1,000 trappers converging on North Bay
(Reprinted from above link)
Trappers are the natural stewards of the land.
That will be the message this weekend as Fur Harvesters Auction Inc. welcomes 1,000 trappers, their families and members of the public at the annual convention in North Bay.
“Trappers are very important to the environment,” Mark Taylor, convention co-ordinator, said Wednesday as preparations were well underway to welcome visitors to the annual convention.
“Trappers are important to wildlife conservation and managing the environment” because they are on the frontline as they check their traplines through the year.
They are among the first, he says, to see issues affecting the environment because that is their office.
“If there are any indications of issues, we try to bring it forward” to the government and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.
He also says trappers have an important role in wildlife conservation measures, helping to control wildlife numbers, which helps reduce disease and predation.
“Without it, there would be an out-of-control aspect to wildlife.”
Taylor points to last winter as an example, when moose and deer populations fell because of limited trapping of wolves in the area around Algonquin Provincial Park.
“The moose and deer populations were suffering because of that wolf trapping ban,” Taylor says.
The increased population of wolves resulted in many moving toward North Bay, with increased deer kill in some areas on the edge of the city and fears for the safety of children and pets because of that incursion.
“We were seeing more sightings (of wolves in built-up areas” and more conflict with humans,” Taylor recalls.
That ban is still in effect, although the Ontario Fur Managers Federation is trying to work with the ministry to manage the wolf population again.
The annual convention, Taylor says, gives trappers an opportunity to get together, learn about the issues facing the industry and to take part in workshops and see demonstrations of techniques they may be able to use on their own traplines.
Local trappers, trapper councils, vendors and crafts people will set up booths with information and goods geared toward trappers.
Trappers will even be able to demonstrate their skills in handling skins, while top trappers will demonstrate their techniques for preparing product for market.
“It’s very educational,” Taylor says.
The educational aspects are not limited to trappers and their families.
“I think people have a greater understanding of the necessity” for trapping, Taylor says, and advances in humane trapping methods over the past few decades have ensured a safer, healthier harvest.
The convention opens Friday with a fur fashion show beginning at 8 p.m. and live auction at 9 p.m.
Saturday’s events include demonstrations and contests through the day, the CEO’s welcome at 9:30 a.m. in the auction room followed by the FHA annual general meeting.