Our Fall Rendezvous each year features a youth trapping school and several other exciting and educational activities, as well as a large variety of trapping demonstrations.
A furbearer is any mammal that combines a dense, soft undercoat of hair called "underfur" that provides insulation and water repellent qualities; and an outer layer of longer glossy "guard hairs" that grow through the underfur, thus protecting the underfur from matting and abrasion.
A fur is considered prime when the guardhairs are at their maximum length and the underfur is at its maximum density. The time each furbearer becomes prime varies by latitude and elevation. Most furbearers in South Dakota become prime in midwinter when the fur coat is fresh and fully grown.
Furs are tanned, trimmed and sewn into garments, blankets, gloves, mittens, hats, and headbands. Furs are also used in fine brushes and fishing lures, and other products. Furs are often dyed in a variety of colors and patterns. Some furs such as beaver are sheared for making fine felt hats and other types of garments.
Trapping Equipment Used Today
Body Gripping Traps (Conibear)
These traps dispatch an animal quickly with a hard blow to the head, neck, or body, in the same manner that a common mouse trap kills a mouse. Body-gripping traps are very popular for catching muskrat, mink, and beaver. They are also quite useful for capturing racoon. Trappers must use wise discretion when setting body-gripping traps where non-target animals may accidentally be caught. To help prevent accidental captures of non-target species, only body gripping traps with jaw spreads less than 8 inches may legally be set on land in South Dakota.
These traps use several types of springs to make the trap operate and are made in different sizes appropriate for catcing animals as small as weasels and as large as coyotes. When set, the jaw spread of the foothold ranges from 3.5"-7". These traps are desigend to restrain or hold the animal by gripping the toes or foot across or just above the foot pad. This prevents the captured animal from slipping the trap off its foot.
Cage or Box Traps (Live Traps)
These traps work great in areas where the chances of catching domestic animals (dogs &cats) is high. Cage traps are excellent for catching raccoon, skunk, and other small animals near homes and buildings. Special baits can be used to avoid the capture of cats or other non-target animals. Cage traps generally do not work well for catching fox or coyote.
Furbearers of South Dakota