June 6, 2020

Maine's Lawsuit To Ban Trapping

As many of you already know, Maine is being sued by the Animal Protection Institute out of California in order to ban trapping in Maine. The reason? Over the course of the last 5 years, a handful of known cases of inadvertent trapping of Canada lynx and bald eagles has occurred. These two animals are listed as endangered or threatened and are protected as such by federal law.

Of late, reports of 4 lynx and 2 eagles have been reported trapped. Of these 6 incidents, the 4 lynx and 1 eagle were released back to the wild with little or no damage done. The second eagle had to be killed because it was not going to heal. I do not know the extent of the bird’s injuries.

The Bangor Daily News is running a story and poll. The story is written by Kevin Miller who says that the animal rights people now are claiming more than ever that trapping needs to be stopped and this year’s reported incidents will fuel the lawsuit against the state.

Wildlife activists say recent reports of bald eagles and Canada lynx being caught in hunters’ traps provide additional ammunition to a lawsuit that aims to ban trapping in parts of Maine inhabited by the federally protected species.

I would like to point out one thing in Miller’s opening paragraph that whether intentional or not, brings hunting into the light of this negative report toward trapping. Miller refers to the traps as “hunters’ traps”. Why would he do that? In all my years as a Maine resident and growing up around hunting and trapping, I have never heard anyone refer to a trap used by trappers to trap fur animals as a “hunters’ trap”.

The difficulty in properly relating a story of this kind to the public comes mainly in two ways. First off, the public knows absolutely nothing about trapping. They don’t know how it is done, why it is done and have no true statistics relating the number of trappers and traps to any “inadvertent” trapping. They also are not informed as to how trapping affects the overall health of wildlife in general.

The second issue is the one we are looking at now. Media runs with a story, in which more times than not, the writer is just as uneducated about the topic as the reader. In the case of the Bangor Daily News story, the editors opted to run a poll along with the story about banning trapping. If a visitor to the paper sees the poll, more than likely they will do one of three things. They will either ignore it, vote immediately or read the attached article and then vote based on what they just read.

Yes, the paper correctly attaches a disclaimer to the poll – as if anyone reads it – that states that the poll in not scientific. It really doesn’t matter if it’s scientific or not, it serves the purpose of further inflaming the subject matter and adding a better slant to the story.

If the lawsuit accomplishes anything it should at least force the Maine Fish and Wildlife, in conjunction with the Maine Trappers Association to take a look and see if there are better ways of avoiding inadvertent trapping of all animals a trapper does not intend to trap. This would only be prudent. To ban trapping for the sake of a handful of instances would be just as irresponsible as not working harder to protect the other species.

If we were to use the same line of thinking as those who intend to banish trapping, then it would only be logical to not stop with trapping. The fish and game reported that two lynx were hit and killed by cars this year. The four that were inadvertently trapped were released unharmed. The two dead lynx, well, ended up dead. So, should we ban cars? Surely cars are obviously more lethal to endangered species than Maine’s 2,500 licensed trappers.

What further makes the Bangor Daily News story one that should have waited was not hearing from the trappers. Miller states that “A representative from the Maine Trappers Association could not be reached for comment Monday.” Maybe the story could have waited another day or two until he did talk with someone. In fairness, a representative of the suing party, the Animal Protection Institute, also was not available for comment, all the more reason not to run with the story.

It is unfortunate for all parties that this story and poll were published now. Having comment and facts from all parties would have been helpful and running a biased, unscientific poll, a tool used only to embellish a story, is also done in poor judgment.

Trapping is an essential part of the lifestyle and economy of Maine, as is hunting, fishing and all outdoor activities. Elitists use comments like; “People don’t need to trap to make a living” and “Trapping is inhumane and serves no purpose”. Little do they know that the vast number of trappers in Maine who participate, do so because they need the income. They haven’t a clue to the amount of hard work and the endless hours that have to be put into trapping. It’s what they know, therefore they use it to supplement their income. Those who think accordingly don’t know and never will. They have no true knowledge or understanding of facts and Maine life. They can only see things from their own perspectives.

