by Chris Bradley
I do not consider myself a trapper, but then again, I would not be truthful if I said I have never set any traps. I have trapped and I will trap again because I live in a house that was built in the 1860s, and I have an annual influx of critters commonly called house mice.
The opponents of trapping beguile us with the term “recreational trapping” by juxtaposing it against the harvesting of an animal, trying to make the point that this harvesting isn’t needed or necessary; it exists just for the perverse pleasure of what are clearly a very few trappers.
Let us be clear however that beavers are from the Order Rodentia, so just like Rats, Mice and Nutria, they are RODENTS.
I believe in wetlands. I have nothing against beavers. I, however, fully believe in the proper handling of games species, and one of the methods of controlling their overall health is to cull their population. This is why we annually harvest deer.
If you read H.191, the latest attempt to BAN trapping, you’ll note something curious. On the one hand this bill will end the current permitting of trapping – No More “Recreational Trapping”. However, the bill also creates a new “nuisance trapping permit”. So: It’s not really a BAN at all – because regulated trapping will still be in existence and even sanctioned – we will just call it something else.
Now, with the permitted “Recreational Trapping” that occurs today, we have a method that has been proven to help control the overall population of certain game species. In allowing Trappers to trap, we also reduce – or keep in check – the need for nuisance trapping elsewhere. Allowing continued trapping also recognizes the rights of the indigenous people of Vermont.
When municipalities or VTRANS or a property owner has a need to remove a nuisance animal – who do they think gets called? A Plumber? No, they will likely call a Trapper, or will call F&W who will then refer a Trapper, because Trappers know what to do, they have the tools and expertise to do it efficiently and effectively, and these good folks will often do it for a minimal, or even without, charge.
Beavers in Vermont are abundant and flourishing, and it is beyond foolish to believe that we could live and let live by allowing beavers to reproduce without culling and allow them to build dams wherever they please.
So, I ask you, what do you prefer? Controlling a species with a proven method that is usually done for little or no cost to VTRANS, a municipality, or even yourself; or would you prefer to have to pay commercial rates to pay these same skilled individuals under a “Compensation Permit”?
Look up trapping and Massachusetts. In MA, what used to be “Recreational Trappers” became “Nuisance Trappers” when trapping was banned; and it is a fact that many of those folks now make 6-figure incomes by using their expertise to trap the now hugely over-abundant problem animals.
Keep in mind that one of the arguments the anti-trappers give is “there is no money in trapping”. It’s part of their mantra that ties to the theme of “Recreational Trapping”.
A bill like H.191 will take “Recreational Trapping” and make it “Compensated Trapping”; H.191 even states that trappers “…trap for compensation under a nuisance wildlife trapping license”.
H.191 will actually cause MORE trapping in Vermont; it will create an industry for the commercial killing of critters like beavers with expensive rates, and it will absolutely create Wanton Waste. These are LOGICAL outcomes that some cannot or will not see.
And heaven help all of us if a mouse can be called a “fur-bearing animal” under H.191.
H.191 a Trapping Ban? No. It’s hypocrisy, as it will NOT ban trapping. It will expand it.
The author is a Northfield resident and President of the Vermont Federation of Sportsman’s Clubs (VTFSC).