contact with this species. Injured Swift Fox should be immediately delivered to the nearest Fish & Wildlife office, or a qualified veterinarian for care.

Trappers who accidentally capture any wildlife that are not fur-bearing animals are reminded to report the incident as soon as practical to the nearest Fish & Wildlife office. In addition, permission must first be obtained from Alberta Environment and Parks to use such an animal as bait.


Diseases and parasites are normal parts of the life of a furbearer. Usually, they are not a problem either for the furbearer or for the person trapping an infected animal. Indeed, most parasites and diseases go completely unnoticed by trappers. However, there are situations where an animal may be infected with a disease that can be transferred to people. Such diseases are most often caused by bacteria and can be recognized readily by the presence of small white spots in the liver and spleen of an infected furbearer. Such animals should be handled carefully (preferably with gloves on). Any person who handles wildlife and then has persistent “flu-like” symptoms or redness, swelling, heat or pain in hands or arms should contact a medical doctor. Remember to tell the doctor the person has handled wildlife.

Carcasses from all fur-bearers suspected of being diseased should be submitted for examination to the nearest Fish & Wildlife office.

Wild canids in Alberta could contain tiny tapeworms in the intestines. Eggs of these tapeworms can potentially infect people. Thus, trappers and field biologists should wear gloves when handling or processing wolves, coyotes, foxes, or their scats and thoroughly clean knives and work tables when done. Particular care should be taken when skinning around the anus or when carcasses are soiled with faecal material. In addition, do not feed internal organs of moose or elk to dogs – the dogs could become infected and pass on tapeworm eggs to people. Regular de-worming of dogs also reduces potential risk to humans.

There are two different Echinococcus species that could occur in wild canids. See and for more information.

Community Relations

To foster and maintain good relations within their communities and to gain public support, trappers should:
  • respect the rights and property of others;
  • protect and conserve wildlife, and wildlife habitat;
  • help farmers and other landowners who are having problems with nuisance animals;
  • encourage and support trapper education and public awareness programs;
  • support trappers and other wildlife conservation organizations;
  • support and cooperate with government wildlife agencies; and
  • report illegal activities.

Alberta Trappers' Compensation Program

The Alberta Trappers’ Compensation Program provides a framework to compensate operators (trappers) of Registered Fur Management Areas for trapping business losses related to industrial activity on Crown lands, and cabins lost to naturally caused forest fires.

A seven-member Board manages the program with members appointed from:

  • Alberta Forest Products Association (AFPA)
  • Alberta Trappers' Association (ATA)
  • Alberta Treaty Indian Trapping Community
  • Alberta Metis Trapping Community
  • ATCO Electric
  • Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP)
  • Alberta Environment and Parks

In 1997, stakeholders in the program agreed that the Alberta Trappers’ Association (ATA) would administer the program that was established by government in 1981. Industry and government jointly share funding. The role of the Board is to:

  • review program specifications and make recommendations to program participants for adjustments to compensation rates, payment schedules etc.,
  • review, adjust and settle trapper claims,
  • review fund status, financial statements, submit annual reports and make recommendations for disbursement of funds to settle claims.

The program recognizes claims in five (5) categories:

  • Damage to trapper assets;
  • Theft, vandalism, and arson;
  • Temporary disruptions to normal trapping operations;
  • Long-term loss of income caused by industrial disturbances;
  • Cabins lost to naturally caused forest fires (funded by trappers)

For claims related to the damaged asset and temporary disruption categories, the trapper must first negotiate directly with the company responsible. Should this action fail, the claim must be submitted to the Alberta Trappers Compensation Board to receive consideration. All theft and vandalism must be promptly reported to the RCMP. Requests for compensation must be made on the approved ATCP Claim Form available on the ATA website (, and include any attachments relevant to the claim. This may include:

  • Photographs – especially for theft, vandalism, and arson, or of trail disruptions etc.;
  • Police reports
  • Description of equipment stolen and estimated value of items;
  • Dates of disturbance and/or when discovered;
  • Names of companies involved or others that can verify loss.

The Stakeholders meet regularly to review claims and the compensation program, and to make the required changes to the program policy and procedures.

Trappers must co-operate with industry to ensure the success of the program.

