Manage them or Mother Nature will

In todayís society, being nice and pc can get ya bit in the you know what! Hereís a surprise, Iím not speaking politically but environmentally for once.

The trendy thing to do these days is buy clothes made of petroleum products and condemn the use of fur and leather as clothing. This has been going on for some time, but has a bit of validity in my mind still. The fur industry and over trapping of the past has tarnished a once pure and renewable resource. This has created an issue that many donít see coming. There are safe and environmentally friendly ways to manage fur bearers and I think itís about time we speak up about it!

It just burns by butt to hear all this ďI thinkĒ talk these days. I want to start hearing some ďI knowĒ talk, so I figured I would dish some out myself. I know there are a plethora of confused people out there these days that think trapping for clothing or other uses is much worse than producing toxic substances to clothe or comfort ourselves. I also know the majority of people that control public opinion on the topic have nothing to do with the outdoors and couldnít be further separated from it. I know our predator population has been on the rise for some time now and we are starting to see negative results in conjunction with their lack of management. I know the repercussions beyond herbivore and turkey population decimation. I know natureís way of dealing with an overabundant predator population and I also know I want nothing to do with natureís way in this case!

Trapping started to get a bad name as soon a white men stepped foot on this continent. Their rampant disrespect for land, tradition, and wildlife was made painfully evident by diminished, and sometimes trapped out, animal species. The native people of this land were better trappers, yet never damaged animal populations. This was for two reasons. Number one is they would move when resources were seen diminishing and allow the land to repair itself, before moving back into the area. A period of at least 10 years and up to 100 has been spoken of in native stories. They also had limited trade ability and almost all tribes had access to fur, so it wasnít an exotic thing to them. White people created extensive trade networks that reached across the ocean and made fur on this continent accessible to people on others. The combination of white manís trade and disrespect almost wiped out many wildlife species. No wonder trappers got a bad name.

In stepped the modern fur farm and there was no respect seen given to fur bearing animals by people who donít live the trapping life. Itís likely factory farming was a direct result of the lack in wild fur, along with increasing production as much as possible. Itís understandable that in the practice of trapping animals suffer temporarily, but factory farmed animals will suffer for life and die a painful death. Itís the law to check your traps daily as to reduce the time an animal may be held on to and trappers know how to humanely dispatch the animal as to not make it suffer. The thing is, at the same time that fur farms were being used and popularized, trapping was beginning to see regulations that were based on animal populations. This helped revive wild populations and continues to do so today. The only problem is trapping and the use of fur is becoming less common every day. This means there is little market for fur and this in return allows predator populations to grow. We are at the point where I hear trappers say there is no money in it, but itís tradition. I think this is sad! People that have beaver problems commonly get a nuisance permit to eradicate the animals from their pond or stream. In the past, a trapper would be used and in most cases the pelt could be sold or kept. Much of the time, a trapper willing to help is hard to find, so the animals are just shot and left to rot by the order of the state. Because these people have no trapping license, it is against the law for them to process the hide in any way, so it must be wasted. Now Iím burnt twice in the same column. Nothing disgusts me more than the waste of wildlife. Killing just to kill is not the way of a true hunter or trapper. What happens here is the extermination of a usable creature and in my mind there is no excuse for it. Again, these days, thatís the law, just deal with it, right? I say no! If laws are stupid, say so and do what needs be done to change them.

Hereís where things get downright dangerous. Natureís way of dealing with too many predators is rabies. Not only have the resident predator populations exploded in number, new additions such as, coyote/ brush wolves, bobcat and fisher, have added to the mix. There are more and more rabies cases being identified and attacks on humans and pets are starting to happen. The only way to stop this is to reduce the predator population, by trapping or hunting. I recommend if you hunt or trap, donít want to see game species further diminished and fear a future rabies epidemic, to get out there and do some hands on management. Please donít take this as we need to shoot or trap every predator population to the brink of extinction, rather keep their numbers at a safe and sustainable population. To be a true conservationist you must value all species equally and do what it takes to not let one be harmed by another. You must also take in mind that the altered landscape we as humans have created causes animal species to overpopulate to the point of needing management. This is no longer a pristine environment and allowing animal species to manage themselves is no longer possible across most of the country. It has become our job to manage wildlife; I just wish the rest of the world would realize this!

Good wishes and never be scared to speak the truth, even if you have to let the fur fly.

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