Fur Harvester Course

Issue/Problem Statement

The regulated harvesting of furbearing species of animals is biologically sustainable, provides an economic return to the fur harvester, stimulates the provincial economy and helps to reduce the number of nuisance animals that may otherwise be a burden to the taxpayer. However, because of the activities of national and international animal rights/anti-consumptive use interests, the harvesting of certain animals has come under greater public scrutiny in recent years. In order to ensure effective, efficient and humane fur harvesting practices, D.N.R. initiated various organized educational programs for furharvesters in 1974. Mandatory Furharvester Education Courses have been in place for all first time furharvesters since 1986.


By law, all beginning fur harvesters, houndsmen, bear-snarers and Nuisance Wildlife Operators must take a Fur Harvester Education Course before they can purchase a license. A final examination is mandatory and must be passed with a score of 90% or better. This course standardizes and utilizes the latest information regarding the humane capture and dispatch of animals. Experienced fur harvesters are also accommodated and encouraged to upgrade their skills and knowledge.

The Trapper Education Workshop allows students (beginners and experienced trappers alike) the opportunity for hands-on practice and instruction by qualified and competent trapping instructors. Attendance is voluntary. There is usually only one Trapper Education Workshop per year. Topics covered include humane capture and dispatch of trapped animals, wildlife management, trapper safety, avoidance of non-target species, ethics and responsibilities to land owners and other wildlife habitat users, and proper pelt handling techniques.


The Fur Harvester Education program is managed by the Hunter Education Coordinator in Natural Resources in cooperation with the Trappers' Association of Nova Scotia (TANS). The creation/revision of the instructional manual, written (or oral) examination, advertising, course content, record keeping, instructor and student contact, instructor training and certification and course planning are all managed through the Stewardship and Outreach section in cooperation with TANS.

The Trapper Education Workshop is primarily organized by TANS with NR&R providing logistical support and technical equipment.


Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources and Renewables Regional Services, Canadian Parks Service, Acadia University (ACWCB), University of Saskatchewan, and trappers.

Project Dates and Duration

Variable, on an 'as required' basis. Fur Harvester Education Courses usually are held in late summer/early fall before the fall hunting/trapping seasons. Fur Harvester Education Courses started in September 1986. Trapper Education Workshops began in March, 1974, and are usually held once per year in conjunction with annual meeting/convention of TANS (usually in early March).

Progress to Date

Since September of 1986, 85 Fur Harvester Education courses have been held with 1,762 students trained.

Beginning in March, 1974, 51 Trapper Education Workshops have been attended by 1,661 students.

Beginning in 2005, Furharvester Education - Home Study Pilot Project was initiated, to date 3 students have completed the course.


The results of Fur Harvester Education program and the annual Trapper Education Workshop are reported annually in the NS Trappers Newsletter. Raw data and summary tables maintained in paper and/or electronic format.

Management Recommendations

Continue. Program essential to maintain and promote humane trapping practices, maintain sustainable industry, and effectively manage furbearer populations for Nova Scotia.

Final Report: NA

Completion Dates: NA