DEC revising permit requirement for bobcat hunting, trapping

http://www.pressrepublican.com/sports/outdoors/dec-revising-permit-requirement-for-bobcat-hunting-trapping/article_477122d4-fa01-5a3e-a07f-cbe927dd59d9.html

DATA: New York hunters and trappers no longer required to obtain special permit

RAY BROOK — Having collected enough data on bobcat populations, a special permit will no longer be necessary for hunting and trapping bobcats in certain parts of western New York.

But hunters and trappers who pursue bobcats in designated Harvest Expansion Areas (HEAs) are still required to have a hunting or trapping license and to have the animal pelt sealed, according to a press release.

REGULATION HISTORY

Upon completion of the Bobcat Management Plan in 2012, regulations were adopted to establish a hunting and trapping season in select Wildlife Management Units in central and western New York, referred to as the “Harvest Expansion Area.”

In areas open to bobcat hunting and trapping, individuals are required to have a license and to have the animal “pelt sealed” — have a plastic tag affixed by DEC staff — after harvest.

However, to hunt or trap bobcats in the HEA, licensed hunters and trappers were also required to obtain a free special permit from their regional wildlife office.

SUFFICIENT DATA

This requirement allowed biologists to collect information on participation, harvest, harvest pressure — number of days afield, number of traps set, etc. — through a diary or “log,” and to collect biological samples.

This robust data set allows biologists to assess the status of the bobcat population and evaluate harvest.

After three seasons of data collection, sufficient information on harvest pressure and take has been collected and the special permit is no longer needed.

Bobcat hunting and trapping regulations can be viewed on DEC’s website at on.ny.gov/2tS2sNO for hunting and on.ny.gov/2tORSbO for trapping.

The Notice of Adoption for the revised regulation can be viewed in the New York State Register at on.ny.gov/2ulcpVZ.

The right to hunt and fish is called barbaric

http://georgesoutdoornews.bangordailynews.com/2017/04/27/environmental-issues/the-right-to-hunt-and-fish-is-called-barbaric/

April 27, 2017

A proposed Constitutional amendment to “Establish the Right to Hunt and Fish” drew angry testimony from the anti-hunting and anti-trapping crowd.

“This bill is barbaric,” testified John Glowa of China, who called LD 11 “the worst piece of legislation I have seen in more than twenty years of coming before this committee, and I have seen some bad ones.” Glowa also called the bill “the poison fruit of the paranoia seed planted by the out-of-state gun lobby and by radical extremist consumptive users.”

And yes, that was way over the top. Katie Hansberry of the Humane Society of the United States, who is always well-prepared and courteous in her work at the legislature, testified “The Humane Society of the United States has worked with wildlife management agencies across the U.S. to combat poaching. And in recent years, we joined sportsmen and the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to crack down on poaching by helping Maine become the first state in New England to join the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact.

“We are concerned that putting a right to hunt in our constitution could amount to an open invitation for poachers to exploit it to their advantage, and could subject longstanding conservation laws to legal challenge from those arguing that this constitutional right exempts them from existing restrictions like bag limits or prohibitions on spotlight or road hunting. Unnecessarily putting this existing right into our constitution could invite lawsuits from individuals who want to argue that conservation laws on quotas, season closures, or land area closures could infringe upon their constitutional right to hunt and fish,” said Katie.

Karen Coker of WildWatch Maine joined in the criticism of the bill, testifying that, “It’s intent… is to silence Maine citizens concerned about unethical practices and to prevent citizens from initiating ballot initiatives on wildlife issues.” She said “This proposal’s vague terms open the door to inhumane, unethical trapping and hunting practices,” and called the bill “a legal nightmare.” She also insisted that “hunting and trapping and fishing are not fundamental rights.”

She might have a disagreement with Katie Hansberry on that, because Katie testified that “Mainers already have the right to hunt and fish.”

DIF&W’s Testimony

Tim Peabody, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, surprised some supporters by testifying “neither for nor against” the bill. He called hunting and fishing “significant privileges” here in Maine.

Tim also noted that last year the legislature amended the Department’s mission statement to include the direction to “use regulated hunting, fishing and trapping as the basis for the management of these resources whenever feasible.” That was a significant victory for hunting, trappers, and anglers.

