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A Word of Thanks to Vermont's Trappers

VTF&W Photo by Josh Morse

The challenges and responsibilities that come with managing the 17 different species of wildlife under the umbrella of our Furbearer Project are substantial. The department’s main priority is to maintain sustainable populations of Vermont’s indigenous furbearer species while at the same time providing opportunities for the regulated harvest of 13 of these species. Each species has its own conservation challenges, but the biggest threat all of Vermont’s furbearers face together are the effects of global climate change and habitat fragmentation. Our work ranges from tracking endangered Canada lynx and American marten in some of the most remote parts of our state, to helping Vermonters use every tool available, from flow devices to trapping, to share the landscape with our healthy beaver population.

With so much ground to cover it should come as no surprise that the departments’ Furbearer Management Project team relies on many staff members, including wildlife biologists, state game wardens, outreach specialists, and dedicated volunteers. The role that trappers, hunters, students and community scientists play in the management and conservation of Vermont’s furbearers cannot be overstated.

Every year, trappers’ harvests are sampled for data that drives cutting edge projects like monitoring fishers, otters, and bobcats for environmental toxins. Some of Vermont’s most noteworthy conservation successes, like the American marten’s reintroduction to the Green Mountains, would not have been possible without the help of responsible, conservation-minded trappers. Although it doesn’t get the same press, regulated legal trapping is part of a community science system, similar to eBird and the Reptile and Amphibian Atlas. And trappers are not just community scientists, they are also advocates for furbearer conservation by committing to education, responsible practices, and high ethical standards.

The trapping community demonstrates a genuine interest in furbearer conservation and recognizes the importance of healthy furbearer populations and habitat sustainability. This directly translates into trapping practices that prioritize the well-being of wildlife. Trappers deserve credit for holding each other accountable by self-regulating, reporting unlawful activities, and prioritizing humane trapping practices. The emphasis that the trapping community places on education and training for new trappers is crucial to pass down traditional skills, teaching humane techniques, encouraging safety, and promoting a deeper understanding of furbearer conservation.

To our trappers, the department extends our heartfelt gratitude for your vital support maintaining sustainable furbearer populations for future generations!