Trapper's Workshop looks to the future
[Reprinted from original]
One of the jobs that lends itself to the situation the country is now facing is the solitary occupation of trapping.
A number of individuals head out to their trapline to see if they had a successful day in bringing home a fur bearer that is sold for various products.
Recently, trappers and interested individuals were at the Scout Hall for the annual workshop. The event provides interested new trappers a chance to participate in various demonstrations and talk to veteran trappers about the industry.
Ken Cosens, President of the Cochrane Area Fur Council admits that in recent years the demand for fur has wained, however, it remains an important part of the eco-system particularly in the North.
“It is a proven fact that it is good for the world. Introduce the beaver to an area, then vegetation comes back, other animals come back. It just flourishes from there. However, you have to manage the population through a trapline,” he said.
The local council was formed in 1984 and helps members stay up to date with new and changing trapping laws, new products and other tools of the trade. It covers trappers in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry catch basin of Monteith to Smooth Rock Falls. The council is also part of the Ontario Fur Managers Federation who promote the general welfare of the trappers of Ontario and the humane harvesting of fur bearers.
In order to qualify for a trapline, participants are required to take a course which locally can be through Cosens.
Trappers are under a quota system by the MNRF to trap a specific number of animals in a certain area.
Management of area wildlife is very important and it is often the lone trapper who can provide valuable statistics on how healthy an environment is. Their work can help reduce the risks of disease and overpopulation of specific species.
One particular animal that can cause havoc in an area is the beaver. If left alone, they will quickly multiply creating numerous houses and dams and ultimately cause flooding.
Wayne Vallier, a member of the local fur council noted that beaver overpopulation can cause a lot of flooding issues with the highways and roads in the area.
Land trapping of animals in not open year-round but only during specific months of the year. However, some trappers have contracts with the MNRF to work with nuisances beavers throughout the area.
Trapping is not just a man’s domain either, more and more women are taking to occupation. Johanne Martel has been actively trapping for a handful of years while Rita Dussault has helped her husband on a trapline for decades. Both ladies reside outside of this community. There is also a lot of young people pursuing the occupation as well.
Martel said that when she was younger she enjoyed being in the bush. When she retired she chose to trap on a more full time basis.