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~Committed to Conservation, Education and the Preservation of our Natural Resources~

"Promoting Science Based Wildlife Management Decisions for a Better Massachusetts"

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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 less.  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.

 Herb Bergquist - USFWS CRWM President Shelburne, Massachusetts

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Last modified: June 30, 2012