Tim questioned “How would this bill, and the resulting constitutional rights affect existing hunting laws, landowner’s rights, or the Department of Health and Human Services ability to enforce child support obligations by suspending licenses? The precise answer to these and many more unanticipated questions likely will not be supplied until these issues are tested in court. In the face of the unknown, I hope the Committee and the Legislature as a whole proceeds with caution.”

He summed up his testimony with this statement: “We urge careful consideration of the possible impacts of the current privilege enjoyed by all law abiding sportsmen and women. There is a distinct difference between a privilege and a right,” he said.

Supporters

Supporters of LD 11 including the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, National Rifle Association, and Maine Professional Guides Association.

Rep. Steve Wood, a member of the IFW Committee, sponsored and spoke for the bill, testifying “I’ve proposed this bill as an attempt to join 21 other states around the country which guarantee the right to hunt and fish in their constitutions; most recently Kansas and Indiana.”  Steve distributed a fact sheet about state constitutional amendments and the right to hunt and fish.

Dave Trahan emphasized that LD 11 is a SAM bill, not an NRA bill as some opponents charged. He took the committee through a bit of history of wildlife management in this country, noting that “conservationists and sportsmen of conscience” supported the Pitman-Robertson Act which established an excise tax on outdoor gear, a tax that has directed $3 billion to wildlife management agencies including Maine’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Department.

“Hunting, trapping and fishing regulations have existed for less than half the life of this country,” testified Dave. “They were not put in place by the courts or a constitutional ruling and certainly not established to give governments the sovereignty over wild creatures; to the contrary, sportsmen and conservationists willfully placed these limits on wildlife consumption because they recognized the value in our natural world and wanted to insure that they would be around for future generations.

“This Constitutional Proposition is before you because animal rights organizations are trying to change that narrative and history… They believe hunting and fishing are cruel and inhumane, but readily accept the slow, vicious and terrifying death of wild animals through starvation, disease or to be torn apart by wild predators.” Said Dave.

Rep. Karl Ward testified for the bill, reporting that, “As of today, twenty two states now guarantee the People’s Right to Hunt and Fish in their State Constitutions. Vermont enacted this in 1777. The other seventeen – Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming have passed amendment to their Constitutions since 1996. Indiana and Kansas passed this amendment last year. Texas and Nevada the year before.”

What’s Next?

It will take a 2/3 vote in both the House and Senate to place this Constitutional amendment on the ballot, and the people will make the deciding decision.

I am concerned about the amount of money that will need to be raised to win this ballot fight, but there’s a long way to go before we have to be concerned about that.

Referendum to make hunting, fishing, trapping a constitutional right garners support from 30 senators

A majority of Montana’s state senators backed a measure to ask voters to decide whether hunting, fishing and trapping should become constitutional rights in the 2018 general election.

Senate Bill 236, sponsored by Sen. Jennifer Fielder, R-Thompson Falls, would create a ballot initiative to put in Montana’s constitution the right for Montana citizens to hunt, fish and trap. Measures that ask for a ballot initiative require 100 votes total between the Senate and the House and don’t need the governor’s signature.

In an initial vote on Monday, 30 Senators supported the bill. It faces a final Senate vote on Tuesday — the vote that will actually count toward the 100 necessary.

 Fielder said the bill will strengthen the state constitution’s protections for these activities.

“The language in the existing Montana constitution is unclear,” Fielder said.

She also said strengthening the language will help fight off future attempts to limit hunting or trapping in the state, such as the ballot measure voters rejected in November to ban trapping on public lands.

But opponents of the bill said the protections within the constitution are strong enough and that the failure of the trapping initiative last fall shows that the activity isn’t in serious danger.

“We don’t need to change something that already works,” said Sen. Mike Phillips, D-Bozeman.

In a February committee hearing, the bill garnered support from the Montana Trappers Association and the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association, among others. A number of conservation groups and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks opposed it.

The bill was amended slightly before being sent out of the Senate Fish and Game committee on a 6-5 vote. The amendment turned some opposition into support — namely, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation — but it didn’t eliminate all opposition.

Nick Gevock, the conservation director for the Montana Wildlife Federation, said his group still opposes the measure because they believe changing the constitution requires more careful consideration than can be found in the “hurried emotion of a 90-day legislative session.”

On the Senate floor Monday, Fielder said the bill is similar to laws passed in 14 other states, including Idaho. In a post on its website, the National Conference of State Legislatures says {a style=”font-size: 12px;” href=”http://www.ncsl.org/research/environment-and-natural-resources/state-constitutional-right-to-hunt-and-fish.aspx#5” target=”_blank”}21 states{/a} across the country guarantee the right to hunt and fish, including Montana.

