Trapping is a way of life – pass it on
I looked at the clock on the nightstand; 3:58 am – no alarm
needed, and like a kid on Christmas morning I was wide-awake before my feet hit
the floor. You see, this was the
second day of the Vermont
trapping season and months of dreaming, preparation and hard work was about to
converge at that final moment of truth.
The first morning anticipation had finally arrived to run the trapline
that was meticulously thought out, organized, planned and prepped over the past
six months. It’s hard to put into
words the feeling that comes over me on that first morning.
So much of my physical and emotional self had been rolled up into these
set locations, all showing signs of promise with coyote and fox visiting many of
the sites prepared the week before.
The air was cool and crisp that late October morning and as I slowly drove my
4x4 down the old logging road and turned the corner, I saw movement.
There, standing at my stake stood a large, pale colored coyote caught
perfectly and held fast. I stared
in amazement thinking back to all the preparation that allowed this event to
take place. The weeks of scouting,
traveling back roads, reviewing maps, getting landowner permission, and
purchasing my gear. All of that
time and effort flashed through my mind in milliseconds, converging into this
single scene before me. It was a tremendous feeling of accomplishment and a job
well done. I marveled at this
animal before me, knowing that my ultimate success involved not just hard work
and skill on my part, but was largely due to the resilience of the species
itself, to the natural landscape that supports these predators and to the
conservation efforts of untold numbers of dedicated professionals I can not
name. I quickly and humanely dispatched the animal and as I placed it aside, ran
my hands across its back appreciating the thick fur.
This was a healthy male; unlike others I would witness.
As I approached another set that morning, I could see the forces of
nature had slowly striped away practically all of the fur on my next coyote,
leaving him barely recognizable, helpless against the elements and covered with
sores. This gruesome scene would repeat
again a week later and their images stay with me, burned into my memory; a
constant reminder of nature’s heavy hand and that when unleashed shows no mercy.
My respect, admiration and sheer rawness of the natural world were
heightened that day and furthered my conviction and belief that what I had done
here was right and just.
Personal experiences like this take place across this country year
after year by young and old alike.
They foster a true conservation ethic in future generations, giving our youth an
opportunity to appreciate the natural world and actively participate in it.
Experiences like this force people to think for themselves and when least
expected, provide answers to some of life’s tough questions.
They give substance to the meaning and understanding as to our rightful
place in the entire cycle of life. However,
sad as it may be, you will be hard-pressed to find a comparable story here in
our own state of Massachusetts.
As many of you know, in 1996 we deceptively lost much of our ability to
experience this, and with it went an unparalleled opportunity for our younger
generation to connect with our natural resources.
We must become re-energized, work together, educate and ensure the future
holds more opportunity for our
children and grandchildren to experience the outdoors and interact with it, not
The effects of the animal right’s true agenda are far-reaching and broken
through pre-conceived boundaries; no one is exempt from its impact.
It is an ideology that defies logic, any sense of reason and has
fraudulently seeped into an unsuspecting public’s consciousness by way of
seemingly “reputable” organizations that have violated their trust.
These organizations have grayed the line between real conservation
efforts and personal ideology based on nothing more than opinion.
As a result, true conservation is being high-jacked before our eyes and
redefined by protectionist-oriented organizations that believe in a ‘no-use’
policy of our natural resources.
For our society as a whole,
being an active participant in sustainable natural resource conservation is not
optional, it’s mandatory. History proves
it, science documents it, and our future generations depend on it.
- USFWS CRWM President