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Humane 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 Associates

Illinois DNR continually reviews and develops rules, regulations and education programs to ensure that hunting and trapping are as humane as possible.   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:

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.

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Developing Trapping Laws
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.  Phot by Illinois DNR

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 of 18.
  • Restricted seasons for trapping.
  • Restrictions on the size of traps.
  • Restrictions on types of traps to ensure humaneness given current technology.
  • Restricted areas for trapping.

 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 hunters.

Illinois trapper education courses are mandatory for youth younger than 18. Classes stress knowledge, responsibility and humaneness.
Photo by Illinois DNR
Hundreds of Illinois residents participate in trapper education classes annually. Trapper education classes are mandatory for youth under 18 before they can buy a trapping license.
Photo by D.J. Case and Associates