Montana’s current law guarantees the “opportunity” to hunt, and Fielder’s bill would change that word to “right,” which she said has a more clear legal definition.

“It’s time for Montana to step up,” she said.

But some worry that the change could upend wildlife management within the state. An internal memo from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks provided to the Chronicle said the bill would endanger the state’s ability to charge residents and nonresidents different prices for hunting and fishing licenses. The memo says the change would likely draw a legal challenge and that a court might find that the state is discriminating against non-residents by charging them higher license fees.

Phillips mentioned this on the Senate floor Monday, saying the change could result in the state “giving the deal of the century to nonresidents” by lowering out-of-state license fees.

“If you feel lucky in court, vote for 236,” he said.

Sen. Jeff Welborn, R-Dillon, and Sen. Terry Gauthier, R-Helena, joined the Senate’s 18 Democrats in voting against the bill. The measure will need 70 votes in the House to pass, which means that even if all Republicans support it, they will need at least 11 votes from Democrats. Two House Democrats are listed as sponsors of the bill — Rep. Jonathan Windy Boy of Box Elder and Rep. Brad Hamlett of Cascade.

 

Trapping Ban Will Appear On November Ballot In Montana

http://mtpr.org/post/trapping-ban-will-appear-november-ballot-montana#stream/0
By EDWARD O’BRIEN • JUL 1, 2016

Voters this November will decide the future of traps and snares on Montana’s public lands. A proposal to end commercial and recreational trapping on Montana’s public lands will appear on November’s ballot.
Voters this November will decide the future of traps and snares on Montana’s public lands. A proposal to end commercial and recreational trapping on Montana’s public lands will appear on November’s ballot.

Listen Listening…1:09 Trapping Ban Will Appear On November Ballot In Montana

Voters this November will decide the future of traps and snares on Montana’s public lands. A proposal to end commercial and recreational trapping on Montana’s public lands will appear on November’s ballot.

Supporters of I-177 say they were notified Thursday that they had collected more than enough valid signatures.

A similar measure failed to qualify in 2010.

Connie Poten of Montana Trap-Free Public Lands says a lot has changed since then.

“Most people then didn’t even know trapping existed. There was a lot of education we had to do and we’ve been doing it over the past six years, so many more people are aware of trapping and how unnecessary it is and how cruel it is.”

Representatives of the Montana Trappers Association could not be immediately reached for comment today.

I-177 supporters say trapping would be allowed to protect livestock, property, health and safety when non-lethal methods have failed.

http://mtpr.org/post/trapping-ban-will-appear-november-ballot-montana#stream/0

For once the NRB listened to the citizens. There is a first time for everything.

Petition: NO TRAPPING IN SANTA FE NATIONAL FOREST

The U.S. Forest Service is revising its plan for the Santa Fe National Forest. The Mountain Lion Foundation and our partners in New Mexico want to take this opportunity to request that the Forest Service prohibit trapping in the Caja del Rio and other areas of Santa Fe National Forest that are used by recreationalists.

http://mountainlion.org/ActionAlerts/080516FStraps/080516FStraps.asp?utm_source=NM+Letter+to+USFS+Individual+Invite&utm_campaign=Eastern+Cougar+Letter+Invite+07%2F26%2F2016&utm_medium=email

No matter where you live, America’s lion needs your voice.

Anyone, anywhere in the world can sign.

Montana Furbearer Comments tallied

http://us8.campaign-archive1.com/?u=f22932e4382726211444c9d0c&id=b27e45702d&e=34cb4196ed

…In response, FWP moves to establish 4 trapping units with a quota of five and a female subquota of one in the Bitterroot Unit, one in the Cabinet, and zero in the Yaak and Continental Divide Units.

Bobcat quota increasing 180 to 200 for Region 2 (Western Montana) was nearly equally supported and opposed. Although fur prices have plummeted, bobcat remains one of the most lucrative species to trap and kill. We are NOT being overrun with bobcat. The whitetail deer population is not taking a hit from predation on fawns by bobcats. This is about selfish greed!

This is about whether Commissioners will address the fact Regions 1, 2, 3 alone killed 187 OVER quota for bobcat from a min 8330 killed in Montana in just the last 5 years!

