Pro Trapping Pro Conservation OP-ED in Newspaper
(Reprinted from above link)
My letter is in response to the Jan. 3 letter, “Trapping has no place at an animal refuge.” The Iroquois refuge was created and designed for waterfowl. The area is for the birds to rest, nest and stage before continuing the southern migration.
For many years waterfowl have been having a terrible time successfully breeding, there numbers have been declining at alarming rates. Much of this decline is caused by nest predation, by furbearers.
Furbearer numbers have skyrocketed since the decline of the fur trade. We have also seen an increase in rabies due to furbearer population increases.
Racoons, opossum, skunks, both foxes, mink, martin and coyote all eat the eggs and chicks. Then when the chicks that do survive to get in the water the pike and raptors feed on them, as well as the snapping turtles.
The trapping in the refuges is critical to reduce furbearer numbers to give breeding waterfowl a better chance of success. I watch two farm ponds near me for duck nests in the spring and have not seen a clutch of eggs make it to hatching in many years.
The smashed eggshells and yoke are what is left after a nest raider is finished. The ducks lay another clutch and the same thing happens. The ducks need help. If you want to see mink, Buckhorn, along the river, go early in the morning.
Wilson Tuscarora has both kinds of foxes, coyotes, raccoon and mink, again go early in the morning. Truly, you should be able to see the furbearers you are looking for, in excess. I also see them in several state forests I frequent, and yes the areas are trapped. There is no shortage of furbearers in Youngstown.
It would be great the next time you see a trapper if you would ask to help carry some of his or her stuff, it is truly a lot of work for very little money. Not many people do it anymore, I set my last trap 25 years ago.
Trapping is the only tool we have to keep furbearer numbers down.
The nesting birds are taking a beating every where, and not just waterfowl.