Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The cost of S.B. 994, Connecticut's proposed ban on leghold and Conibear traps

April 16, 11:16 PM
S.B. 994, An Act Concerning Leghold Traps, proposes to ban the use of leghold and Conibear traps in Connecticut. The original note on the fiscal impact of the law indicated that there would be minimal effect. The Office of Fiscal Analysis (OFA), however, has now corrected that initial assessment, based in part on an analysis of the experience of Massachusetts in struggling with its 1996 trapping ban.

The predicted cost to the state in lost revenues is estimated at $15,464 per year due to the loss of trapping licenses through the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

The estimated cost to the state in additional expenses associated with nuisance-animal management is $482,000 in fiscal years 2010 and 2011.

The estimated additional cost to Connecticut municipalities for nuisance-animal control is $92,000, as the services of volunteer trappers would no longer be available to Connecticut towns for the removal of problem beavers, and the towns would thus need to employ professional trapping companies.

The OFA cannot estimate other likely costs of the proposed trap ban: flooded basements, damaged roads, and contaminated drinking water due to flooding from beaver dams; increased damage to corn crops by raccoons; additional poultry losses to foxes and fishers; the loss of family pets to coyote predation. The list goes on and on.

Bad wildlife management is expensive. We might hope that the Humane Society of the United States, the key lobbyist for S.B. 994, will be willing to cover the costs if the law passes. But we all know that won’t happen. Connecticut taxpayers will get stuck with the bill.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Conibear traps and S.B. 994, the proposed Connecticut trap ban

News article by Jeff Serena from the Examiner.Com

S.B. 994, An Act Concerning Leghold Traps, is making its way toward consideration in the General Assembly. It originated in the Environment Committee with the effective lobbying of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) in direct response to the highly publicized, ultimately fatal trapping of a great horned owl in January 2009. The trap in that incident was a leghold trap. Although the trap was illegal (unpadded, not offset, not anchored, anonymously set), and in such poor and rusted condition that it could not be made to work when tested later, it nonetheless provided sufficient ammunition for anti-trapping activists to set in motion a bill to ban leghold traps.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the General Assembly. By legislative sleight-of-hand, the Act Concerning Leghold Traps also includes language to ban Conibear traps. Conibears aren’t leghold traps. What are they doing in S.B. 994?
The Conibear trap is a killing trap. It’s known generically as a “body-gripping trap” among trappers and wildlife biologists, as a “body-crushing trap” among animal-rights activists, and as a “smooth wire trap” in the Connecticut trapping regulations. The Conibear trap is named for its inventor,
Frank Conibear. A well-known professional trapper and wilderness guide in Canada’s Northwest Territories, Conibear retired from the field in 1944 and began working on a design for a new trap that would kill a trapped animal quickly, rather than holding it alive until the trapper arrived to dispatch it.
By the mid 1950s, Conibear had his new trap. It’s a deceptively simple device that works much like a mousetrap. Two spring-loaded metal frames form an opening into which an animal is guided or lured. As the animal puts its head into the trap, it trips a trigger that snaps the frames together on the animal’s neck or upper body, killing it. Death generally occurs instantly due to a broken neck or dislocated spine, or very rapidly due to physical trauma and drowning. The Canadian Association for the Protection of Fur Bearing Animals provided financing for Conibear’s new device, which quickly gained popularity as an efficient and humane trap. In 1961, the
American Humane Association awarded Frank Conibear its Certificate of Merit for his invention.
In Connecticut, Conibear traps can only be
legally set in the water. They are, therefore, used exclusively for trapping aquatic furbearerslarge traps for beavers and river otters, and smaller traps for muskrats and minks. Although a trap set specifically for a beaver may occasionally catch a legal otter or muskrat, Conibears set in the water are extremely selective in excluding non-target animals, such as deer, birds, bobcats, and dogs.
Because they’re fast-killing and highly selective, Conibears pose a special challenge to anti-trapping activists. It’s easier to get a trap banned if you can plausibly argue that it causes a slow, agonizing death, or that it threatens pets or children or endangered species. As used by trappers in Connecticut, the Conibear trap plainly doesn’t do any of those things. And that’s why it’s in S.B. 994. There’s currently no practical way to get the Conibear trap banned on the merits, no matter how often you misinform people about it. But with public hackles up about the unfortunate owl, and a statewide ban on legholds a real possibility, you can slip the Conibear trap into the bill and reasonably hope that no one will notice. The trick may work, but it’s not a way to responsible or effective wildlife management.

Whidbey homeowners assess Mudslide Damages caused by Beaver Dam Failure

WHIDBEY ISLAND, Wash. – South Whidbey Island residents are cleaning up and assessing damages today after mudslides swamped their waterfront homes.
See video clip of the mudslide:

Monday, April 13, 2009

Connecticut Trapping Important to Coyote Removal

Trapping appears to be more important in the harvest of coyotes following the regulation change that allowed limited land trapping.  In the 5 seasons preceding this regulation change an average of 37 percent of the coyote harvested were trapped and 54 percent shot.  In the three seasons since the regulation change an average of 59 percent of the coyote harvest was from trapping and 32 percent was from hunting.


Monday, April 06, 2009

Fonfara Withdraws His Sponsorship of S.B. 994

Fonfara took his name off the sponsors list of SB 994. His office said he changed his mind!!!!

Way to go 1st district trappers!! Keep up the good work!

A short msg. of thanks to Mr. Fonfara is in order too!