by Jerry D’Amico
There have been many recent commentaries by opponents of regulated trapping in Vermont, in which the authors make numerous misstatements as well as unsubstantiated claims to make their point.
They claim that 68% of Vermonters are opposed to trapping. They indicated that this was based on two surveys, one conducted by the VT Department of fish and Wildlife  and one by the Vermont Center for Rural Development .
Their reading of these surveys is certainly suspect.
Correctly reading the Poll conducted for the Department of Fish and Wildlife by Responsive Management in 2018 indicates that 58% Vermonters support trapping [32% strongly/26% moderately], while only 25% oppose trapping. [refer to the graph on page 241 of the report.
The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the American Association of Wildlife Veterinarians, the Wildlife Society, and many other wildlife groups and societies support trapping, which is also supported by 71 % of Americans.
One commentator cited a 2017 survey conducted by the Vermont Center for Rural Studies, in which she claimed that 75% of Vermonters want trapping banned. This survey did not reflect Vermonters as a whole, since it was developed and paid for by a group adamantly opposed to trapping, and primarily involved responses from Chittenden County, which is more urban than the rest of Vermont.
Other commentaries have claimed that beaver populations are in decline and trapping adults causes yearlings left in the lodge to freeze to death. Based on discussions with wildlife biologists, there is no documented evidence that either of these statements are true. Recent surveys indicate approximately 1200-1400 beavers are trapped annually in Vermont the same number that were trapped in 1950, the first year of trapping beavers in the twentieth century.
These commentators also describe the use of the leg hold trap as cruel. First the use of the term ‘leg hold’ is a misnomer. This devise was designed to hold an animal by the foot, not the leg. Leghold is used by those proposing this bill to alarm the public.
I have heard numerous arguments for banning this devise, almost all inaccurate. The foothold trap restrains an animal, it does not torture or unduly harm the animal. I have walked up to captured animals that were sleeping, not struggling against the devise. Non-target animals are released unharmed, with only a numb foot.
Captured animals are generally harvested by shooting with a small caliber weapon, usually a .22 caliber, not by stomping or bludgeoning.
These commentaries were written by vocal adherents of an anti-trapping/anti-hunting group. It is obvious they do not support the regulated trapping of wildlife. Why do they feel the need to distort the truth?
The author is a Roxbury resident.