Photo courtesy Mike Schoonveld

Photo courtesy Mike Schoonveld

Modern trappers work hard to dispel the myth and misinformation about their art.  Contrary to the profile put forward by animal rights people, the modern trapper is a lover of the outdoor not a despoiler of it.  They love the outdoors and the skill required to outwit their quarry on its own turf.

The trapper is probably the most knowledgeable naturalist in the wild.  He knows his woods, and its occupants.

Surveys done in big cities find the public is not so anti-trapping once they learn trapping does not endanger species and seasons regulate the harvest numbers.  It is the people who know little about the outdoors and wildlife management that quickly to condemn trapping.  They seem to fall prey to the misinformation put forth by animal rights activists.

Trappers, not unlike hunters, must play attention to their gear, tools, clothing and scents to outwit the animals they seek.  They must scout their prospective trap line area for signs of animal activity.  Then it is a matter of gaining permission to trespass.  Pre-trapping season consists of trap maintenance, securing scents to cover human smells, and reading all the regulations that the state imposes upon the trapper.

Animals in the wild often fall victim to predation, fighting, accident, starvation, and disease.  Trapping is a substitute for some of this natural mortality and provides human use of some of the excess animals.

Trapping provides an income for thousands of outdoorsmen and women.  It can be supplemental income for youngsters in school.  Fur sales add millions of dollars to the economy.

Trappers also help property owners avoid damage to their land.  Trapping is an efficient method of controlling furbearers who have become a nuisance.  Oversize populations of furbearers can cause severe damage to the vegetation.  A marsh can become unproductive for other forms of wildlife.  Trappers help control animal populations.

Much is made of the holding of an animal in the “leg hold” trap.  Death by the lingering torment of disease from overcrowded populations is harsher than a day-long detention in a leg hold trap.  Trappers check their sets daily.

All animals die whether we harvest them or not.  Death occurs whether we see it or not.  Do we choose a form of death that provides a harvest and helps stabilize the population?  Alternatively, do we leave it to nature to provide one of the natural deaths of starvation, disease, predation, accident or fighting?  Do we enjoy an economic and recreational benefit or not?

Fur prices in recent year have been down.  However the prices for furs trapped during the 2012-13 season reached a 30-year high.  Furs such as muskrat, red fox and raccoon saw prices not seen since the 1970’s.   The result is an increased interest among novice trappers for this season.  Many experienced trappers are making plans for longer trap lines as well.

Trapping is a part of our heritage.  The early settlers were trappers.  Today it is an essential tool for wildlife management.



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