Maine works extremely hard to protect its wildlife resources. This includes lynx and bald eagles. To think otherwise only shows that you are not informed. Man and wildlife have to live together. Because of that, man, in most cases the more intelligent, uses all scientific resources to ensure a balance between the livelihood of man and the health and future of our animals.

Banning trapping isn’t the answer. Using available resources to reasonably improve trapping is.

It amazes me how hypocrisy rears up when activities like trapping, hunting and fishing, don’t fit one’s lifestyle.

Tom Remington

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Fur Prices On The Rise Making Trappers More Plentiful

The interest in trapping has waned over the past several years mainly because the selling price of fur for the trappers was so low it was costing the trapper more money than he was taking in. Thanks to a global market for furs, mainly from Russia and China, the price trappers are fetching these days is enough to prompt a few “old timers” to buy a license, dust off the traps and head back on out to the favorite trap lines they used to run.

Jack Duggins, a registered Maine guide, has trapped for years. This year he’s been out beating the bushes hoping to have success but more importantly wanting the prices he can get for his furs to be worth the effort. He recently attended a fur auction in Dixmont, Maine.

Jack is a valued and active member of Maine Hunting Today and regularly keeps hunters and trappers up-to-date at the Maine Hunting Forums. When he returned from the fur auction, he filed this report at the forums.

Well, prices were as good as I’ve seen in a while! The auction started at around 8:30 with three wardens showing up to tag fur.
The lowest rat price was $7.32 each for 176 of them and was refused. (unsold)
Highest rmuskrat price I saw was just over $10 each but was a nicely put-up small batch of around 40.
Most muskrats averaged $7.52-$8.25 each.

Coon, well put-up were $14+.
Otter was $50 to $80.
Mink went for $25 average, $28 tops.
Male fisher $80 and females were $90.
Fox $25.
Coyote $20 to $30.
Bobcat were all over the place from $77 for a road kill cat to $160 for 1 huge well spotted cat.

Overall, it was a good day and what looked like strong demand for everything. Bill Spear, from Mass, bought the largest percentage but there were 8 different buyers which may account for higher prices.

This trend goes beyond just Maine. Because of the interest of citizens in both Russia and China, a resurgence in the demand for fur continues but that demand seems to be a bit fickle. According to an article in the St. Paul Pioneer Press in Minnesota, the price of otter was pretty good as the demand in China for otter was high until it was reported that the Dalai Lama doesn’t like otter fur.

In both Russia and China, citizens are finding wealth and as a way of showing off that success, furs are making a showing. If this trend continues, trappers should be able to pocket a little extra spending money in the years to come. It also appears that the U.S. market for furs is on the incline.

Despite years of protest by animal-rights activists, the U.S. fashion industry also is embracing fur, according to the California-based Fur Information Council of America. Sales of fur and fur trim grew 81 percent between 1991 and 2005, according to the council’s Web site.

I expect with the publicity that is following the upswing in the fur trade, animal rights activists will becoming more vocal, so what else is new. With a renewed interest in trapping, this will aid wildlife officials in their quest for a healthier wildlife population.

Tom Remington

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Maine Fish And Game Slapped With A Lawsuit

The Animal Protection Institute, made up of a group that finds protecting a few animals more pleasurable than the welfare of human beings, has filed a lawsuit against the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

The Animal Protection Institute (API) today filed suit against the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife (IF&W) to stop the agency from continuing to violate the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by allowing trappers to use traps that injure and sometimes kill threatened and endangered species.

In April 2006, API sent a letter of intent to sue the Maine IF&W in an effort to prompt the agency to take immediate actions to protect imperiled species from deadly body-gripping traps and snares. API and the State were unable to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution of the issue.

Through a press release of their own, the MDIFW countered the accusations of API.

