I saved this from a previous forum and Wiley gave me permission to repost .


Many times we find that as trappers ourselves we
cannot always agree on what our trapping
justification messages should be.

We do have biological facts on our side that are
extremely powerful.

First you need to seperate "motivations" from

Next you need to seperate justifying "damage
control trapping" from justifying "fur trapping".

Excercise, spending time outdoors, learning about
animals, quality time with kids, etc. are
"motivations" for trapping but that does not
necessarily "justify" trapping for everyone.

Livestock predation and beaver damage can justify
Animal Damage Control trapping but that does not
necessarily justify fur trapping.

I usually justify "fur trapping" when I talk to

Here is a short list of "fur trapping"

1. Trapping is regulated by the state wildlife
management agencies.

The various wildlife management agencies regulate
the many furbearers we trap by seasons, quotas,
areas, etc.

The various wildlife management agencies also
regulate the size of traps that can be used IN
POPULATED STATES. There is also trap check

2. Most trapped furbearers are common and abundant
throughout the US.

a) muskrats
b) raccoons
c) red fox
e) coyote
f) beaver

At times, these species are actually overpopulated.

3. In the case of MANY wildlife species, nature
produces a surplus population annually THAT

Many times it's not a question of whether they will
die but rather a question of how they will die.

The surplus populations of furbearers produced
annually WILL EVENTUALLY DIE because you cannot
stockpile wildlife beyond what the habitat can
support (the "carrying capacity" of the land).

The time it takes for these species to reach the
point of overpopulation depends on the species, the
habitat, and where they are currently within the
cycle. When pinned down with specific questions,
it's best to break this down by species and give
examples in specific areas.

For example, when water conditions are favorable,
muskrats (the most heavily trapped species) can
build up their populations above the "carrying
capacity" of the land very quickly.

Muskrats young CAN HAVE their own young by the end
of a year. Muskrats are rodents and everyone knows
how rats and mice overpopulate. Under ideal
conditions, a pair of muskrats can produce 75
offspring within a year by their young having

Muskrats, when left unmangaged, have the ability to
destroy their own environment and the environment
they share with other species particularly
waterfowl. This habitat destruction is called
muskrat "eat outs".

With raccoons - distemper (and in some cases
rabies) is the regulating mortality factor.

Distemper is a slow, cruel death and nature's
alternative to man's population management.
Distemper usually removes the surplus racccoons
that are produced annually.

The raccoon belt is full of raccoon that have died
of distemper. Backed by studies in Iowa and

Rabies of course is a disease that threatens human
health and safety. Backed by documentation during
the Mid Atlantic Raccoon Rabies Epidemic.

With fox and coyote - mange is the regulating
mortality factor. Backed by observations and
studies in North Dakota, Wyoming, Texas, and South

Mange is a caused by microscopic parasites called
mites. These mites burrow under the skin and cause
irritation which causes scratching and itching. The
scratching and itching results in open sores. The
animals loose their hair and usually die of
exposure to the cold winter temperatures. Mange,
like distemper, is also a slow cruel death.

Beaver populate to a point of doing excessive
damage to timber, flooding roads, and contaminating
sources of public drinking water.

Beaver populations take longer to build up than
some other species and usually they are creating
damage and removed before they reach that point.

In areas where they have reached the saturation
point, beavers can literally starve to death during
the cold winter months.

An interesting observation by Tom Krause was that
Yellowstone National Park, where beaver are totally
protected, has very few beaver. In areas
surrounding Yellowstone National Park where beaver
are allowed to be harvested, their populations are

An excellent observation to prove a point.

What it all boils down to is a choice.

US citizens have a choice between:

A. Letting nature run it's course and watching
furbearer populations build to the point of causing
damage, threatening human health and safety, or
harming their own populations and habitat.

Then those populations will crash from disease and
starvation to a point far below the carrying
capacity of the land that may take many years to
recover as is the case with Mange in the Dakotas.

This choice is basically letting the populations
die of disease and starvation and letting the fur
simply rot into the ground.


B. Letting man manage the populations and allowing
man to maintain more balanced and healthy
populations for the benefit of the animals
themselves, for the benefit of human enjoyment and
recreation, and for the benefit of the habitat that
these species share with other wildlife species
including threatened and endangered species. The
fur is utilized as a beautiful, warm, practical,
biodegradable garment rather than simply left
rotting into the soil.

4. Trappers care about the animals they trap and
are continually looking for ways to modify traps to
reduce damage. Modern traps have been proven to
greatly reduce damage.

5. Foothold traps have been used for the protection
of threatened and endangered species. Examples
would be for the protection of the Aleutian Canada
Goose in Alaska, and for the protection of Least
Terns in sand bar nesting grounds.

6. Foothold traps have been used for the
reintroduction of numerous species. River Otter and
Wolf reintroduction come to mind.

7. Foothold traps have been used for many bilogical
research studies on numerous furbearers.

8. Trappers are some of the greatest contributers
to protection of wildlife habitat and protection of
wildlife species.

This is extremely important to point out:

9. Because furbearers have a recreational and
economic value, this value creates the incentive
for their management. Without this economic and
recreational value, their is little if any
incentive for their protection.

And the top ten reason why we need
trapping.....drum roll.....

10. It's no different than trapping mice in your
house with a mouse trap. LOL!

When referring to the Animal Rights Activists, I
always refer to them as the Wildlife Disease and
Starvation Advocacy Groups because invariably, that
is the end result for their efforts.

The Wildlife Disease and Starvation Advocacy groups
criticize us for simply protecting wildlife habitat
so we can harvest more animals. That may be true
but without a recreational or economic value, there
is little if any incentive to protect wildlife

The Sportsmen and women (which includes trappers)
of this great nation were at the forefront of
wildlife habitat protection and stepped up to the
plate by taxing themselves through the Pittman
Robertson Act to protect wildlife habitat and
manage wildlife species.

That is the cornerstone of modern day wildlife

In contrast, Wildlife Disease and Starvation
Advocacy Groups such as PETA and HSUS (who don't
own dog shelters) haven't done squat in comparison.
Rather, these groups have found a convenient way to
prey off people's emotions for personal financial

Hope this helps!

Scott Huber - Wiley E

[This message has been edited by Wiley E (edited

Some individuals use statistics as a drunk man uses lamp-posts for support rather than for illumination.

Andrew Lang (1844-1912) Scottish poet, novelist and literary critic

Life member NTA , and GA Trappers assoc .