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PostPosted: 19 Dec 2012, 19:33 
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There have been numerous stories on WAT this season of guys catching fur critters that are new to have a season and/or have extremely managed seasons or are just outright not legal to keep at present. Whether its wolves in Wisconsin or bobcats in Ohio or fishers/martin in various states or otters in South Dakota, the best way to keep pressure on state game managers is to document and communicate such catches on a regular basis in multiple ways. Documentation provides actual data for better management and also can't be as easily dismissed by state agency managers that have to deal with a multitude of political as well as wildlife biology issues.

1. Report, in writing, detailed (such as geo coordinates if possible or solid geographical description) of where the catch or catches took place. I would send these directly to the head of the state wildlife agency or even the governor if no response from the wildlife agency. These people generally feel the need to respond, in writing, to your letter. Keep copies of your letter (s) and the response letters.

2. At the same time, send a similar letter to your state unviersity wildlife biology department. Scientists tend not to be under the same day-to-day political pressure that state game managers have to deal with. Specific wildlife biologists may also be truly interested in your findings for their own research. The bread 'n butter of scientists is to be able to publish research results, that's how they improve their credability in their community. Your data may be instrumental in starting research on specific critters that don't have widespread seasons or reinforce current research occurring. Keep copies of your letter (s) and the response letters.

3. If a situtation continues where a good number of season restricted critters are caught and no changes are made to fur seasons or there seems to be a complete disregard from state officials (both managers and wildlife biologists), take the copies of your letters to the local media and see if stories can be generated on why seasons haven't been changed in spite of more data on catches. Teaming up with other trappers that have similar documentation, such as through your state trappers association, propbably adds to your case. And then keep the pressure on state managers (and your legislature if needed) for change if the data appears to support a more wide spread season.

If you want the status quo to be changed, get involved, especially if you have information that people making the rules don't have. If you want things to stay the same, staying quiet probably will guarantee the situation...

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"And God said, Let us make man in our image …and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, …the fowl of the air…and all the creatures that move along the ground.
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PostPosted: 20 Dec 2012, 02:59 
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I've heard that it is kind of common practice for people here in Minnesota to catch fishers, otters, or bobcats out of season and keep them until the following year. I guess I wouldn't say that it's common practice, but it certainly happens too frequently. I see no reason for dispatching an out of season critter caught in a leg hold, but it happens far too often. As far as accidently catching these critters in body grips or snares, it's in the trappers best interest to report the accidental catch. As long as the animal was caught in a legally placed trap, you won't get in any trouble for turning it in. The states then has an accurate record of the number of critters caught. Here in Minnesota we're only allowed to catch 2 fishers in a 5 day season. I had a buddy catch 4 fishers in 5 days with leg hold traps (In an undisclosed part of the state). The reason for our rediculous season is because a different part of the state has low fisher numbers. IMO our wildlife managers are too lazy to devide the state up into different zones allowing those with good numbers to harvest more fishers. I would venture to say that if they got an accurate count on the number of fishers caught, they would be forced to deal with the shift in habitat.

Really great post NonPC!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

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PostPosted: 20 Dec 2012, 04:31 
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Very good point PC! As of right now, PA has a very limited 5 day fisher season, a 3 week bobcat season and otters are totally protected. The game commission always seeks public comment before starting a new season and will frequently survey licensed trappers on their seasons catch. The big push right now is focused in northeastern PA's Pocono region because the incidental fisher catches are high and that section of PA does not have a fisher season as well as high amounts of otter catches during beaver season. PA has one of the larger state trapping organizations and lobbies the game commission every year to open up more trapping oppertunities such as the limited fisher and bobcat season as well as our snaring season which the use of "cable retraints" just became legal abut 7 years ago and other rule changes.
But, it would not hurt to "drop them a line" to help them understand that these incidental catches happen more frequently than they believe because the population estimate may be higher than they realize.

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PostPosted: 20 Dec 2012, 09:38 
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Good post PC. Those are really helpful ideas.

Snipe, I agree that they need to create zones for ALL furbearers. This would also help where a particular furbearer is over populated and may be creating damage, such as coon.They could and should respond to area populations, not a statewide population with a one size fits all management solution.

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