VANCE: Trappers – one with nature

Today’s column is hopefully to educate and dispel any misconceptions people may have about trappers.

Trapping, especially here in Ontario is done humanely, by law,and is a highly regulated profession.

Trappers are wildlife technicians and understand the balance of nature, and are truly one with nature as they ply their occupation within that balance. They fully understand and appreciate that they too benefit when they keep the predator and prey animals in balance on their trap lines, so they can eke out their living year after year. These often solitary people enjoy their jobs and regard trapping as a way of life as opposed to a job, and as such, usually work long hard hours to do so.

Indeed, the price of raw fur they produce often doesn’t give them or even come close to the minimum wage here in Ontario, so trappers do not make big money by any standard. Trappers are trappers by choice, and usually love the solitary lifestyle the profession affords, and have taken an extensive trapper and conservation course to obtain their first trapper’s license.

But they aren’t alone – ask any trapper and he or she fully appreciates and loves the very creatures they seek to be with whilst out on their trap lines.

When animals get overpopulated, they can and do starve to death, and this is usually a slow, painful death. Sometimes, overpopulated animals will succumb to disease such as tularaemia, rabies, mange, distemper and other terminal diseases or parasites which almost wipe out that population, resulting in extremely slow painful inhumane and agonizing deaths. They see and understand these issues which flies under the radar of most people, and do their best to manage the wildlife on their trap lines for the benefit of all those creatures to which they owe their meagre livelihoods and lifestyles.

Modern trapping techniques and traps let them manage the fur-bearers within their trap lines very humanely. Trappers must adhere to using only certified and fully tested traps so they capture the animals efficiently, and by set rigorous enforced standards, the trap must kill them quickly once captured.

No animal that is trapped by licensed trappers are on any endangered list, and trappers cannot harvest any endangered or threatened animal species. In fact, there are more of the fur-bearing animals today than ever before due to the strict wildlife management of and by trappers.

Trappers fully understand that to over-harvest this resource would also mean they will also lose in the long run due to subsequent low yield of that renewable natural resource on their trap line, so they truly have a vested interest in making sure the animal populations are kept healthy and in proper balance. Trappers operate within a sustainable yield protocol, thus are fully environmentally correct, too!

Most trapping is done in the late fall and winter, once the fur-bearers have their pelage prime and at its peak, which means that cold and bad weather can hamper and make their trapping difficult at times. Cold fingers and toes are no stranger to a trapper.

As a professional environmental person with education in this regard, I unapologetically applaud the hardy trappers and have full appreciation what they do for all of us, including all the creatures within their jurisdiction on their trap lines throughout Ontario and Canada. Without their activity, our wild heritage and its wild denizens would suffer greatly.

Trappers don’t want much from society, but they do need our support by being aware and educated as to what they do, and they need us to purchase wild fur products which are resilient, beautiful and keep the wild fur market healthy and vibrant, much to the chagrin of the animal rights extremists. Fur is one of the most environmentally correct sources of personal warmth there is.

Often animal rights extremists are predators themselves in that they provide uneducated and uninformed people with misinformation. They pick their victims’ wallets using self-serving and, in my opinion, wrongful thinking which could lead to slow, lingering deaths of many unseen creatures they purport to protect.

I think it’s also important for me to tell you that I’m not a trapper myself, nor do I have any vested interests in trapping or the fur industry, nor will I be in any way paid by the trapping industry for my words here. The only benefit that I will derive is my hope to start to educate people about the good works and accomplishments of trappers. We all know trappers, trapping and the fur industry have been much maligned over the years by extremists that do have a vested interest in what they do from misleading people with wrongful information.

Need more info or discussion than found here? Do email me, I love to chat with like-minded outdoorsy Northerners.

John Vance’s column runs every other week. Contact him at outdoors@execulink.com.

Re: ‘Trappers — one with nature,’ Nov. 4.

I was amazed and impressed with John Vance’s positive comments and views regarding trappers (fur harvesters) in Ontario.

Mr. Vance states he is not a trapper and does not live on the avails of trapping. This makes his article so much more credible, factual, informative and non-biased.

His comments about trappers shows how well he knows about conservation, balancing the prey-predator animal world and proper harvesting techniques. (Avoiding cruelty in types of traps and techniques of setting traps.)

As a trapper, trapper instructor and outdoor education instructor at the high school in Wawa for 23 years, I highly recommend Mr. Vance as your outdoor writer.

John forgot to mention that the province of Ontario is divided in registered trap lines with set quotas and no other trapper is allowed on those grounds. This stops over-trapping and controls the fur-bearing population. The US and a number of provinces do not have registered traplines and, therefore, no control on harvesting.

Kudos to John Vance’s professional knowledge of the great outdoors.

Michael Boudreau

Sault Ste. Marie

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{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Todd moggy November 17, 2017, 8:22 pm

    Very good artical. I agree if we did not have trappers. There would be more decieices and death of mammals. It also controls the mammals and birds we hunt because they are killed by some of the animals that trappers take

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