New Informational Book Available For Download

Thomas Decker from the Vermont Department of Fisheries and Wildlife has approved the release of “Trapping and Furbearer Management In North American Wildlife Conservation” on our website.  This informative 60 page book written by wildlife biologists delves into different furbearers and the best management practices to control them.

You can view or download the book here:  Trap-Fur-Mgmt final-1 2016 version


Member Profile: Steve Zagozda Jr.

Steve Zagozda Jr

Field Manager

Ralston, Nebraska

How did you get started in trapping?
My son (Eli) heard my dad and uncle talking about snaring rabbits with copper wire when they were young. I remember being a young boy and overhearing them tell the same stories. Similar to when a fisherman tells the story of the huge fish he had caught. I understand this well, because I tell these stories. These are not considered lies, but just slight stretches of the truth. Oh, and don’t get me started on how they caught “millions of them”.

I thought the idea of putting a wire loop in some random spot to get an animal to put it’s neck through it was the biggest game of chance and my time would be better spent fishing in a swimming pool. Eli was not going to forget the concept of this fishing story. So reluctantly I went and bought some copper wire and did some research on rabbit snaring.

We made some rabbit snares and set about a dozen of them. We didn’t get any that first night but we did see some snares pushed aside. The next day we snared two and I was more shocked than Eli was! That got my curiosity going. We went out and bought our first dozen snares.

The next morning I went to check the snares in the dark and as I was walking up on one of the snares I saw some glowing eyes looking back at me. I think I was kind of scared because I couldn’t see what it was and didn’t expect it to be in our snare. It finally hit me that we had trapped an animal. I got close enough to see that fat boar coon and sat and stared at it for a few minutes with this feeling of amazement.

At that moment I became a trapper.

What is your favorite animal to target?
My favorite animal to target is mink. This solitary little predator amazes me with its tenacity, range, and ability to take on prey bigger than itself.

What do you enjoy most about the sport of trapping?
The biggest reason that I enjoy trapping is because I love to be outside in nature. Also, you must consistently be tracking the animals to determine where they are, what they are doing and where they are going. Its like playing a chess match with the animals. And because I get to learn, teach and experience this American heritage with my four boys.

What is one of your most memorable trapping moments?
I will only mention one other than my first animal. Me and 3 of the boys went to check dog proofs along the river. We came through the brush and boom we had a triple right there. We were all so excited giving each other high fives, asking “did you see that one, what about that one”. It was a trapping moment with my kids that I will never forget. They will be telling their kids that “fish” story some day.

What would you like to see changed as far as trapping regulations in Nebraska?
Some people might not feel the same way about this, but I would like to see a 48 hour trap check for dry land.

What other hobbies do you have?
I enjoy catching big catfish. Hunting is another great “love” of mine –  turkey, pheasant, duck and deer hunting. Bee keeping, vegetable and flower gardening are things I enjoy as well. You can say I really enjoy being in the outdoors as much as possible.

Hastings, Nebraska Trapper makes local headline

For those of you who do not see the Hastings Tribune, this article appeared on the front page of the Saturday, January 30th, 2016 edition.  Mr. Raney provides a good reminder to all of us to act responsibly, make sure you are working “by the book” and your traps are tagged and you have obtained proper permission.

This article was written by John Huthmacher, and has  been re-printed with permission from the Hastings Tribune, and publisher Darran Fowler.

Trapper explains activity



Matthew Raney of Hastings was alarmed when he learned Monday that someone’s dog had wandered outside of Brickyard Park and tripped one of a handful of traps he had set with permission on private property just outside park grounds.

The spring-loaded trap reportedly did not cause injury to the dog, but the incident was nonetheless reported by the walker to local authorities and posted on social media sites.

Fearing that someone reading about the found trap may attempt to uncover additional traps he had set in the area, Raney — a certified line clearance arborist by trade — pulled them for the time being, though he says they are technically protected by law.

“That guy who reported it should come forward and let the media know he was in the wrong from the beginning,” Raney said. “It would have been illegal in the park, yeah. But it was on private property outside city limits about 200 yards from park property.”

So far, Raney has yet to make contact with the man who turned his trap over to authorities, he said.

Raney said he set the traps — with permission from the property owner — to target a skulk of foxes that had been killing chickens and ducks after dark at Adams County Fairgrounds. With his own children involved in 4-H activities, he felt compelled to intervene “so that the kids have something to show for 4-H,” he said.

Since the incident was reported, he has cooperated with Hastings Police and animal control and had his trap returned without penalty. He later showed an animal control officer where it had been placed.

The trap’s tag, which contained Raney’s driver’s license number, was left beside where the trap had been placed before it was turned over to police, he said.

“The tags are attached by a small wire and are smaller than the pencil lead that goes into a mechanical pencil,” he said. “Sometimes, if you don’t notice, you can rip a tag off and not know it. This tag was still laying by the hole where it was set up.”

The trap was one of two spring-loaded leg traps he set on the property, along with a live cage and snare traps. To date, he has trapped two foxes and a raccoon there. He is unsure when or if he’ll resume trapping on the site, but has yet to uncover any ordinance prohibiting it.

“I went down to the city attorney’s office Tuesday to look through ordinance books and never found anything prohibiting trapping within city limits,” he said. “You’re not supposed to trap within 200 yards of a dwelling unless you have the owner’s permission, which I did.”

While he concedes that being snared by a spring-loaded trap can sting a bit, he notes it is designed to provide optimum tension without causing harm to the animal. Its purpose is to catch and hold the animal while allowing the trapper to release unwanted catches unharmed.

“They’re not big enough to break bones,” he said. “If a person steps in that trap, it more than likely wouldn’t hurt you, especially if you had shoes on.”


The link to the online story is here.  There are also a couple stories about this leading up to this story.