NV BHA Defends Trapping, Opposes SB 213

The following is testimony given by NV BHA in defense of legal, scientifically-led trapping regulations in Nevada.

To the Nevada State Senate Natural Resources Committee: March 27, 2013

Senators Ford, Manendo, Segerblom, Settelmeyer and Goicoechea

Re: SB 213 (proposed trapping regulations)

From: Karen Boeger, Board member, Nevada chapter, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers

Dear Senators,

Please oppose SB 213 as currently written. Were you not a trapper, the proposed regulations seem a reasonable way to avoid unintended harm from traps. I am not a trapper, yet have friends on both sides of this emotional issue. After long study, inquiry and discussion, I must conclude this bill is flawed by the ambiguity of the language and impracticality of the regulatory proposals. The result if passed: unintended negative consequences, rather than increased safety and, for trappers, opportunities to practice an historic traditional skill and profession will be further diminished.

The Trappers Association has enumerated very logical reasons why each proposed change to existing regulation (registration, flagging traps, moving traps and shortened check-time) is impractical and will not result in the intended objective. Please give these serious consideration.

The reality of burgeoning populations and increasing numbers of people seeking recreation on our public lands has resulted in incremental limits on trapping opportunities. Existing regulations setting trap distance from congested areas, county roads and heavily used trails can go a long way toward increasing public safety. Sportsman's dollars fund enforcement, which, given the vastness of our Nevada public lands, is never adequate. Those ofus non-sportsmen who love both wildlife and outdoor recreation must devise a means to contribute to management and enforcement.

The majority of trappers voluntarily practice ethics that both increase public safety and diminish perceived wildlife cruelty, such as checking trap lines frequently and placing traps a good distance away from dirt roads, trails and informal camp areas. Sadly, it is always the irresponsible folks in any group that tarnish our view of a group as a whole. However, the irresponsible actions of a few should not result in unworkable restrictions limiting opportunities for this traditional skill and profession.

Trapping wild animals is a skill as old as humankind. As kids we were raised on stories of the exploits of the early fur trappers. Our conservation heroes such as Teddy Roosevelt and Aldo Leopold were accomplished trappers. The trappers I know today are rightly proud and sentimental about their long established role in our history. The best of these embody true woodsmanship, have a deep respect for and knowledge of the lives and habits of the animals they track and trap.

Lastly, a word about safety in the outdoors: reasonable legislated provisions for public safety in congested areas and on heavily used dirt roads and trails are to be expected in our world of increasing population. However, to try to legislate safety and eliminate risks in the “wilds” is contrary to our frontier heritage of personal responsibility, self-reliance, self-awareness, observation and other hard-won outdoor skills. To do so would domesticate both the landscape and the experience.

Thank you for considering my comments,

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