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:
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 efficiently.
Best Management Practices are recommended to state fish and wildlife agencies to include in regulated trapping programs and trapper education courses.
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 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.
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
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.