Photo © Heather Berg

Trapping Education

ETHICS SD is a comprehensive furbearer education program that is the result of collaboration between Game, Fish and Parks, 4-H, the South Dakota Trappers Association, and the Western South Dakota Fur Harvesters. There are six 4-H clubs from around the state participating in ETHICS SD as a pilot program from October 2019-April 2020. Classes are meeting at least once a month to allow for students to harvest fur during prime fur season. 
The ETHICS acronym stands for Ecology, Trapping, History, Identification, Conservation, and Stewardship, which are all knowledge and skills emphasized throughout the class, along with the incredible sense of responsibility placed on trappers to ethically and humanely harvest wildlife. 
Once furs are harvested, students learn skills in fleshing, stretching, salting and drying furs to compete for $1,000 in scholarships at next spring’s South Dakota Trapper’s Association youth division fur competition. Each 4-H group has approximately 10 student participants (ages 10-18), one 4-H advisor for classroom management and student development, and at least one trapping expert to assist with the class content. Parental and volunteer involvement has been key to the success of the program. 
The ETHICS SD program will be increasing in size to allow for twice the number of participants in 2020-2021.  
If you have questions or would like to inquire about ETHICS SD in your county, please reach out to any of the program contacts listed below. 

Justin Bartling, South Dakota Trapping Association-Youth Education Coordinator and Director of Technology,, 605.830.0927

Shala Larson, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks R3 and Relevancy Manager,, 605.223.7666

Jimmy Doyle, SDSU Extension-Natural Resource Management Field Specialist,, 605.842.1267

Laura Kahler, SDSU Extension-4-H Youth Program Advisor Gregory and Tripp Counties,, 605.842.2858

Katherine Jaeger, SDSU Extension-Youth Outdoor Education Field Specialist,, 605.782.3290