So you want to be a Wildlife Trapper?
I could not believe all the emails I have received lately asking me "How do I go about getting into this profession?" So I thought I would try to help if I can.
I truly enjoy what I do. It may be tiring, but it's always exciting. The standard I live by is "I do not work for the people, only the snakes."
You need to be very dependable, honest, fully able to cope with the public, patient, strongly skilled in the animals you have decided to trap, tolerable of any weather and, most importantly, believe, in your heart, that you're a trapper. It doesn't require a lot of education or fancy degrees. It mainly requires common sense and not taking on more than you can handle.
So here are my suggestions.
First, check with your local Department of Natural Resources to see what the requirements are to obtain a permit. Remember, every state is different. They have different laws. Some may require you to take a test, or have a degree or work a certain amount of hours with a trapper so they are assured you have the skills it takes.
Contact a local trapping company or trapper. They may be willing to answer questions you have or would allow you to ride along, do an internship, etc., to gain more knowledge.
Make sure this truly what I want to do. Ask yourself if you'll have the patience? Take the groundhog, for example. This animal can stress highly in a trap and what happens when a day is supposed to reach 100 degrees? Are you willing to set the trap in the early evening and return early morning to safely release the animal in an area that you must have permission? Or would you leave the animal exposed in the trap all day, possibly costing the animal its life by the time you return? Are you a humane trapper or inhumane?
And, are you able to consider risking your own well-being for the job by crawling under houses in crawl spaces, climb into attics on a 100 degree day or a roof to inspect the problem?
Are you going to offer to make repairs to the damage from the nuisance wildlife? Are you a skilled person in this area?
Have you determined if you are prepared to get your LLC/small business license, which could mean different taxes to deal with? Will you be working with all wildlife or just specific wildlife? You may need a special permit for endangered species which you do in Maryland. These are just a few things that you need to think about. In no way is this professional advice.
Decide what you specifically want to trap. I have extensive experience in Wildlife Trapping but I only deal with snakes. Say you only want to deal with snakes. Are you aware how many snakes are native to Maryland or in your own state? Are you willing to deal with poisonous snakes?
Or maybe you only want to trap bats and groundhogs. You must contact DNR first, since there are special rules that apply to bats. Just going out buying traps, baits and repellents is not enough. You must have strong knowledge in what you are doing. No living creature deserves to die or suffer due to an unnecessary mistake.
Take your time in making this decision it can be a very exciting career but it can also be a very hard career. If you love wildlife and animals, do your research and be dedicated with a kind heart and you can make an excellent trapper.
I wish you luck and please keep the emails coming. I look forward to hearing from you no matter the topic. My e-mail is email@example.com, and, until next week, stay warm.
Tammy McCormack is a professional snake trapper and writes a regular column for fredericknewspost.com.