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'2015-'16 Legislation Laws & Regulations Legislative Issues How It Gets Done TAKE ACTION!

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HB 709


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The Committee for Responsible Wildlife Management is supporting an extremely important House Bill sponsored and submitted by Representative Stephen Kulik, entitled "An Act conserving our natural resources".  As of March 10 2015, this legislation has a House Bill number of 709.  We are actively soliciting for support, and encourage you to contact legislators urging them to advocate for this bill.  Click [HERE] for Printable Version of description as seen below

View recent letter sent to MA legislature - Challenging the Myth: Making a case for modifying the trapping law in Massachusetts (March 30, 2015)

View recent "Letter to the Editor" Medford Transcript", (March 26, 2015).  In response to recent article posted      "Coyote population on the rise in Medford, across Massachusetts"       medford Transcript

Below is a brief description of what this legislation will accomplish if enacted:

Massachusetts HOUSE Bill #709

 An Act Conserving Our Natural Resources

189th General Court of Massachusetts (2015 – 2016)

 General Description

The 2015 -'16 House Bill #709 sponsored by Representative Stephen Kulik, titled “An Act conserving our Natural Resources” protects and conserves our natural environment and wildlife, while at the same time recognizes our furbearers as a valuable and sustainable resource.  This bill would help to maintain healthy furbearer populations through proactive, regulated harvests using the most effective, internationally tested and best researched tools available.  Over time, the implementation of this law will significantly reduce human-animal conflicts.   When enacted, this bill will allow the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MDFW) to regulate and allow for use during the established furbearer harvest seasons certain live restraint and “quick kill’ devices that adhere to internationally developed ”Best Management Practices (BMPs).  These BMPs have been developed through a scientific process involving years of field and laboratory testing under the auspices of the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (AFWA).  Regulation of approved devices would go well beyond national recommendations. 

 District Representative Stephen Kulik’s 2015 wildlife management bill:

 H.709 "An Act conserving our natural resources"

 Soliciting support for H.709 to effectively address Coyote, Beaver and other wildlife species prone to conflicts with people, landowners, towns and municipalities

1.      Provides reasonable modifications to the existing trapping law, making it effective for proactive wildlife population management, while being responsive to conflicts with people and animal welfare Current law limits capture methods to cage style traps during the proactive regulated trapping season.  This pproposed legislation will allow for existing, effective and efficient traps that are currently used under 10-day reactive emergency permits, to be used during the established regulated, proactive trapping season.  Language in the bill also allows for the regulation of advanced modern restraints that are not addressed in the current trapping law

2.      Does not repeal the current trapping law The existing trapping law enacted in 1996 and amended in 2000 remains intact for hazardous health and safety situations that are outside the established regulated trapping season.  During the established trapping season determined by the MA Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MADFW) between the months of November and April, regulations derived by the DFW take precedent to carry out their constitutional mission and the intent of the law.   

3.      Establishes the MA DFW as the lead State division responsible for creating effective, proactive regulation and management strategies for furbearing wildlife that include (but not limited to) beaver, muskrat and coyote.  The existing trapping law restricts trapping to a point where the DFW cannot effectively fulfill their constitutional responsibilities

4.      Establishes a "partnership of responsibility" Ensures the DFW and the Department of Public Health (DPH) will work together, to proactively manage wildlife populations and efficiently address problem animal conflicts before the situation becomes dire.  This legislation provides a unique opportunity where two state departments share the responsibility to manage wildlife and conflicts effectively year round.   

5.      Establishes the MADFW as the 'go to' experts on animal restraints and body gripping traps Identifies the DFW as the primary experts and knowledge base on the regulated use of specific, currently banned or extremely restricted traps.  All body gripping traps or restraint devices allowed by law must first have regulations designed and approved by the DFW Board of Directors for their appropriate deployment.  The DPH would defer to the DFW for guidance in this area.  Subsequently, no device is made immediately available merely because it is written into the trapping law  As with all laws, regulation and enforcement determine their effectiveness.

6.      DFW determines the established trapping season length during the autumn and winter months annually Trapping is a highly regulated activity above and beyond simply what types of devices are made available for use.  Typically, trapping seasons in Massachusetts fall within the months of November and April.  With the exception of beaver and muskrat, all trapping activity is currently confined within the single month of November.  This legislation relies on our DFW wildlife biologists and managers to determine season lengths and the general number of animals taken based on collected data and information.

 7.  Has the welfare of the animal as a top priority No matter what one’s own background or knowledge on wildlife issues are, no one with an ounce of compassion has a desire to see another living thing suffer needlessly.   This includes trappers, wildlife managers, conservationists and wildlife biologists.  The desire to partake in proactive wildlife management and participate in the actual act of taking an animals life does not make these people inherently bad or immoral.  In fact, the lengths and efforts taken by these groups to minimize or eliminate potential suffering are substantial.  A tremendous amount of emphasis is place on animal welfare.   Trapping “Best Management Practices” (BMPs) by species have been developed nationally and international standards are followed to ensure the welfare of the animal remains a top priority in state wildlife management plans.  This legislation ensures this high ethical standard remains embedded into the trapping law by maintaining the DFW in the regulatory process to a high degree. 

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Last modified: January 24, 2015