Vt. lawmakers weigh plan to ban trapping except in special circumstances

Vermont lawmakers are weighing a proposal to ban trapping except in special circumstances.
Vermont lawmakers are weighing a proposal to ban trapping except in special circumstances.(WCAX)
Published: Feb. 27, 2023 at 6:10 PM EST
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - Is recreational trapping falling by the wayside? Vermont lawmakers made reforms to the practice just a year ago but already animal advocates are calling for more. A new proposal would ban the practice except in special circumstances.

Advocates are pushing again to ban recreational trapping in Vermont, calling it inhumane.

“Mainly for recreation, tradition, often for an intolerance for predator species like coyotes and bobcats, that’s our main concern,” said Brenna Galdenzi of Protect our Wildlife.

Galdenzi says the longstanding practice of recreational trapping in Vermont can’t continue.

“That is the problem with these traps that are indiscriminate by their very nature,” Galdenzi said.

That’s why she’s supporting H.191, a ban on the recreational trapping of fur-bearing animals or nuisance pests across the state.

Galdenzi says this will help protect all animals that call Vermont home.

But lawmakers say the practice wouldn’t totally disappear from Vermont’s landscape.

“Farmers would be able to trap these sorts of animals in defense of their crops or their livestock,” said Rep. Larry Satcowitz, D-Randolph, the bill’s sponsor.

Satcowicz says other exceptions include municipalities looking to protect infrastructure and those trapping for conservation or research, and nuisance pests like coyote or fox could be trapped by a licensed person.

“If you are doing it for compensation, yes, you would need to get a license through Fish and Wildlife,” Satcowicz said.

But opponents of the bill say legislation from last year hasn’t even had a chance to take hold.

“We haven’t even allowed that to start working and we are dealing with another trapping bill,” said Chris Bradley of the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs.

Last year, Gov. Phil Scott signed a law stating Vermont Fish and Wildlife must implement best management practices for trapping. It’s a law Bradley says was largely well-received by his organization, and he believes it should have a chance to take effect.

“The hours and hours and hours that have been looked at to make this humane, that is the path we are on,” Bradley said.

Bradley and allies say trapping has helped control nuisance animal populations and that it is a part of Vermont tradition.

“This is very simply put, one group of people not willing to accept that other people have different views,” said Mike Covey of the Vermont Traditions Coalition.

But Galdenzi believes with the exceptions in place, this law would be a fair compromise.

“Allowing carveouts for farmers and landowners and municipalities, I think really strikes a fair balance,” Galdenzi said.