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Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture

Historical Look at Trapping

Historical photo of a biologist setting a trapWe 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 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 personal stories of these trappers and a summary of the Trapping Oral History Initiative are available. 

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