If you have any questions about this program, please contact a Fish and Wildlife office or the Alberta Trappers’ Association, Box 6020, Westlock, Alberta T7P 2P7 (phone 780-349-6626).

Fur Institute of Canada

The Fur Institute of Canada (FIC) is a non-profit organization, established in 1983 on the initiative of the Federal, Provincial and Territorial Wildlife Ministers, to pursue the work of the Federal-Provincial Committee For Humane Trapping. The Institute is an umbrella organization for the Canadian fur industry and its mandate ensures that all sectors are represented, particularly on the Board of Directors.

The overall mission of the FIC is to promote the sustainable and wise use of Canada's fur resources. The Institute supports the following values:
  • The sustainable use and conservation of renewable resources;
  • The continued improvement of animal welfare through ongoing research and the development of national and international trapping standards;
  • The conservation and management of natural resources based on scientific evidence and traditional knowledge;
  • Professionalism through continued education, licensing and research;
  • Respect for people, animals and the environment;
  • Respect for tradition, heritage and culture;
  • Respect for the right of Aboriginal people to pursue their aboriginal and treaty rights.

Five operational committees develop programs and deliver project activities within the structure of the Institute. These programs are trap research and development, communications, sealing, aboriginal communications and international relations and conservation.

The Fur Institute of Canada is committed to delivering information to the media, the general public and governments pertaining to the economic, social, cultural and environmental contributions made by today’s fur trade.

For further information, contact the Fur Institute of Canada

  • by mail: Suite 701, 331 Cooper Street, Ottawa, Ontario K2P 0G5
  • by telephone: 613-231-7099
  • by fax: 613-231-7940
  • by e-mail: or
  • visit website:

Release of Non-Target Species

Trapping has been a part of Alberta's heritage for over a century. People across the province are invloved in trapping as licenced, registered or resident trappers and harvest over $2 million in fur each year. All trappers in Alberta must meet mandatory requirements to obtain a licence including either having passed a test which deals with humane trapping and fur management, or have completed a Trapper Education course.

A Code for Responsible Trapping
During trapping operations, trappers should:
  • show compassion for the animals they capture;
  • develope skills so that furs are properly prepared for market;
  • record all trap-set locations and captures of fur bearers;
  • carefully select trap-set locations and capture of non-target species;
  • report the presence of diseased animals to a Fish and Wildlife Division district office; and
  • know and practice proper killing and releasing methods.

Trappers should be prepared to release non-target animals that are not seriously injured. Carefully assess the risk factors involved in releasing an animal or bird to ensure personal safety and the welfare of the animal or bird.

Methods of releasing animals include:

Using a forked stick

  • position the stick around the animal's neck and apply only enough pressure to immobilize the animal.
  • the capture device can then be released from the animal.

Using a snare pole

  • the noose of the snare pole is slipped over the animal's jaws or neck and tightened to immobilize the animal.
  • the capture device can then be released from the animal.

Using a tarp, coat or blanket

  • This method is especially useful for releasing small animals or birds, particularly Birds of Prey.
  • The material should be large and strong enough only to immobilize the animal or bird without harm.
  • Once immobilized, the animal or bird can be released from the capture device.
Trappers who accidentally capture any wildlife that are not furbearing animals are reminded to report the incident as soon as practical to the nearest Fish and Wildlife Office. Accidental capture of Birds of Prey, i.e. Eagles, or Endangered Species such as Swift Fox that cannot be readily released due to injury should be delivered to the nearest Fish and Wildlife office or a qualified veterinarian for care.



Nearly half of the forest fires in Alberta are caused by people. Nobody means to start a forest fire and most never know the blaze was a result of their carelessness. Campfires built in a poor location, left unattended or not completely extinguished can cause forest fires. Even when there is water nearby or snow on the ground!

Make sure your fire is out and if you see smoke or fire in a forested area, call the hot line:

310-FIRE - Call Collect, Call Immediately!

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Copyright in Provincial Statutes and Regulations, whether in print or electronic format, belongs to the Province of Alberta.
No person may reproduce copies of Alberta Statutes and Regulations for any purpose without the prior consent of the Queen’s Printer for Alberta.

The contents of this website are provided free-of-charge to all trappers in Alberta. With the exception of short quotations for review purposes, no portion of this document may be reproduced without written permission from Alberta Environment and Parks or Sports Scene Publications Incorporated.