Trapper Education courses teach you how to Trap in Tennessee
In Tennessee, Trapper Education is a voluntary program. The course is available to those interested in learning how to trap or improving their trapping skills. A trapper education course teaches participants how to responsibly trap furbearing animals and provides a foundation of knowledge upon which to build. Topics include proper trapping equipment and use, responsible trap setting, the importance of good wildlife management practices, and habits and traits of furbearers.
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All trapping devices must be clearly marked with the owner's name. All traps must be inspected every 36 hours or less and animals removed. When trapping on another's property, the trapper must carry on his or her person written permission from the landowner, and make a written report to the owner of any domestic animal caught and pay damages for those animals.
Furbearer species in Tennessee include:
Beaver, Coyote, Groundhog, Bobcat*, Fox**, Mink, Muskrat, Opossum, Otter***, Raccoon, Spotted Skunk, Striped Skunk, and Weasel.
*Bobcat pelts must be tagged with Tennessee U.S. CITES tags in order to be exported from the U.S. Contact your TWRA regional office for instructions.
**Exceptions to the statewide fox season are:
- Benton - unlawful to take or kill red foxes
- Dyer, Lauderdale, Smith, and Wilson - open year round to hunting and trapping red and gray foxes
***All river otters harvested must be tagged by harvester with Tennessee US CITES tags. Contact your TWRA regional office for instructions.
Legal Traps & Specific Regulations
Trappers shall mark all of their traps with their name or TWRA ID number.
Lethal sets such as instant kill traps and water set (“drowning”) traps must be inspected every seventy-two (72) hours. All other traps must be inspected every thirty-six (36) hours and any wildlife caught in the traps shall be removed.
Live traps are legal for taking any species of wildlife listed as having a trapping season. Live traps are defined as those traps that act as a cage after capture.
Steel Cable Snares
These have a minimum cable diameter of 5/64 inch and maximum cable diameter of 3/32 inch. All snares shall have affixed a tag bearing the name of the owner. Spring activated snares, except Collarum snares, are prohibited.
Dog Proof Traps
Dog-proof traps, also known as species-specific traps are legal for trapping.
Steel traps placed inside a hole, cave or den or in a hollow log, hollow stump or any like place shall be placed twelve (12) or more inches inside the entrance of such place, and it is unlawful to place steel traps in the open, except for water sets and traps listed below.
For trapping purposes "water set" is defined to mean traps set in water adjacent to and part of streams, ponds, lakes, wetlands or other water courses and includes floating sets.
Steel Leg-Hold Traps
Steel leg-hold traps must have an outside measure of jaw spread that is 9 inches or less, as measured at the widest point. Steel square instant-kill traps must have an exterior jaw measurement 16 inches or less, as measured at the widest point, and steel circular instantkill traps must have an exterior measurement 12 inches or less, as measured at the widest point
Steel Instant-Kill Traps
Square instant-kill traps that have an exterior jaw measurement 16 inches or less, as measured at the widest point, and circular instant kill traps that have an exterior measurement 12 inches or less, as measured at the widest point, are legal. Instant kill traps are considered steel jawed traps and their use is restricted to that allowed for steel jawed traps. Conibear traps are instant-kill traps.
Cushion-hold traps, laminated jaw traps, off-set wide jaw traps, off-set laminated jaw traps and wide jaw traps with an outside measure of jaw spread that is 9 inches or less, as measured at the widest point and a minimum jaw thickness of ¼ inch, may be used for all sets. Double-jaw traps with an outside spread of 9 inches or less of the upper and lower jaw combined and a minimum jaw thickness of ¼ inch may be used for all sets.