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Essential skills profile

This profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skills is generally performed by most workers in this occupation. The levels of complexity estimated for each task are ranked between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced).

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Trappers and Hunters (8442)

Trappers and hunters trap and hunt wild animals for pelts or live sale. They are usually self-employed and may work on a seasonal basis.

Reading Help - Reading
  • Read advertisements of bounties being offered by the province for particular species of animals. (1)
  • May read letters from provincial government staff about trapping issues. (2)
  • Read reports from organizations concerned with hunting and trapping, such as the Fur Institute. (2)
  • May read bear management forms which list the conditions to be observed when bear hunting. (2)
  • Read government trapping regulations at the beginning of every trapping season. The regulations deal with how to set traps and outline the seasons allowed for trapping different kinds of animals. (3)
  • Read licence renewal forms. Some major provisions of the laws applying to trappers are printed on the back of the form and are reviewed when applying for the licence. (3)
Document use Help - Document use
  • Read lists, such as price lists and lists of species and hunting quotas for various areas. (1)
  • Read labels on cans of dried food to be taken into the woods. (1)
  • Read forms, such as dealer pelt purchase forms. (2)
  • Read tables, such as lure use tables, which show lists of species and give rating codes for different types of traps. (2)
  • Read line graphs showing the variation of fur quality in different months of the year. (2)
  • Use maps to describe the boundaries of traplines and to indicate where traps have been set. (2)
  • Read assembly drawings of traps. (2)
  • Complete application forms, such as forms for trapline registration and licensing. (2)
  • Recognize angles when taking compass bearings, reading angles from the compass. (3)
Writing Help - Writing
  • Write notes as reminders of where traps have been set and to record supply levels, weather conditions and catches. (1)
  • Complete a number of forms to provide the government with statistical information about trapping. (2)
  • May write letters, such as letters to timber companies to complain about the removal of animal habitat or letters to politicians about environmental issues. (2)
  • Write sales reports for buyers and for their own records, showing species, grades and prices. (3)
Numeracy Help - Numeracy Money Math
  • Prepare invoices and receive payment for fur sales. (1)
  • Calculate earnings by multiplying the number of pelts by the price per pelt and subtracting expenses. (2)
  • Use rates to calculate prices for pelts of differing size. (2)
Scheduling, Budgeting & Accounting Math
  • Make schedules for trap setting, allocating time periods for setting traps and for travelling to the various locations. (2)
  • Do cost/benefit analyses to determine whether the price which will be paid for a particular species is too low to make trapping cost effective. (3)
  • Plan a season's trappings. They make adjustments to the plan during the season in response to factors such as species populations, prices and the weather. (4)
Measurement and Calculation Math
  • Measure the size of pelts after placing them on a stretcher board. Pricing is determined by the size of the pelts. (1)
  • Measure the appropriate heights to set snares so that they will catch the kind of species being sought rather than another species. (1)
  • Measure lengths of logs to be cut for a bridge and calculate the number of logs needed. (2)
Data Analysis Math
  • Compare the number of tracks and the number of adult females caught to standard numbers to know when to pull the traps to avoid depleting the stock of a species. (1)
  • Compare populations of different animal species in various locales from year to year, using their own records and government reports. This information is used to determine the number and location of traps to set in the coming year. (3)
Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate how much stretching is required in order to maximize a pelt. (1)
  • May estimate the time it will take to cross a swamp so that they will allow enough time to get to the other side before evening falls. (1)
  • Estimate the number of traps and the amount of supplies needed for the hunting season, taking into account weather conditions and the probable number of animals in various areas. (3)
Oral communication Help - Oral communication
  • Chat with loggers, fishermen or other members of the public met along the trapline to build a positive rapport with other users of forest areas. (1)
  • Communicate with suppliers and repair personnel to arrange for purchases or for the repair of equipment. (1)
  • Communicate with other trappers, either by telephone or at meetings, to discuss techniques and equipment. (2)
  • May interact with inexperienced persons who wish to be trappers to provide advice on setting traps and dealing with buyers. (2)
  • Talk to fish and wildlife officers to discuss quotas and to exchange information about animal populations. (2)
  • May talk to hardware store sales associates or manufacturers' representatives to make suggestions to improve a trap's effectiveness. (2)
  • Interact with fur buyers to discuss the quality of pelts and to negotiate prices. (3)
Thinking Help - Thinking Problem Solving
  • May find that a bad snow storm has completely covered traps. They go back to the trapline to relocate the traps. (1)
  • May find that a certain trap malfunctions. They use their diagnostic and mechanical skills to identify the problem, such as a defective trigger, and repair it. (2)
  • May meet recreational tobogganers, skiers and snowmobilers who are scaring animals away. They may speak to them about areas to stay away from or may relocate traps further away from popular recreational areas. (2)
  • May fall through the ice while cutting holes in the ice to set beaver traps. They get to shore as quickly as possible and light a fire to warm themselves if shelter is far away. (3)
Decision Making
  • Decide how far apart to set snares and traps. (1)
  • Decide whether weather conditions are suitable for checking the traplines. (1)
  • Decide the most appropriate time to set traps for each species. They base the decision on information in books or other publications and past experience. If their decision is wrong, they risk catching fewer animals or using their time inefficiently. (2)
  • Decide whether to sell pelts to independent buyers or to auctioneers. The decision is based on the prices for the season and the demand for the pelts. (3)
Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking information was not collected for this profile.

Job Task Planning and Organizing

Trappers and hunters make long range plans for the management of traplines, taking into account the likely size of animal populations and the probable demand for their fur. Since most trappers work alone, they are responsible for setting their own priorities. They plan and organize their time and their provisioning carefully, since failure to plan effectively can result in the rotting of unattended pelts or running out of supplies or fuel while on the trail. Since they traverse large terrains to set snares and traps, they need to be well organized in order to locate all the traps again. (3)

Significant Use of Memory
  • Remember where all the traps, perhaps several hundreds in number, have been set.
  • Remember locations where they saw animal tracks in the past.
  • Remember aspects of the terrain, such as streams, log roads or other landmarks, in order to find their way in dense woods.
Finding Information
  • Contact government officials to get statistical information on the market for pelts or to get updates on hunting and trapping regulations. (1)
  • Communicate with fishers, loggers or other inhabitants of an area to get information on what roads have been washed out. (2)
  • Read journals and magazines for information on new equipment for hunters and trappers. (2)
Digital technology Help - Digital technology

This occupation does not use computers.

Additional information Help - Additional information Other Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Trappers and hunters mostly work alone. Some work with a partner. Because of the danger of travelling in dense woodlands, many hunters and trappers share their work schedule with hunters and trappers in adjoining areas so that assistance is available if they do not reappear at the appointed times.

Continuous Learning

Trappers and hunters learn continuously through experience. They read professional magazines to keep up with new techniques and equipment. They may attend conventions of their peers to exchange ideas. In some provinces, short courses are required to obtain a trapper's licence.

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