Home Vermont Power struggle over trapping, coyote hunting peaks in Senate this week

Power struggle over trapping, coyote hunting peaks in Senate this week


Vermont Trappers Association video

by Guy Page

The Senate Natural Resources Committee will take testimony and likely vote this week on S.258, a bill that would seize rule-making power from the pro-hunting/fishing/trapping Vermont Fish & Wildlife Board and give it to the Department of Fish & Wildlife.

Under S.258, sponsored by Sen. Chris Bray (D-Addison) and chair of the committee, Fish & Wildlife would have an advisory role only – and thus would be unable to repeat its staunch, effective, opposition in December to the Legislature’s recent attempt to restrict coyote hunting and trapping. The bill also would expand the policy-making role of ‘non-consumptive’ users of the outdoors. It also would prohibit hunting coyote with bait and dogs.

S.258 would “transfer the authority to adopt rules for the taking of fish, wildlife, and fur-bearing animals from the Fish and Wildlife Board to the Department of Fish and Wildlife. The bill would also amend the authority of the Fish and Wildlife Board so that it serves in an advisory capacity to the Department of Fish and Wildlife. (Also, the bill would prohibit the hunting of coyote with dogs, a provision supported by the San Francisco Bay Area Project Coyote.)

The bill is cosponsored by Sens. Ruth Hardy (D-Addison) and Windsor County Sens. Richard McCormack and Rebecca White. Both Addison and Windsor County are extremely ‘blue’ counties whose voters include many college students and employees – Dartmouth College (located across the river from Windsor County) and Middlebury College.

Testimony will occur Tuesday morning and Wednesday, with a committee vote likely Thursday or Friday. Wildlife biologist Will Staats and other trapping advocates are urging supporters of hunting/fishing/trapping to appear in person at the scheduled hearings. See the Senate Natural Resources Committee schedule here.

At least three other bills in the Legislature would create laws designed to restrict trapping:

S.111Ban on all but ‘nuisance’ trapping. Sponsored by Sen. Brian Campion (D-Bennington) and others, this bill would prohibit the trapping of fur-bearing animals unless the person trapping is authorized to trap in order to defend property or agricultural crops or the trapping is conducted by a licensed nuisance wildlife control operator. The bill would establish a nuisance wildlife trapping license.H.191A House ‘companion’ bill to S.111, similar in language. Sponsored by Rep. Larry Satkowitz (D-Randolph). H.485Prohibit the use of leghold traps, sponsored by Satkowitz and Rep. Michelle Bos-Lun (D-Westminster).

Meanwhile, the Vermont Trapping Association has released a Vermont-based, professionally produced video entitled “Trappers: Stewards of the Wild.” It makes its case for the human and environmental benefits of trapping.

“The injustices created by misinformation from those with an anti-trapping agenda are well documented. This film is a fresh opportunity for the public to learn how Trappers serve science and the communities they live in, mitigate disease and human-wildlife conflicts and maintain healthy furbearer populations,” a Vermont Trappers Association statement accompanying the video said.

“This valuable documentary comes at a critical point in the history of Vermont’s outdoor community. People often misunderstand trapping, and improving public awareness has never been more important. By informing fellow citizens of the leading role trappers play in everything from assisting our neighbors to informing our state’s biologists, we hope to help you see the value this small but important set of Vermonters play in the mosaic of our shared landscape,” the VTA said.

This video was forwarded to VDC by Sen. Terry Williams (R-Rutland).

“Trapping is one of our constitutionally guaranteed traditions, freedoms and rights here in Vermont. You may be surprised at some of the people interviewed in this film,” Williams said. “Hunting, trapping and the shooting sports are under attack (legally, with your tax dollars) every day in Vermont.”

Williams said trapping is a form of hunting, although the opponents have tried to say that it is not. It is safeguarded, time-honored tradition because of the Vermont Constitution’s guarantee:

“The inhabitants of this State shall have liberty in seasonable times, to hunt and fowl on the lands they hold, and on other lands not inclosed, and in like manner to fish in all boatable and other waters (not private property) under proper regulations, to be made and provided by the General Assembly.”

“I like our Vermont constitution just as it is written and do not support the attempts to open it up for change as our opponents are attempting to do. There are currently four proposals for change of our Vermont constitution in legislation right now,” Williams said.

The VTA has provided time-stamps for each chapter of the video.

00:00 – Intro – Trappers: Stewards of the Wild

01:07 – Chapter 1- Family

03:41 – Chapter 2 – Sustainability

07:00 – Chapter 3 – Misconceptions & Harassment

11:27 – Chapter 4 – Injustice & Cultural Practices

19:35 – Chapter 5 – Science & Regulations

24:32 – Chapter 6 – Population & Disease Control

28:39 – Chapter 7 – Habitat Reduction & Wildlife Conflict

31:48 – Chapter 8 – Heritage

33:45 – Ending – How You Can Help

The post Power struggle over trapping, coyote hunting peaks in Senate this week first appeared on Vermont Daily Chronicle.

The post Power struggle over trapping, coyote hunting peaks in Senate this week appeared first on Vermont Daily Chronicle.

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