[Reprinted from original]
VERGENNES – The Vermont Trappers’ Association brought its finest furs to the county fair this week. Though some were for sale, the main goal was education, according to Pete Lossmann, secretary of the association.
“We have so many people who are removed from nature, basically, and they come through here and they have no idea what this stuff is. Or they come through and they say, ‘oh, I saw something run across the road,’ and by process of elimination we can show them what it probably was,” he said.
The table displayed a wide-range of fur-bearers, all of which were native to Vermont. The eyes of such animals poked out on the ends, seemingly making eye contact with everyone who walked by.
Lossman, who resides in Bristol, has been a member of the association for 35 years. The group describes itself as a “sports group,” and is one of the strongest in the state when it comes to numbers, with more than 600 members.
Of course, not everyone is a fan of trapping. But Lossmann is adamant about its benefits.
“The benefits of trapping are kind of far-reaching. There’s population control, there’s damage control,” he said.
The association’s website also publishes information about the perceived benefits of trapping.
“Traps are simply needed in North America to protect, maintain and restore appropriate balances between the needs of wildlife and man,” reads their website.
There is also helpful regulation, such as the licensing of trappers, establishing harvest seasons and rules on the use of trap varieties and trapping methods. This regulated trapping helps create a balanced and healthy environment, advocates said. Without it, threatened and endangered species protected from excessive predation by trapping programs would become extinct, all according to the website.
Then, of course, there is the edible component.
“If you like roast beef, you’re gonna love beaver,” he promised.
People can also eat raccoons, and bobcats have an “amazing, sweet flavor,” according to Lossman.
Thus, nothing is wasted in the production of a wild fur garment, whereas synthetic materials exhaust non-renewable resources, according to the association’s website.
The fur market at the moment is a bit depressed, Lossmann said, but in general, people can sell furs – which, of course, is how trapping first started with beavers, many moons ago.
Whether you need a new fur coat for Vermont’s cold winter or a food idea, the Vermont Trappers’ Association’s table is a potential stop at the fair.