FWP responded to all of our attacks on this mockery of “quotas” with, “It was clear that many do not understand that quotas are set as a general and conservative target rather than a precise number that will result in population decline if exceeded. It was also clear that many do not understand that closing the season and hitting the target quota exactly is virtually impossible. Trapping closures happen on a 48-hour notice and FWP tries to be conservative and often initiates closures before the actual quota number is reached.”

FWP annually attends Montana Trappers Association meeting in the spring. “If you all based wildlife management off of science instead of whining emotion and came to an actual meeting you would know that a bobcat quota is set with an expected overage”. Jason Maxwell, Montana Trappers Association vice president

Trappers take full advantage of this flawed and failed system designed to favor them not the wildlife by knowing they can trap over quota and keep the fur just as long as the liberal closing has not occurred.
What would happen if a hunter had the same mindset?

“Additional comments not specific to the proposals included several suggestions to manage beaver with quotas, and several suggestions that decisions be based on data instead of emotion”.  Montana FWP

The proposals for Grizzly bear and for changing quotas for wolves outside of Yellowstone will also be decided at the hearing. Recent changes re these wolf quotas………. your voice is needed!  bit.ly/29CBP9g

FWP made no mention of all our comments insisting on 24 hour trap checks. This is not going away, friends!

Despite all the comments opposing increasing quotas, “FWP moves to approve” the proposals. Now it will be up to the FWP Commissioners on Wed, July 13th! 

For meeting agenda:
http://fwp.mt.gov/doingBusiness/insideFwp/commission/meetings/agenda.html?meetingId=38170999

To attend: Montana WILD – 2668 Broadwater Avenue – Helena, MT or one of the district FWP offices.
To listen in to the audio recording on Wed go to: http://fwp.mt.gov/doingBusiness/insideFwp/commission/audio.html

Thank you to all that submitted comments, spoke up, and those that WILL look these commissioners in the eyes in Helena during their voting on these proposals and their future crucial decisions effecting our wildlife! Lets hope they make us proud!

We would love to hear if you are planning to attend!

Thank you Friends of Trap Free Montana Public Lands

The Montana Trap-Free Public Lands Initiative, I-177, has qualified for the November 8, 2016 ballot!!

PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE….June 30, 2016

CONTACT

TIM PROVOW,tprovow@gmail.com;406-360-6332

CONNIE POTEN,406-274-4791,rattlefarm@gmail.com

 The Montana Trap-Free Public Lands Initiative, I-177, has qualified for the November 8, 2016 ballot.  Montana Trap-Free Public Lands is a ballot initiative committee based in Missoula and supported by volunteer coordinators statewide. Volunteer and hired signature gatherers gathered more than 24,175 qualified signatures required for the ballot.

Members of Footloose Montana, a non-profit corporation supporting trap-free public lands, formed the ballot initiative committee.

Montana Trap-Free Public Lands missed qualifying a similar initiative in 2010 by about 1,500 signatures.   I-177 will end commercial and recreational trapping on public lands.  People, pets and wildlife will be free of indiscriminate, hidden and baited traps.

Trapping to protect livestock and property, for health and safety will continue if non-lethal methods have tried and failed.   Trapping for wildlife management such as reintroduction and medical needs are allowed in I-177.

The Attorney General’s summary of I-177:

I-177 generally prohibits the use of traps and snares for animals on any public lands within Montana and establishes misdemeanor criminal penalties for violations of the trapping prohibitions.  I-177 allows the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks to use certain traps on public land when necessary if nonlethal methods have been tried and found ineffective. I-177 allows trapping by public employees and their agents to protect public health and safety, protect livestock and property, or conduct specified scientific and wildlife management activities. I-177, if passed by the electorate, will become effective immediately.

Animal rights activists file suit against State Game Commission over cougar traps

http://www.taosnews.com/news/article_23810c2e-3e0f-11e6-b957-2fef0a8f45d0.html

  • By Phaedra Haywood, The Santa Fe New Mexican
  • Updated Jun 29, 2016

The lawsuit says “deadly leg-hold traps” set for cougars could snare wolves and jaguars, both protected under the federal Endangered Species Act, as well as female cougars with kittens, which are protected under state law.

There are an estimated 97 Mexican wolves in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico, officials have said, despite a federal program to recover the species. Jaguars — the largest cat species native to the Western Hemisphere — are far more rare in the U.S., after being driven to the brink of extinction by “human-caused factors like poaching and trapping,” the lawsuit says. It also names the state Game and Fish Department as a defendant.

