For those with experience and expertise capturing bears, we invite your participation in a project collating current knowledge of efficient and ethical bear trap design.


For purposes of research or managing bear-human conflicts, bear traps are used by a wide array of professionals. Likewise, a wide variety of traps are being used, and consist of many different materials and configurations. Because every capture effort strives to provide consummate care to the animals, all traps are intended to capture bears effectively and ethically. However, some materials and techniques work better than others and minimize injuries, such as the loss of teeth or claws and injuries to legs and cubs. Many traps are built by the people who use them, and most people who use traps have made their own modifications to improve efficiciency and performance. The knowledge learned by those improving upon trap design is seldom shared, so by facilitating communication among professionals (e.g. federal wildlife biologists, WS trappers, state conservation officers, graduate students, organizations, and independent researchers), we aim to coalesce what is known into a summary of the most effective trap designs.

The Bear Trap Design Project will document the history and diversity of trap design and provide a resource detailing materials, techniques, manufacturers, literature, and human safety considerations. The end product will be an illustrated brochure outlining the evolution of trap design, the components and techniques that should no longer be used, and specifications for the best traps in use today. Our intention is to distribute this among state and federal agencies, universities, and other organizations in North America involved with bear capture, providing grants and donations are available to cover printing and distribution costs. We hope to provide a resource that will ultimately improve capture techniques and minimize trap injuries.

The brochure will primarily address recommendations for the design of bear traps built from barrels, culverts, or cages. Spefications for and modifications to snares are elaborately documented in recent literature, so for this topic we intend to provide some basic information and a useful bibliography.

The brochure will be provided by Dr. Mark R. Johnson DVM of Global Wildlife Resources, Inc. The survey, writing, and design of the publication is being completed by Marci Johnson on a volunteer basis.


To contribute your knowledge and experience to this project, including specifications for what you feel would be an ideal trap design, contact us to request our questionnaire. Anyone with experience operating or designing traps, from field technicians to PIs to those studying other species of bears abroad, could offer valuable ideas and techniques that may benefit others. We appreciate your sharing this website and the survey with your colleagues, and encourage individuals working on the same project to submit their own answers and perspectives.


Global Wildlife Resources, Inc. is seeking grants and private donations to cover printing and distribution costs so we can readily distribute this for the benefit of the bear researchers and the bears. Global Wildlife Resources is a 501(c)(3) organization and all donations are tax deductible. Donations can be sent to: Global Wildlife Resources, PO Box 10248, Bozeman, MT 59719 or contact Dr. Mark Johnson DVM at (406)586-4624.


We welcome your questions and comments, and would be pleased to add you or others you know to our list of recipients.