MN DNR Conservation Officers get Trapper Education Training
Conservation officers in the state of MN play an important role in enforcing our state’s game laws and regulations but need to have knowledge of the very activities they are enforcing to accurately do so. Part of MTA’s mission is to educate on trapping and sound wildlife management. In the mid-2000s the MTA saw conservation officers being hired that had less background in conservation and in particular trapping knowledge enforcing the regulations. In an effort to help facilitate a learning opportunity to conservation officers regarding trapping and conservation/wildlife management knowledge, the MTA approached MN DNR about offering an opportunity for officers to gain this knowledge to help support their work.
The opportunity was the MTA would provide a scholarship for one conservation officer to attend the Fur Takers of America's Fur Taker College. This course is a week-long course taught to students wanting to learn about trapping and wildlife management. This course is taught by wildlife and trapping professionals from all over the country. It is held each year in the Midwest with trappers and wildlife officials attending. Participants go away with a wealth of knowledge about trapping, trapping techniques, and how trapping applies to wildlife management.
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The MTA from 2009-2012 provided one scholarship a year to one MN conservation officer to attend the college. Starting in 2013, the DNR started matching this and providing funding for a second conservation officer to attend out of their training budget. Since starting this program over10 conservation officers have attended this course. Scott Staples a conservation officer for the DNR attended in 2013. Since that time Scott has continued to serve as a liaison between the MTA and DNR enforcement and has helped recruit officers to attend this training along with helping with other training topics including helping train CO’s this past year on the new BAD regulations to ensure proper identification of legal BADS in the field.
The result of this training at the Fur Takers College has provided conservation officers in the field with more knowledge and insight into trapping and how it works with wildlife management. The conservation officers armed with this are more able to assess trapping efforts happening in the field and enforce trapping regulation in a fair and consistent manner.