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Trapping workshop in Mountain View Sept. 29

MOUNTAIN VIEW – The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will host a special trapping workshop beginning at 9:30 on Sept. 29 at the Mountain View High School Fishing Derby Pond. Anyone interested in learning how to trap predators and other furbearers is welcome to attend and learn more about this interesting outdoor pursuit.

Cpl. Chad Cruce from the AGFC’s Calico Rock Regional Office will host the workshop, showing people the benefits of trapping as well as the most common forms of traps and sets used to harvest coyote, bobcats, foxes, beavers and other mammals.

“We’ll have some hands-on teaching opportunities with professional trappers to teach kids and adults about the different types of traps and animals to target with them,” Cruce said. “We’ll go over skinning and pelt preservation as well as walk folks through preparing your traps and setting them up successfully in the field.”

Ducks, deer, crappie and bass may steal the show when it comes to Arkansas outdoors pursuits, but many other options exist for many people wanting to enjoy the outdoors. According to Blake Sasse, AGFC nongame mammal program coordinator, 4,000 to 5,000 people obtain trapping permits in Arkansas each year, less than 2 percent of hunters estimated to pursue deer in The Natural State.

“Much of the decline in trapping effort can be attributed to fur prices falling,” Sasse said.

During the 2016-17 season, Sasse reports, licensed fur dealers purchased 11,613 pelts at slightly more than $91,000. Sasse says that figure was the second-lowest number of furbearer pelts taken and purchased since state records were first kept in 1938.

Sasse’s report last October showed the average price for beaver pelts statewide in 2016-17 were $4.61 based on the sale of 4,214 pelts, the most of any furbearer. Coyotes, meanwhile, went for $7.94 per pelt, with 390 pelts sold. The most valued furbearer in Arkansas last year was the bobcat ($30.77), followed by the otter ($23.56) and red fox ($13.50).

With these low prices in place, today’s trapper likely is not supplementing income with furs taken. Instead, the excitement of planning a perfect set and anticipating exactly where a target animal may step drives many people who still pursue the sport.

Cruce says the workshop will last as long as needed to get attendees comfortable with learning some of the basics of trapping, humanely dispatching and preserving their haul.