Will Trapping Disturb the Deer Herd?

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Hi Grant,

Love your episodes, big fan of yours for years now!

Your trapping episode (GDTV 10) has me interested. Our property is in NE Ohio and we’ve been managing it for a little over a decade now. One problem I’m having is the negative effect to the deer herd my Dad is creating through his passion for trapping. He is not a deer hunter and he loves to trap. He begins trapping in November and keeps at it through February, mostly muskrats, beavers, otters, coyotes, and coons.

Side Note: After watching your trapping show, I thought I’d point out the low fur prices are not all fur wide. With the cold winter we are having, the prices of muskrat and beaver are way up. He is averaging $11-$14 a muskrat at 2 recent fur sales and he is so pumped up about that! He sends most his fur to Canada for their sales and the Chinese buyers are where most the demand is coming from.

Back to my original thought and question….How much will the deer be affected by all the nonhunting activity on the property during and after season? I’ve always had a hunch that they relate any and all human activity to danger. Is this not true? Do you worry about this on your property? Do you recommend minimizing disturbance and “traffic” on your property only during hunting season or throughout the whole year? He has created such a maze of trails throughout our 700 acres because he is 64 and really can only trap by using the ATV vehicle to get to his spots. Frustrating, but maybe I shouldn’t worry about his doings so much, what do you think?

Thanks for everything,



Wow, your Dad got a great price for his furs! The best prices quoted in Region 11 (includes Ohio and Missouri) are $8 for coyotes and $30 for bobcats. Such prices do not encourage most trappers to target these predators.

If I were you, I’d buy your Dad a tank of gas and tell him “thanks for trapping.” Remember that the presence of predators make deer remain very alert! If deer can avoid coyotes, they will be dang good at avoiding two-legged predators. Coyotes and bobcats also can remove a high percentage of the fawn crop. In fact, in a presentation earlier this week at the annual Deer Study Group, it was reported that coyotes removed more than 60% of fawns from two different study sites in South Carolina.

Another consideration is that deer can and do learn what is and is not a threat. Deer in many state parks are not alarmed by humans. Deer certainly become conditioned to vehicles that deliver feed, while avoiding all other vehicles on the same property. If your Dad checks his trap line at the same time daily, the deer probably know the noise of his ATV, and the smells associated with his trapping gear. If he has a long pattern of passing through the property without threatening the deer herd, it’s likely the deer are not bothered by him — they are conditioned to his presence. I’d say your Dad’s trapping is a benefit to the herd, and to you!

Growing Deer together,