Trapping Conservation and Self-Reliance News

New Hartford passed law banning hunting, trapping in public parks
Jun 8, 2023 21:38 ET

[Reprinted from original]

NEW HARTFORD — The Town of New Hartford has officially banned trapping or hunting in its public parks through a local law passed on Wednesday, June 7.

The town had passed a resolution to ban trapping and hunting in its parks on April 19, but sought to pass a law to make the ban more permanent. This took place after several skinned beaver carcasses were found by the Rayhill Trail in February.

Prior to the vote, a public hearing took place. At the hearing, Dave Liebig, executive director of the New York State Trappers Association, voiced his disapproval of the proposed ban. He said that there is a possibility that beavers had not been killed and left by the Rayhill Trail, but that an activist made up a story about the beavers and doctored photos in an attempt to get hunting and trapping banned.

Town Attorney Herbert Cully asked Liebig if he felt as if hunting and trapping should be allowed at Sherrill Brook Park, where families take their young children and pets to play and walk the trails.

Liebig said he does not know the park and was specifically speaking about the Rayhill Trail. He also said that the process of posting signs is costly.

“Trappers do a service for free during season when there are beaver problems, they help mitigate flooding problems,” Liebig said. “Now if you do this and have a problem, you have to hire somebody.”

Judy Cusworth, founder of the Woodhaven Wildlife Center, a nonprofit wildlife sanctuary in Chadwicks, said she has better things to do than orchestrate a fake beaver killing.

“You need to post it, you’re 100% right. The reason is, you need to do it for the sake of the town’s residents. I mean, this is New Hartford for God’s sake; you’re supposed to be normal human beings that want to see things go the right way,” Cusworth said.

“I want the town to post it because I deal with live animals, and I don’t want any more dead ones for me to get calls on,” she added.

Linda Clark of New Hartford voiced her support for the ban.

“I also walk my dog in the town park, in Sherrill Brook. I also have grandchildren who play at the park and walk the trails. I see no need to ever have trappers or hunters on public property,” Clark said. “That’s our town, we want our families safe. We do not want them in danger. There are plenty of places for hunters to hunt and trappers to trap.”

Sandra Raciti of New Hartford said that she is vehemently opposed to trapping in the parks.

“I appreciate your opinions. This is our area. You’re obviously not from here because you’re not familiar with the parks that were mentioned. Get yourself familiar with the parks that were mentioned. Go see them. See how they are used. They’re used by families, families with children, people with dogs, visitors to our community,” Raciti said. “What I do not want to see in our parks ever, are carcasses that have been carved up for just a gland or just a piece of fur, and the people who made that happen didn’t have the decency to use the entire animal or discard the animal. Ever.”

Don Hillman, region six director for the New York State Trappers Association, said that he does not agree with trapping in parks, but does agree with trapping on public land.

“Trapping is necessary control for wildlife management, it is the best control for wildlife management, and responsible trappers use the best management practices to do that,” Hillman said. “I don’t agree with trapping in the park, I’m honest about that. Trapping in the park isn’t right, unless it’s the Adirondack Park or the Catskills, it’s a different type of park. But a public park, I wouldn’t do that. It’s not ethical.”

Hillman also mentioned that it will be costly to post signs in the parks, or if there is an issue with a rabid animal that needs to be caught in the parks.

He said he is not aware of any trappers who are trapping in public parks in New Hartford.

Cusworth said that she has dealt with rabid animals on public land before, like the Rayhill Trail, and told the board to call her if they hear about a rabid animal.

New Hartford Town Supervisor Paul Miscione said that if the law is passed, he’d like to put together a group of volunteers to help post the signs. Cully suggested reaching out to a local Eagle Scout troop to help post signs for their project. Cusworth and another meeting attendee volunteered to supervise the posting of signs.

The board ultimately unanimously passed the law.

The next town board meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Wednesday, July 12, at 8635 Clinton St., New Hartford.