June 15, 2018

North Carolina: Fox Trapping Legislation Advances

By John Culclasure, Central Appalachian States Manager

On May 24, North Carolina Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Member Representative Kyle Hall introduced legislation (HB 991) that would provide continuity in fox trapping regulations in certain counties in North Carolina.

The legislation would set fox trapping season in select counties across the state to be consistent with North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) seasons and regulations. Fox trapping regulations in the state are complicated due to the General Assembly’s exclusive authority to authorize fox trapping in counties through enactment of local laws. Currently, there are 23 fox trapping seasons in 43 counties, and 27 fox hunting seasons in 85 counties.

The legislation is supported by the North Carolina Trappers Association (NCTA) as well as other conservation organizations. Advocates for the bill also cite the state’s growing coyote population as a reason to support the legislation as coyotes are often trapped incidentally by fox trappers. Trappers in North Carolina take fewer total coyotes compared to hunters, but trappers are more effective at taking coyotes according to the NCWRC’s Coyote Management Plan.

NCTA member Ches McDowell said, “The NCTA is very appreciative of the efforts of Representative Kyle Hall, Senator Tom McInnis and all the other legislators who supported this important bill that increases access to the outdoors, helps conserve our outdoor heritage, and addresses a growing problem with coyotes.”

HB 991 passed both legislative chambers but was referred to a conference committee on June 13th after the House failed to concur with a Senate committee substitute. Bill proponents are optimistic that differences will be sorted out to enable the legislation to move forward this session. 

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?

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