Contact: Ellary TuckerWilliams, Inter-Mountain Western States Coordinator
On June 19, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted a letter of support for two rulemaking proposals to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG), including the establishment of additional limitations on dry ground sets using body-gripping traps and an effort to simplify the rules associated with the use of bait for trapping furbearing and predatory animals.
CSF supports the Idaho trapping community’s effort to preemptively address concerns surrounding dry ground body-gripping traps and applauds its effort to work with IDFG towards viable solutions that maintain the Department’s ability to utilize the tools necessary to reach defined wildlife management objectives. By being proactive, the Idaho trapping community hopes to avoid unnecessary and emotionally driven arbitrary trap restrictions from anti-trapping organizations in the future.
Additionally, CSF supports the rulemaking proposal that certain allowances for use of bait and trap placement in wolf trapping also apply to the trapping of furbearing animals and other predatory wildlife, including placement of traps near naturally killed big game species as long as the carcass was undisturbed, and the use of legally taken road-killed animals as bait. Such allowances will help increase the probability of successful harvest and sportsmen and women’s ability to assist in effective wildlife population control and management of predatory and furbearing wildlife.
The regulations set forth by state wildlife agencies on trapping methods are among the most complex and comprehensive of any laws concerning wildlife harvest today. In 1985, the Canadian government attempted to establish a world standard for humane mammal traps through the International Organization for Standardization (IOS). Among those responsible for setting the standards was the United States Technical Advisory Group (TAG), comprised of veterinarians, professional biologists, animal welfare representatives, trappers, and the general public. Since its inception, at least nineteen countries, including the United States, agreed to the standards. During the 1990’s, two more IOS standards were developed, providing thresholds for time of death related to killing traps and minor traumas from restraining traps. By standardizing modern animal traps and improving their effectiveness, the negative public perception associated with the trapping industry has been reduced, but not eliminated.
Extensive research on restraining traps has been conducted through federal appropriations which resulted in the development of Best Management Practices (BMPs) in 1996, incorporating trapping methods for many furbearing species. All common trap designs have been field tested against BMPs for each species. During field trials, the captured animals were examined by veterinarians and some devices passed while others were eliminated. The traps that were eliminated failed to adhere to the approved humane trap standards for that specific species.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?