“The Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife works with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to ensure that all reasonable precautions are taken to minimize the potential take of lynx and ensure that regulated trapping is no threat to lynx populations; and clearly, banning trapping in the State of Maine is not our preferred option,” said Roland D. Martin, Commissioner of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Maine has a larger lynx population than any other eastern state, and Maine’s bald eagle population is the largest in the northeast. Maine does not have a gray wolf population.

“Trapping is an important wildlife management activity that is highly regulated to ensure that wildlife populations continue to be healthy,” said Ken Elowe, Director, Bureau of Resource Management for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

“Maine is known nationwide as a leader in collaborative research and conservation of lynx. Currently, the department is in the midst of a 6-year lynx research project that has provided as much or more lynx habitat and status information as any other study in the lower 48 states,” said Martin. This lynx project is a collaboration between the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, the University of Maine, Maine Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and several commercial forest landowners.

The Department continues to work with trappers to incorporate best management practices into trapping. The department also published a pamphlet for trappers entitled “How To Avoid Incidental Take of Lynx” which was written and distributed to reduce the possibility of trapping lynx while trapping other furbearers. A few lynx are killed each year by cars, predators such as bobcats and fisher, and occasionally caught incidentally during the regulated trapping season.

The API would rather spew incorrect and misleading information as part of their public relations campaign to end all forms of hunting, fishing and trapping along with a long list of other foolish measures they believe will protect animals.

Through public records requests, API discovered that species listed under the federal ESA, including Canada lynx and Bald eagles, have been captured and sometimes seriously injured or killed in body-gripping traps and snares set for other species. In Maine, a minimum of five threatened Canada lynx were caught in traps in 2005 alone; at least two of the lynx killed were kittens.

Considering the number of traps and trappers trying to eke out a living and supplementing their incomes, it is quite clear to me they are doing a pretty good job at keeping incidental occurrences to a minimum. But API doesn’t care about the welfare of Mainers who rely on trapping to live nor do they care whether trapping is an extremely important part of wildlife management to ensure a healthy bunch of animals. No, their bent is to outlaw it all and force their off-the-wall beliefs on the rest of us. They use the notion that their interest is in protecting innocent animals and it’s not. Their interest is themselves and forcing their minority ways on everyone else through lawsuits.

If I judge were to rule in favor of API’s lawsuit, it would clear the way to begin outlawing any practice in Maine and all across America that could possibly risk injury or death to any endangered species. This would include driving of cars, trucks, busses, planes, trains, boats, as all of these do and can kill or harm these animals. The point being is that the API are a bunch of fools wasting taxpayers money in order to promote personal agendas.

I am sure that API opted to sue Maine thinking that because the state is comparatively poor, it wouldn’t have the resources to fight a suit. Camilla Fox, director of API said she was disappointed that Maine didn’t want to address her concerns.

“We are extremely disappointed that the state of Maine has chosen not to address our concerns regarding this serious issue,”

What she is really saying is that because Maine wasn’t willing to cave in because of threats from a frivolous lawsuit, prompted by a bunch with a selfish and asinine agenda, she opted to carry through with the lawsuit.

API needs to get a life.

Tom Remington

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Sinapu Will Sue To Stop Trapping Mink and Marten

Wendy Keefover-Ring, a representative of the Boulder, Colorado based animal rights group Sinapu, announced the organization’s plan to file a lawsuit to stop the trapping of marten and mink in that state.

In July, the Colorado Wildlife Commission approved a request by the Colorado Trappers Association to use box traps to catch mink and marten. Their request to trap seven other species was denied.

In 1996, Colorado passed by referendum a constitutional ban on leg-hold traps, traps that kill instantly, snares and poison. The box trap was not included in that list, so the CTA petitioned the CWC to be allowed to trap the animals using box traps.

Keefover-Ring says the action by the Commission violates the constitutional ban on trapping. The Trappers Association believes the use of box traps will stand up under the scrutiny of the court.

