One different form of hunting that many persons enjoy in Alaska is trapping. Today, those involved in trapping do so as either a method of subsistence or sport.
Trapping has a long heritage in Alaska, and like hunting in Alaska, is considered a way of life and a method of obtaining food for many. Native Americans in Alaska have for thousands of years used the fur and skin of animals to stay warm, and many still do. However, contrary to the furry coats sold in department stores, natives wore their coats fur side in, skin side out, using the fur as insulation against extreme cold temperatures, especially in the Arctic. While trapping in the past led to the rapid decline of some species (such as fur seals by the Russian fur trade), trapping in Alaska today is carefully regulated to control species decline.
Trapping of furbearers is allowed in Alaska for those residents or nonresidents who have purchased the proper license and tag.
The following furbearers can be trapped in Alaska, based on their individual regulations:
- Arctic fox is abundant in many areas, so its numbers are not affected by trapping.
- Beaver have a highly prized fur used in winter clothing.
- Coyote are not a mainstream trapping target.
- Lynx have a highly valued coat and are so popular that regulators have begun to visit ideas for limiting trapping.
- Mink is a difficult animal to trap and takes a hunter with good stamina.
- Marten are related to the mink and is abundant and widespread.
- Weasels are trapped for their white winter fur, while squirrels and the marmot are trapped for both its meat and fur.
- Muskrat are taken by trappers before the ice breakup in spring.
- Red fox is a very cunning prey that presents quite a challenge for most trappers.
- River otter are usually targeted by trappers in steep riverbank traps.
- Wolves are considered a big game animal and trapping is strictly limited on this species.
- Wolverine trapping harvests are carefully controlled through bag limits.
Current regulations call for trappers to concentrate harvests in areas where there is an overabundance of the animal they seek to trap. A license is required of residents and non-residents alike, and the license can be purchased in combination with Alaska hunting and sport fishing licenses. Beyond the license, you may need special permits for trapping some furbearers, and you will certainly need a permit if you are going to export raw furs out of state.
Follow the link for complete regulations.
A few examples of informative research material on trapping are included below. Alaska guides who provide trapping services are typically hunting guides who also do trapping. The Alaskan Trappers Association, which is the fist link below, is a good start for providing knowledgeable trapping guides