A serene lake next to bright green conifer trees and a blue sky


Trapping is a wildlife management tool used on some national wildlife refuges. Trapping may be used to protect endangered and threatened species or migratory birds or to control certain wildlife populations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also views trapping as a legitimate recreational and economic activity when there are harvestable surpluses of fur-bearing mammals. Outside of Alaska, refuges that permit trapping as a recreational use may require trappers to obtain a refuge special use permit. Signs are posted on refuges where trapping occurs. Click here for more information about trapping as a management tool.

On Blackwater NWR, trapping for muskrats occurs January through March. The trapping program helps keep the muskrat population in check, allowing for better growth of marsh vegetation in the spring. It also allows local trappers to maintain traditions that have been in their families for generations. Each year, these trappers lease sections of the refuge through a sealed bid process. For more information, please contact matt_whitbeck@fws.gov.