Humane Society attorney Nicholas Arrivo, in a phone interview Tuesday, said the trapping program presents “a pretty unjustifiable risk to nontarget animals.”

Mexican wolves, jaguars and cougars share overlapping territory in New Mexico, Arrivo said. “Traps that are set for cougars are not intelligent. They are indiscriminate machines that will snap shut on any animal unfortunate enough to cross its path,” he said. He likened traps to land mines, saying both are “brutal, unnecessary and indiscriminate as to what they take.”

The State Game Commission could not be reached for comment on the case.

Lance Cherry, a spokesman for the state Game and Fish Department, said in an emailed statement Tuesday that the suit “is only a distraction; the rule was crafted after nearly a yearlong process of public and scientific scrutiny, including consideration of potential impacts on endangered species. The Department will vigorously defend the rule, which is part of a world-class effort to manage New Mexico’s wildlife.”

The State Game Commission reviews the rules for hunting and trapping bears and cougars every four years. In 2015, the panel held five public meetings on the topic before approving changes in August that cleared the way for “sport harvest” trapping of cougars on private and state trust lands between Nov. 1 and March 31 without a special permit. The new rule also doubled the number of cougars a hunter or trapper can take in some areas, increasing the kill limit in those lands to four from two.

Representatives of the New Mexico Council of Outfitters and Guides, the New Mexico Trappers Association and the New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association spoke in favor of the proposed changes at a hearing in August.

But numerous other residents spoke in opposition, including Animal Protection of New Mexico’s wildlife campaign manager, Phil Carter. He cited a 2015 poll of 1,000 New Mexico voters, saying that “across the board” those surveyed opposed the changes — and trapping in general — by a 3-to-1 margin.

“That is consistent across every congressional district in the state and every political party,” Carter said at the hearing.

Retired elementary school teacher Jean Ossorio and her husband, Peter Ossorio of Las Cruces, have signed on to the suit as plaintiffs. They’ve been Mexican wolf advocates for more than 20 years and have volunteered for many federal wolf recovery efforts, along with outreach and education activities.

According to the complaint, Jean Ossorio has attended “virtually every state and federal public meeting pertaining to Mexico wolf recovery” since 1998.

The couple could not be reached for comment.

Carter, at the August hearing, accused the State Game Commission of using outdated data to draw its conclusions about cougar populations.

“This is not about sportsmanship,” he said. “This is about killing.”

Trapping, the barbaric “sport”

Wolf Advocates Warn U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of Coming Lawsuit
When the Montana FWPs is offering five tags to every wolf hunter and Idaho Fish and Game is putting sharpshooters in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness and funding aerial gunning in the Lolo Zone, we feel renewing protection is needed
**Extra Links Included** ‪#‎SaveWolves‬
Animals (tags: endangered, Wolves, Idaho, Trappers, Bantraps, SaveWolves, wildlife, slaughter, killing, law, cruelty, animals, AnimalWelfare, abuse, habitat, environment, protection, humans, investigation, conservation, crime, death, sadness, society, suffering, wildanimals )
http://www.care2.com/news/member/123562948/3964602

Wolf advocates warn U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of coming lawsuit

Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks
Wolves from the Welcome Creek pack prowl the Sapphire Mountains south of Missoula in this Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks photo from 2011. Research over the past 10 years shows that non-lethal techniques and aggressive early response to livestock killings can effectively manage wolves.

A coalition of wolf advocates has warned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that they plan to sue if the agency doesn’t extend its supervision of wolf populations in Montana and Idaho another five years.

“When the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is offering five tags to every wolf hunter and Idaho Fish and Game is putting sharpshooters in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness and funding aerial gunning in the Lolo Zone, we feel renewing another five years of federal monitoring is warranted,” said Matthew Koehler of Missoula-based Wild West Institute, one of five groups putting FWS on notice. “Given the situation on the ground and the ways state policy is changing, we think the prudent thing to do is keep monitoring wolf populations so they’re not hunted and trapped back to the brink of extinction.

The Center for Biological Diversity, Western Watersheds Project, Friends of the Clearwater and Cascadia Wildlands joined Wild West Institute in the notice. By law, groups objecting to a federal agency must give it 60 days advance warning to offer time to craft a solution before going to court.

