I read with great interest the letter from Kristen Cameron in the Milton Independent October 10, 2019. While some of her writing was accurate, much of it was not. I guess the easy way to set things straight is to pick it apart by paragraph.
Fact: Vermont does allow trapping in the fall, and yes there are traps set outdoors. There are baited "foothold" traps, not leg hold. There are body capture traps, not body crushing. The folks at POW (Protect Our Wildlife) tend to change up words to dramatize their agenda.
Fact: Traps are used to capture animals. Fiction: Animals do not suffer in traps for hours and days. Traps must be checked every 24 hours per state law. Fiction: Animals seldom chew their feet off to get out of a trap. I have trapped for over 50 years and have yet to have an animal chew its foot off. Never have I seen broken bones or dislocations. Fact: Animals are dispatched by gun shot, not bludgeoning, choking, drowning or stomping.
Fact: Vermont has a leash law. If you are off your property, you must have a pet on a leash or under direct voice command. A person with common sense would not let their beloved pet run loose knowing there are traps out October thru December. Letting your cat run free any time of the year is a death sentence for the cat. They are consumed by owls, hawks, ravens, osprey, coyotes, fox, fisher - you get the idea. The idea of bear getting caught in traps is pure silliness. By law we are not allowed to set a trap that would come close to holding a bear.
The writer goes on to say nine dogs and two cats were caught last year. Shame on the owners letting their pets run free knowing this could happen. The animals will do as they have for eons; it's the owners responsibility to smarten up. It's always the same stories on where these animals were caught, but when pressed for the truth none is ever provided. We even have a vet in Vermont who claims they do many surgeries a year on trapped animals, but when asked to provide numbers, they too fail to report.
The only factual info in the whole letter were the advisements at the end. If these rules are followed, you can safely go out with your pets, and trappers can trap, and get along like we have since the 1800s.
Trappers are the most heavily regulated sportsmen in Vermont. Any violations of the law are met with revocation of licenses and heavy fines. You would be hard pressed to find a trapper who sets traps near hiking trails or parks. Traps are set in the wilderness where the wild animals reside.
Any one with computer savvy can google trapping and spend days and months seeing what really happens in the trapping world. I invite folks every year on my trap line to see what happens, and I have yet to have many takers. I guess proof would ruin their misguided theories. And to the folks who are ignorant to the fact that letting your animals run free, I say thanks for feeding the animals I trap.
VTA Chittenden County Director