Commentary

Jerry D’Amico: A ban on trapping will only increase human/animal conflicts

This commentary is by Jerry D’Amico, a resident of Roxbury.

There is nothing worse than a convert: be it an alcoholic, a newfound fundamentalist Christian, or a former trapper with an ax to grind. They need to tell everyone else that they need to repent.

So it is with Ms. Peggy Larson, the former trapper who now preaches that trapping is a boogeyman. She cites several cases of “trapper” misconduct. I can’t comment on the accuracy of her stories, but can provide facts to some innuendo.  

  1. Ms. Larson tells a tale of overhearing a “trapper” saying that ‘“animals don’t feel pain.” Did she hear the entire conversation or just the snippet she wished to quote? Note that this tale has been going around for years. But it proves nothing. It may have been out of context or it may have been a misquote or maybe just an uninformed statement.
  2. She cites that only one in three trapped animals are the targeted animal. From personal experience I can attest that this ratio is nowhere near correct. Again. this tale has been used for years with no peer-reviewed studies cited.
  3. She claims most target animals are inhumanely killed. A .22 caliber rifle or pistol is a quintessential part of a trapper’s gear. Trapped animals that are harvested (some are released unharmed) are generally shot by the trapper for a quick, humane dispatch. Despite what folks like Mrs. Larson would have you believe, trappers are not evil, but are conscientious members of your community. 
  4. She cites that some trappers do not check their traps daily. Vermont law requires a daily trap check for traps set on land, but allows for a three-day check for sets in the water. Do not confuse poachers with trappers. If someone is setting traps illegally, or not properly checking them, then the trapping community wants that person reported to the proper authorities.

Ms. Larson’s unsupported claims do not justify banning trapping in Vermont. The examples she cites are extremes and not the norms used by responsible trappers.

The Vermont Trappers Association and Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife recommend the use of best management practices developed through an intense public-private research cooperative. The scientific community has worked with trappers for the last 30 years to improve trap design and ensure the welfare of the animals held in them. This research has cost over $42 million and has brought modern trapping in line with the expectations for humane harvest that the global community, hunters and nonhunters alike, endorse. 

Trapping is the most effective method of removing problem furbearing animals. Banning trapping will only increase human/animal conflicts, animal/animal conflicts, and ultimately have a net negative impact on wildlife. 


Did you know VTDigger is a nonprofit?

Our journalism is made possible by member donations from readers like you. If you value what we do, please contribute during our annual fund drive and send 10 meals to the Vermont Foodbank when you do.

Commentary

About Commentaries

VTDigger.org publishes 12 to 18 commentaries a week from a broad range of community sources. All commentaries must include the author’s first and last name, town of residence and a brief biography, including affiliations with political parties, lobbying or special interest groups. Authors are limited to one commentary published per month from February through May; the rest of the year, the limit is two per month, space permitting. The minimum length is 400 words, and the maximum is 850 words. We require commenters to cite sources for quotations and on a case-by-case basis we ask writers to back up assertions. We do not have the resources to fact check commentaries and reserve the right to reject opinions for matters of taste and inaccuracy. We do not publish commentaries that are endorsements of political candidates. Commentaries are voices from the community and do not represent VTDigger in any way. Please send your commentary to Tom Kearney, commentary@vtdigger.org.

Email: opinion@vtdigger.org

Send us your thoughts

VTDigger is now accepting letters to the editor. For information about our guidelines, and access to the letter form, please click here.

 

Recent Stories

Thanks for reporting an error with the story, "Jerry D’Amico: A ban on trapping will only increase human/animal co..."
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.