Characteristics of trappers in Maine, 1976 to 1980

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Virginia Tech


Characteristics of Maine trappers were investigated by monitoring license buying behavior from 1976-1980 and by using a mail questionnaire after the trapping season in 1980.

Trapping license sales increased 56% during the 5-year study period. From 37-41% of individuals who first purchased a license during this time period did not purchase one the next year. Most individuals who purchased a second license continued to purchase one.

Through the questionnaire, individuals described attitudes, behaviors, and preferences. A disproportionately large number of individuals who claimed to be professional or semi-professional trappers attended public hearings. Although money received for fur pelts is important, the most common reason given for trapping was the challenge involved. Fall land trapping was the most preferred type of trapping and the one in which most trappers participated. Fox was the most preferred upland species and muskrat was the most preferred aquatic species.

Detailed information was obtained from individuals who trapped in the fall. Effort per day of season was estimated in both trapper-days and average trap-nights. The problems rated highest by trappers in Maine involved people. Top-rated objectives of trappers were maintaining animal populations in proper balance with carrying capacity and maximizing pelt primeness. When presented with regulation options, respondents rated a species bag limit per trapper as the most acceptable option even though this regulation has been opposed consistently at public hearings.

Information on trappers, animals, and harvests is combined into a Management system.