Gray wolves were extirpated from the continental U.S. in early 20th century. The Fish and Wildlife Service reintroduced wolves in remote areas of Idaho and Yellowstone National Park in 1994 and 1995. The wolves were protected under the federal Endangered Species Act until 2011, when Congress passed a provision removing their listed status in Idaho and Montana. However, FWS personnel were required to monitor wolf populations for five years after giving state wildlife agencies local control of the species.

Wolves remain a federally protected species in Wyoming, Washington, Oregon and the Great Lakes region. Congress is considering several provisions to change or remove those protections this year.

In early January, Idaho Department of Fish and Game workers improperly collared two wolves in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness along the Montana border while carrying out a helicopter-assisted elk-collaring project. The agency reported the incident to the U.S. Forest Service, which suspended Idaho’s permission for further helicopter work in the wilderness pending a review of the state’s practices.

Idaho has also maintained a state-sponsored wolf-removal program in addition to a public wolf hunting season.

In Montana, resident hunters may buy up to five wolf licenses a season for $19 each. The state removed its annual quotas on wolf seasons in 2012.
https://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/…/wolf-advocates-…/

56cf4cdeb817c.image
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Trapping, the barbaric “sport”
By George Wuerthner

Years ago I was backpacking in Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness with my friend, Rod, and his Malamute, Jake. Like most dogs, Jake was happily running ahead of us investigating this and that. Suddenly Jake let out a sharp cry and began yipping from someplace up ahead in the brush. We rushed to him to find with his leg snared in a giant leg-hold bear trap set by a deer carcass. This trap was the size of a car tire. We desperately tried to free him from the trap, but even with the two of us trying to open the contraption, the springs were just too stiff and we couldn’t get Jake’s leg out. So Rod and I took turns carrying 100 pound Jake on our shoulders, along with the heavy trap plus our backpacks, to our car so we could rush him to a vet.

The vet had to get a special trap opener to compress the springs so we could open the jaws enough to remove Jake’s leg. Jake was lucky. Because the trap’s teeth were so large, Jake’s leg was caught wedged between the teeth instead of having it go through his leg. He fully recovered from the experience. But most pets and nearly all wildlife are not so lucky.

There was no sign indicating the presence of the trap, nor any other effort to warn people of the lurking danger. Had either one of us stepped into the track, we might have suffered serious damage. Unfortunately the trapping of wild animals is a legal activity in all of the United States. In fact, I am not aware of a single state “wildlife” agency that doesn’t promote trapping, instead of questioning its legitimacy. It’s amazing to me that in this day and age we still allow this barbaric activity to be justified in the name of “sport”. Leg-hold traps and snares are particularly treacherous devices. Animals caught in such traps suffer pain, exposure to weather, dehydration and often a long painful death. Snares are even more gruesome with animals slowly strangling to death as the wire noose tightens. How is it that cock and dogfights are now illegal and yet we permit state wildlife agencies to sanction an equally cruel activity?

The statistics are astounding. More than 4 million animals are trapped for “fun” each year, many enduring immense suffering in the process. Millions more are trapped as “nuisances” or die as “non-target” animals. For example more than 700 black bear are snagged each year in Oregon as “nuisance” animals by timber companies (because in the spring bears eat the inner cambium layer of trees).

Only a few states have banned the use of leg-hold traps for sport trapping and then usually only through citizen initiative process. Yet 90 countries around the world have banned these traps and the entire European Union has banned these contraptions. Most trapping targets “fur bearer” animals like lynx, musk rat, beaver, marten, fisher, river otter, weasel, mink, bobcat, red fox, coyote, and bears, and in some states like Idaho and Alaska, trappers also take wolves. Most of these animals are important predators in their own right, and help to promote healthier ecosystems in many, many ways from the way that wolves reduce the negative impact of large herbivores like elk to reduction of rodent populations by coyotes. Thus indiscriminate trapping disrupts natural ecological processes, often in ways we don’t appreciate.

And while most trappers might scoff at the idea, their “enjoyment” of trapping comes at the expense of the pleasure of other wildlife lovers who might rather see a red fox scampering across a field, a river otter swimming in a stream or hear a coyote howling in the night than see it’s skinned and fur used for frivolous purposes like clothing—we have other alternatives to fur.

The major arguments used by trappers to defend the legitimacy of their “sport” can largely be refuted. One argument is that trapping promotes family time, learning about nature and gets people outdoors. However, there are many other ways to spend time together as a family, learn about nature or to get outdoors that does not involve traumatizing animals.

