Earn Money While Trapping

Trapping for money is the ultimate goal for all trappers right? In days past you could make a decent living in the trapping profession but can you still do this today? So many things have changed in the last ten years and its is a sure bet they will continue to change over time. In this article we will discuss all of the options you have to realize your dream of Trapping for money.

Trapping For Money

Trapping for money in modern times has taken on a whole different approach than it had in days gone by. The primary reason for this is the decline in the use of furs. Animal rights movements and the ease or producing synthetic materials has driven the demand for furs way down and made trapping for money a bit difficult but all is not lost. Fashion can influence the fur market heavily so all of this may change for better or worse at any time. 

Many organizations exist now that want to push the ban for trapping and fur trade, PETA has been a long time advocate for doing away with the tradition of trapping. For some, they do not want to give up their tradition and way of life. Trapping is something that many hold dear, the old way of life, the father and son legacy. With that being said, there are other ways to make money by trapping and we will discuss those here today.

Before we jump into the better way to look at trapping for money, we want to stress something at the start so you have a better understanding of your chances to make money. If you live in the western United States then your chances are much higher at making a good profit at trapping.

In March 2019 the Guardian posted an article on how the Coyote fur trend is booming but with organizations like PETA that can crumble at any moment. Western coyotes furs average about $75-$100 while bobcat can fetch as much as $300 to $400 dollars for a good #1  western pelt but a horribly low $30 to $60 for southern pelts.

Update Dec. 26, 2020
Recent news has pelt prices down to a less than desirable range. The COVID problems are largely the blame for this since that has affected pretty much every aspect of the economical aspect of our lives. Many trappers are simply holding furs hoping that there may be some change in 2021 and this may be the best option. Other options are tanning and creating products from furs but for most of us this really isn’t something we want to do. So keep in mind, prices listed below are under normal circumstances.


Beaver pelts often range the same in both western and eastern regions and that being $10-$14 and $15-$20 on the high end normally (with the exception of the issues mentioned above). Some high quality large beavers from the northern regions may go a bit higher. Southern trappers will see less profit due to the warmer seasons producing thinner pelts.

For beaver the real gold right now is in the beaver castor. Caster can bring as much as $80 per pound with lows being around $35 to $40 so added to the pelt prices this can be a big boost in profit. Many trappers can also strip and grind the beaver meat in order to sell or to make predator baits. Prices on meat will be low but again its added profit. So one can potentially make $140 to $160 per 10 beaver on the low end. You would surely want to make sure your skinning and processing methods are optimized otherwise you will be spending a lot of time on these 10 beaver.

Other furs such as muskrat are on the very low end around $3 to $4 but as ranch mink become fewer on the market we may see some rise in those prices. Mink fur will come in around $5 for females and possibly $8 to $10 for males. River otter should average around $20 to $30 while raccoon and red fox furs might fetch about $10 to $15. Again we stress that western and northern pelts always fetch more than the southern pelts so what can we do to increase profit if we live in the southern states?

As stated above the castor market is still strong so harvesting the beaver castor gland is a good source of added money, using the meats to produce lures is an added income stream but there is still another way to make even more money in trapping. A method that is a bit harder to get started in but well worth it because demand is high. This method will require you adapting a slightly different style but all of your trapping skills still apply.

Wildlife Control Business

Everyday there are people who are plagued with animals entering their homes, destroying their gardens, threatening pets and so much more. Your skills as a trapper can be a big help to those experiencing these problems. In just one week I saw over 20 different posts on Facebook either complaining about coyote issues, beaver, squirrel or feral hogs. These animals cause a lot of destruction for homeowners and farmers and cause millions in damage each year.

Coyotes have become a big big problem in cities. They are opportunistic creatures so when food is available they will venture there. This poses a risk to domestic pets, people and you can step in here to shine. Most ADC (Animal Damage Control) operators charge anywhere from $150.00 for inspections, $30 – $50 per catch and jobs can cost as much as $1600 depending on the size of the problem. A beaver job is much the same. In North Carolina beaver removal is a high dollar business with jobs normally reaching the $1600.00 range.

Homeowner jobs typically have a $50 to $75 inspection fee and jobs are usually skunks, raccoon or squirrels, rabbits and groundhogs or bats. To trap and remove these normally costs the landowner $250 to $500 depending on the size of the problem. Most homeowners are glad to pay that because most damages can cost two to three times more than the removal costs. Raccoon and squirrel problems seem to be the biggest problem in cities and small towns.

So as you can see this can be a very lucrative business but there is a catch. Yes there is a catch with most anything but it’s not that bad in this case. In most states such as here in Tennessee you have to be certified. Certification can cost $200 or more depending on the state’s requirements. You have to carry contractors insurance and here in Tennessee there is a hefty $1,000,000 insurance coverage requirement. In addition to that you have to keep records of all trapping jobs and report them every year to your local wildlife agencies.

The above is not the only issue you will face when becoming an ADCO. You will need to know and follow strict regulations for disposal of carcasses, you will need to at times perform euthanization by state standards. You will need to know and be able to identify health risks associated with each animal you go after so as to keep yourself and your clients safe. The last but not least requirement is that you will need to change to a protector of wildlife, yes that sounds like it is defeating the purpose but when working with local state wildlife agencies this is a must. The goal for any ADCO is to mitigate and prevent wildlife damage first and remove problem wildlife only when it is warranted.

So the above all sounds like too much right? Well some cases it may be but if you are one who loves to work outdoors, loves to be your own boss and you really like working with wildlife, this can be worth the effort. The modern trapper has a lot of opportunity to earn from their skills in many different ways so the dream of trapping for money is not entirely lost. 

If you are still here then we can only assume that you are interested in trapping for money. In this case you may want to take a look at our article on snares for wildlife control. You will probably be using these on a few jobs. Its also a good idea to familiarize yourself with different traps. You will hear the name Conibear come up quite a lot. Here we have another article on the difference in actual Conibear trap and Duke traps. You will probably be called to do a lot of coyote jobs so our article on the use of snares for coyote specifically might be of use as well.

If you have questions about trapping for money or if you need more information on how to become an ADCO then get in touch with us and until next time, happy trapping !