Trapping in the Upper Midwest – Gear Guide for the Trapping Beginner

Trapping in the Upper Midwest – Gear Guide for the Trapping Beginner

As the trees start to shift colors, and the crisp fall air brings the distinct smells of fall, it is time to start gearing up for my favorite time of year for trapping in the upper Midwest.  While every experienced trapper has their list of favorite gear, trappers at any level have a list of must haves to make your trapping season successful. 

Check out our list of must haves for this trapping season:

  • Trapper education – Check your state, or the state you will be trapping in, trapping education regulations.  For example, in Minnesota if you’re born after 1989 you must obtain a trappers education certificate. These are easy to obtain and critical for your safety and to be sure you are following policies and procedures for your area.  Check your states DNR website for information.
  • Trapping License – May seem like a no-brainer but be sure to get your trapping license. 
  • Gloves – Get yourself some waterproof gloves that are long, up to the elbow.  Gloves help you if you are trapping in damp areas or near water and keep the human scent of your trap set. It isn’t a bad idea to have a set of animal handling gloves available, especially to deal with animals that were not your target.  
  • Boots – ShoesA good set of waterproof or water resistant footwear, while maintaining comfort, is beneficial while you’re out trapping.  
  • Headlamp – A good LED headlamp is well worth the minimal investment.  Handsfree lighting is the only way to go when trapping. Don’t forget to pack batteries if needed, or a backup headlamp and/or flashlight.
  • Trappers basket/bucket – A pack basket is a handy tool for carrying your harvest as well as supplies for trapping. In a pinch you can use a bucket, but the pack basket is extremely useful. 
  • Traps – There are a variety of trap types available, however, for beginners I recommend the coil spring foothold trap; this isn’t always the right type depending on the animal you wish to harvest. When buying gear make sure you’re working with experienced sellers who can point you in the right direction for trap choice. 
  • Trap stakes or anchors – trap stakes or anchors help keep your traps in place. Nothing worse than realizing your catch has run away with your trap; it isn’t great news for you or your catch!
  • Dirt sifter – You’ll need to cover and camouflage your trap, and dirt sifting will save you some headaches.  Large rocks or clumps of soil can cause your trap to not work properly, so this investment quickly pays for itself in sanity dollars alone.
  • Trowels – A large and small trowel come in very handy while out trapping. You’ll need them for everything from creating game holes to setting your trap. 
  • Hatchet – When making your hatchet selection be sure to choose a hatchet with a hammer like tool on the opposite side from the blade. Between setting stakes or removing sod, this tool will be well used. 
  • Wire cutters or pliers – There are so many uses for this tool, too many to list. This is simply a great tool, and to me a must have, when trapping. 
  • Catch pole – When you have to release a non-target catch, you’ll absolutely want to have a catch pole to aid in safely releasing the animal. 
  • Apparel – Make sure you dress for trapping success.  Warm wind and water resistant gear simply helps you stay comfortable. Don’t forget your blaze orange for your own safety. 

These tools will help you get started on what hopefully will be a lifetime of enjoyment in trapping. A few other helpful reminders are to be sure where you hunt is either public land or that you have permission from the homeowner. There are a lot of rules and regulations to learn in advance, but if possible, having an experienced trapper with you on your first several goes at trapping is just a wise choice. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the DNR in the area you are trapping as well, they typically are extremely helpful, they want you to have a safe experience for you and the animals. 

Mimbach Fleet and Supply is your one stop shop for all trapping things. From all the tools, the license, and everything in-between, our friendly and knowledgeable staff can help you choose all the right supplies to make trapping a successful adventure for you. Here is to great and successful trapping experience!


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