Trapping in Arkansas

Elk-hunting season just ended in Arkansas, but there are plenty of other game animals and birds that are still available for hunters in The Natural State. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission publishes a detailed schedule along with the various weaponry allowed for all of the game available year round.

One season that’s coming up this month, and which has roots deep in the Ozark mountains, is small-game trapping. It lasts from November 10, 2012 through March 31, 2013 (depending on the species of animal) with coyote season starting earlier, in August 2012.

Trapping has been a staple of human life since prehistory, as scholars have discovered in the archaeological records left in early human settlements. Early Americans relied on fur-bearing animals to provide materials to maintain a household – fat for fuel and light, bones for tool-making, meat, and fur and skins for protection from elements.

As settlers moved west in North America, the wealth of fur-bearing animals was reported back to investors who were supporting explorers such as Lewis & Clark. In 1670, the Hudson’s Bay Company was founded in the Northern territories that eventually became Canada. Trapping was a skill that was not only vital for explorers’ own use, but an important part of the economy as furs became as valuable as gold for trading and purchasing supplies at trading posts.

In Arkansas, there are a variety of fur-bearing animals available to a modern trapper. Beaver, muskrat, coyote and nutria are plentiful, as well as mink, weasel, raccoon, fox and river otter. Pelt prices vary with higher prices being paid for animals that are fewer in number, such as river otter and bobcats, and lower prices for raccoons and muskrats.

Uncle Sam’s Outfitters has all the cold-weather outer gear you’ll need if you are heading out to set traps along our Northwest Arkansas rivers — or to take pictures of the wildlife, if trapping’s not your style. We have it all – from backpacks and ponchos to socks and gloves – everything you need to stay warm during winter-season hunting and trapping weekends. Come in and see us and let us outfit you for success!

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