Skip to main content

U.S. flag An official website of the United States government

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
USDA FAQ's and resources about coronavirus (COVID-19).  LEARN MORE

Trapping Oral History Initiative

Specialist setting a foothold trap for wolves (circa 1950s/1960s).We all have stories to tell. Oral histories are one way of preserving those stories for future generations.Since the late 1800s, federal and state agencies have employed trappers to help manage wildlife populations and/or reduce wildlife damage. Trapping animals to prevent wildlife damage is an important part of our Nation's history, though many people have differing views concerning its value and use.

In 2005, the USDA/APHIS Wildlife Services program (Wildlife Services) began work on the Trapping Oral History Initiative. The goal of the Initiative was to capture the personal stories of more than 20 retired and semi-retired federal government trappers. The interviews highlight the trappers' family lives, education, and careers in wildlife damage management over more than a 50-year period starting in the 1950s; and highlight the evolution of trapping toward more humane and selective tools and techniques.

The following web pages contain excerpts from the oral histories and provide insights into the life of a WS trapper.

Wildlife Services: Then and Now
Life of a Trapper: Common Themes

Complementary Content