Mostly Trapping

Trapping will continue, regardless of the motives
Nov 11, 2019 07:39 ET

(Reprinted from above link)

Within days of California’s governor signing legislation to ban all forms of recreational trapping, there was a call for the state to spend $10 million to eradicate nutria, an exotic furbearer that is destroying prime marsh habitats there.

Thus, trapping will continue, but at the public’s expense instead of by willing sportsmen doing it for free.

It’s a pattern that has been repeated whenever short-sighted politicians ban trapping against the better judgement of a state’s wildlife agency.

Without trapping, unchecked numbers of beaver, raccoon, coyote and other animals have increased to nuisance or even dangerous levels in locations nationwide.

Beavers were live-trapped and moved from the tidal basin at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington after they began cutting down the cherry trees there. Elsewhere, they topple valuable timber stands and orchards and frequently flood roads and crops with their dams.

Locally, beavers and muskrats thrive within the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge and Crane Creek Wildlife areas. Without annual trapping performed by local trappers who pay for the privilege to do so, their burrowing would breach the dikes that separate the sometimes-raging Lake Erie from the tranquil marsh habitat needed for the unique wildlife contained within.

Although there have only been a couple of instances of coyotes killing humans, they commonly kill and eat house cats and fatally attack dogs in their yards or on leashes while being walked by their owners in suburban towns throughout the country, sometimes boldly in broad daylight.

To engage more youths in outdoor activities and help increase populations of ground-nesting pheasants, grouse and waterfowl that attract non-resident hunters, South Dakota’s governor spent $500,000 on $10 bounties for each red fox, striped skunk, badger, raccoon or opossum caught by trapping from April 1 through mid-August.

Delta Waterfowl has documented increased duckling survival rates when trappers reduced these same predators near waterfowl nests. When coyotes were reduced by trapping in the southeastern U.S., fawn deer survival rates increased.

With most fur prices about as low as they have ever been after being adjusted for inflation, the main participants this season will be trappers who primarily do it for the love and challenge of the sport.

But because coyote fur is being used to trim a popular line of parkas made by the Canada Goose Co., they are the exception to the low prices being paid for other furbearers. Highs of $62 were paid at the Ohio State Trappers Association fur sale last January and prized western pelts bring more than $100 each.

Muskrats, a staple of the local catch, will likely range from $3 to $4. Interest in raccoons is increasing as the better, previously harvested pelts have been slowly used by furriers. The best colored (dark), extra-large pelts may fetch $10 to $15, with early, smaller and light-colored pelts still worth much less.

Mink, an animal with surprisingly high populations locally, is expected to remain in the $5 to $6 range (female) and $10 to $12 range for males due to a market saturated with millions of pen-raised animals from fur ranches.

Opossum are barely selling, even at very low prices, but skunk pelts with wide, white stripes and their paws attached could reach $10.

Beaver pelt prices of $10 to $15 are dismal compared to the $50 to $70 per pound being offered for their dried castor oil glands, still used in the manufacture of scents and perfumes.

The Ohio trapping season opens statewide on November 10 for all legal furbearers except beaver and otter (they open December 26), with varying ending dates. See: for details.

Some people think that they are against trapping until a coyote attacks a pet, a sick fox wanders through their yard full of children, raccoons take up residence in an attic, skunks burrow under the porch or mice infiltrate their kitchen.

Surplus animals must die to maintain the overall health of wildlife communities and avoid conflicts with people. Wherever sport trapping is banned, nuisance trapping thrives to control problem animals. To help support wildlife conservation, buy (renewable) real fur — not (plastic) faux garments!