Another argument is that if we don’t kill the animals, they will overpopulate and die of starvation and/or disease. If you believe this line of self-justification, trappers are really acting out of a sense of mission, responsibility and kindness by killing animals to save them from a greater misery. Beyond the obvious rationalization of such assertions, a problem with this logic that not all animals, or animals in all places are in jeopardy of overpopulation. And trapping doesn’t necessarily remove the animals that are most likely to die from these natural events.

A third justification often heard in trapping circles and from state wildlife agencies, is trapping helps to remove “problem” animals—beaver that clog up culverts or coyotes preying on livestock. There are numerous issues with this line of reasoning. The first is that trapping, as practiced by most “sport” trappers, is indiscriminate. They are not taking the specific animals that may be “problematic”. Most trapping is random, killing any animal unfortunate enough to wander into a trap.

Beyond that, because agencies like to promote trapping (some like Wildlife Services entire existence is dependent upon having “problem” animals to kill) there is little incentive to educate or even regulate the public so that conflicts are not created in the first place. In many cases, the “problem” is “problem humans”. So livestock producers who fail to adequately monitor their animals and utilize guard animals along with lambing/calving sheds, have more issues with coyotes. Honey producers who do not use electric fences around their beehives have issues with bears. And so on.

Not every instance can be alleviated by some creative action by humans, but in most case we don’t even try because neither the government wildlife agencies nor the trappers want solutions other than trapping and the broader excuse for trapping that they believe these so called “problems” justify. In those instances, where changing human behavior fails to reduce conflicts, we may have no choice but to rely upon the surgical removal of “specific” animals, not the wholesale killing of any animal that happens to have a fur coat. And such removal should be done in the most humane way possible.

http://www.friendsoftheclearwater.org/trapping-the-barbari…/
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Idaho must alter lynx trapping, court says

TUESDAY, JAN. 12, 2016, 1:10 P.M.

By Rich Landers

http://www.spokesman.com/blogs/outdoors/2016/jan/12/idaho-must-alter-lynx-trapping-court-says/

Canada lynx. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Canada lynx. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

WILDLIFE — In a lawsuit filed by animal protection groups, a federal judge has ruled that Idaho’s regulations for trapping furbearers in North Idaho violate the Endangered Species Act by allowing the inadvertent capture of federally protected Canada lynx.

Here are details from the Associated Press:

The 26-page decision made public Monday in U.S. District Court requires Idaho to propose a plan within 90 days that protects lynx in the Panhandle and Clearwater regions.

“We hope Idaho will now recognize that these rare and beautiful animals need more protection than the state has been willing to grant them,” Andrea Santarsiere, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement.

The Center, the Western Watersheds Project, Friends of the Clearwater and WildEarth Guardians filed the lawsuit in June 2014 asking that lethal body-crushing traps and snares be made illegal. The groups also want to limit the size of foothold traps in lynx habitat and require daily checks of traps.

Named in the lawsuit are Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, Idaho Department of Fish and Game Director Virgil Moore, and members of the Idaho Fish and Game Commission.

Fish and Game spokesman Mike Keckler said Monday the agency is reviewing the decision and couldn’t comment.

The Idaho Trappers Association intervened on behalf of the state.

“I believe the judge made a mistake,” said the group’s president, Patrick Carney. He said if all the limits the conservations groups want on trapping are put in place, it would greatly limit trapping in the regions.

“If they implement all that, wolf trapping is over, and so is all of the other trapping,” he said.

Besides wolves, other animals legal to trap in Idaho include coyotes, bobcats, otters, beavers, foxes, marten and mink.

The conservation groups in the lawsuit said trapping in Idaho has increased from about 650 licenses issued in the 2001-2002 season to more than 2,300 in recent years. Officials say that at least four lynx have been trapped in Idaho since 2012. One was killed after a trapper mistook it for a bobcat.

Judge B. Lynn Winmill in his ruling found that trappers likely would capture additional lynx in the Panhandle and Clearwater regions through inadvertent trapping.

The conservation groups sought to limit trapping based on potential lynx encounters in other parts of the state as well. But Winmill rejected that argument, noting that the record didn’t support inadvertent trapping of lynx in those areas.

Canada lynx weigh about 20 pounds and have large paws that give them an advantage in both pursuing prey and eluding predators when traveling across snow. They feed primarily on snowshoe hares and are believed to number in the hundreds in the continental U.S. It’s unclear how many are in Idaho.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed lynx in the continental U.S. as threatened with extinction in 2000.