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Congratulations to the trappers of Connecticut. This legislative session saw trappers of the state facing a half-dozen bills that would prohibit the use of leghold and “bodycrushing” traps, prohibit the sale and purchase of products and parts of wildlife species, and authorize municipalities to ban and regulate hunting and trapping. The legislative session ended at midnight June 5 and trapping remains in Connecticut. It took a great deal of effort, but the battle was won this year.
On May 9 the Colorado Wildlife Commission rejected the citizens petition to stop bobcat harvest in the state by a 10 to 0 margin. The Colorado Trappers and Predator Callers Association did an excellent job putting together a very large coalition to oppose the petition. The Commission meeting had a tremendous turnout with several hundred sportsmen attending to show their opposition to the petition.
In California there is no such good news to report. The efforts to eliminate what remains of bobcat hunting and recreational fur trapping continues to advance. AB 273 and AB 1254 have passed the assembly and advanced to the senate. There are simply very few trappers in California to fight these battles. Some national organizations have recognized these attacks aren’t simply about trapping but are an attack on the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, and as such represent a threat to all sportsmen. The NRA’s Institute For Legislative Action has voiced a call for support from all sportsmen to contact their lawmakers.
While trapping organizations rightfully focus on the individual state battles and federal lawsuits directly attacking trapping, the proposals to ban the production and sale of fur products in New York City and California are serious threats to the entire fur trade. Dave and Karen Linkhart, NTA Directors of National and International Affairs, are working closely with the International Fur Federation (IFF) and its partners in this critical fight.
Wednesday, May 15, was the first hearing open for general testimony on the New York legislation. According to the NAFA press release the hearing was little more than a staged soapbox platform for NY City Council Speaker, Corey Johnson, (who represents the Garment District) to show his support to anti-fur, anti-animal use activists who attended the hearing. The Antis had the top-guns speak and present all the usual anti-fur rhetoric.
Meanwhile, outside city hall prior to the hearing there was an enormously successful rally organized by the New York fur trade. The rally was a huge show of strength from the New York City fur trade and community, where nearly 1,000 fur trade members and supporters showed up to challenge the proposal.
While the hearing was very lopsided, the media coverage I've seen has been more balanced, showing the speaker as a radical and focused on the loss of jobs, culture and heritage in the city if this bill were to pass.
Since the hearing Councilman Johnson has conceded that he underestimated the opposition to his proposed fur ban. Johnson was quoted in the New York Post as saying, "Maybe I should have thought more about this before I introduced it because I didn't realize the amount of pushback there would be.
In California, the proposal to ban the production and sale of fur products in the state is expected to be passed by the committee and be sent to the full legislature. IFF is leading the opposition to these proposals in both New York and
There is a rapidly growing movement across the country to ban coyote calling
contests. I'm aware of at least 10 states that have passed or are considering
legislation to end what opponents label "wildlife killing contests." In fact, they
have formed a "National Coalition to End Wildlife Killing Contests" which has over 30 groups as members. All the usual suspects of antis and protectionist groups using the same old rhetoric, talking points and lies we have dealt with for years. They are however finding many friendly ears in states legislatures across the country and have been successful in several states. The phrase "killing contest" is ideal for emotional pleas and social media campaigns. While not specifically a trapping issue it is an attack on the lawful use of a renewable wildlife resource that shouldn't be ignored by sportsmen. Is there a difference between a coyote calling contest and an ice fishing derby?
Final preparations are being made for the National Convention in Springfield
Missouri, July 11 to 13. The Missouri Trappers Association volunteers and the city officials are putting together what we believe will be a tremendously successful NTA convention! I hope you are making plans to attend.
We have a avery special project this year sponsored by Bass Pro Shops. You will want to be sure to bring your kids because Bass Pro is donating a copy of the NTA Trapping Handbook to every child age 16 and under who attends the convention. Published in 1984 and revised in 2007, it's still the best and most complete book available for trapper education. Every trapper should own a copy.
Limited numbers of the 60th Anniversary Commemorative Rifles remain. If you are thinking of getting one you should not put it off. Individuals reserve a specific numbered rifle for reasons known only to them. That being the case, I'll let you in on a little secret -- we still have a few of the first 10 rifles remaining! Unless they are sold before the national convention, we will havet hem available to purchase and pickup in Springfield. If you'd like one of these first 10 rifles you can call Dan Gates at 719-269-7972.
This is my final report to you as president. The National Trappers Association is a tremendous organization. Thinking back over the battles we have faced, I hate to consider where America's trappers would be today if not for the NTA. I'd like to express my sincere appreciation for your support over the past six years. I'm truly honored to have had the opportunity to lead this great association and serve the trappers across this country.