As Americans become more removed from their surroundings, the disappearance of longstanding outdoor traditions—much like cultural traditions—is more noticeable.
Endorsing fur, whether the practice of trapping or selling pelts for money, puts a target on one’s back. Even if a person utters the slightest defense of fur or fur trapping, social media accounts soon become flooded with obscene and nasty comments.
The sale of fur has been banned in West Hollywood, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. New York City has also mulled a fur ban, as with Hawaii. Bans on the sale of fur can have serious ramifications on small businesses—particularly those run by immigrants. In NYC, the proposed fur ban has pitted animal rights activists against African American pastors and Hasidic Jewish leaders.
Legislatively, several states have banned trapping or predator hunting through bills and ballot initiatives. States like California have ban trapping and furbearer management altogether, much like New Mexico. Bills that failed in Oregon will be reintroduced next year. The state legislatures in Connecticut, Tennessee, Colorado, New Hampshire, and Nevada also flirted with bills this past session too.
Recently, Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife even proposed a ban on coyote hunting contests—which is very atypical of state wildlife agencies. Their statement reads:
“The recommendation addresses public concerns that these hunting contests are unethical, contribute to the waste of animals, and incentivize indiscriminate killing of wildlife, inconsistent with the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.”
But for hunters, ranchers, sportsmen, and land owners, there’s still great value in furbearer conservation and trapping. It’s not only a source of income; it’s an effective wildlife management tool.
Up on my podcast, District of Conservation, this week, I asked furbearer conservationist and specialist Jeff Traynor about the merits of trapping, its benefits, its misconceptions, and its future. You don’t want to miss it.