*Previous Posts*
Colorado Okays Trapping Mink and Pine Marten

Tom Remington

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Animal Rights Group Files Suit Against Minnesota DNR

The Animal Protection Institute has filed a lawsuit against the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources claiming that the state is violating the Endangered Species Act by allowing trapping that is killing wildlife listed on the ESA list.

According to a story filed by Bob Kelleher of Minnesota Public Radio, Camilla Fox, a spokesperson for the API, claims to have documented proof that trapping has resulted in the death of 24 bald eagles over a 15-year period of time.

Fox says her group has accumulated documentation that at least 24 bald eagles have been trapped in Minnesota over a 15-year period. At least half died. She says more recent documents show that rare Canada lynx have been caught.

“Between 2002 and 2005, at least 13 Canada lynx have been incidentally trapped in snares and traps set for other species,” says Fox. “And generally these types of traps are set for fox, coyote, bobcat, fisher, martin.”

These are all predators, she says, that are found in the same areas where Canada lynx may live and hunt.

The suit is asking that the MDNR look at ways of changing how trapping is done so as not to harm these animals. No suggestions were given as part of the suit.

Gary Meis, president of the Minnesota Trappers Association doesn’t buy into the so-called documented proof that Fox claims to have.

“I know of no cases myself,” Meis says. “I hear rumors. But I have never seen it or witnessed it myself.”

Meis wonders how serious a problem it can be if it’s that rare. And he says trapping is not the way most endangered animals die.

“I could bet my bank account against theirs, that there’s more endangered animals that are hit by cars, trains, etc., than are caught by traps,” says Meis.

And Meis wonders whether the Animal Protection Institute’s motive is to protect endangered animals.

“Well, they have an agenda, just like all organizations have an agenda,” Meis says. “It’s my personal opinion that they’d just like to put an end to trapping. Their opinion is that they have a legal opening under the Endangered Species Act to go about doing that. And we disagree wholeheartedly.”

Tom Remington

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Attention New Hampshire Trappers!

53rd ANNUAL TRAPPERS RENDEZVOUS, SEPTEMBER 16-17 HOLDERNESS, N.H.—

On September 16-17, the New Hampshire Trappers Association (NHTA) will hold their 53rd Annual Trappers Rendezvous at the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s Owl Brook Hunter Education Center in Holderness, featuring ongoing demonstrations, trapping supply vendors and activities for the kids.

Rendezvous attractions will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, September 16; and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, September 17. Interested members of the public are welcome to attend.

The N.H. Trappers Association annual fall meeting will take place on Sunday from 1 – 3 p.m.

For a complete schedule of activities, directions to Owl Brook, and more, visit the NHTA website at http://www.nhtassoc.org and click on “Rendezvous Details” or call Fish and Game’s Owl Brook Hunter Education Center at (603) 536-1290. The Fall Rendezvous promises to be educational, with demonstrations of trapping techniques happening throughout the weekend. Demonstrations will be conducted by New Hampshire Trappers Association members long experienced in trapping, and will cover topics such as skinning and pelting techniques, trapping of canine species such as coyote and fox, basic trap preparation, trapping beaver under the ice, mink trapping, nuisance animal trapping, the flat set and beaver trapping with conibears.

Trapping supply vendors will be on hand at the event to help you get outfitted for the upcoming trapping season. Fish and Game will hold a Trapper Education certification course during the weekend (this course is full; for other trapper education class opportunities, visit http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/).Activities will be happening throughout the event for children and families. Be sure to visit the old-time Trapper’s Cabin and check out the life-sized “Forever Locked” exhibit of two battling bull moose, presented by the Conservation Officers Relief Association.

Tom Remington

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What is Happening to the Trapping Industry?

Dave Anderson, Director of Education for the Society For The Protection of New Hampshire Forests, has an article this morning in the Concord Monitor about the waning trapping industry in that state and surrounding areas.

Whether you are into trapping or not, this article is loaded with information that is important to all of us who respect the outdoors and in particular, its wildlife. I recommend the read.

Tom Remington

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