Lifting Restrictions on Trapping Hours Imposes a Cruel Death Sentence for Wisconsin’s Wildlife on Our Public Lands
“If it’s got gills, I’ve fished it. If it’s got feathers or fur, I’ve hunted it.” — Winning Conservation Congress delegate, Kenosha County
About a quarter of the trappers in Wisconsin attended the Conservation Congress spring hearings to vote 3,152 to 2,127 to end restrictions on trapping activity from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. After the Natural Resources Board plays its traditional role of killing enabler, this will raise trapping hours another 50 percent — about 7 million annual “trap days” will become over 10 million trap nights and days.
Mentoring trapping with kids who are too young to understand trapping classes passed 3,960 to 1,248. Seventy out of 72 counties voted for this child and animal abuse. It reveals the composition of this supposedly public election.
Market trapping took wildlife to the brink of extinction at the beginning of the 20th century. Now in far less habitat, degraded and fragmented, these professional trappers move hundreds of traps throughout six months of take, clearing one public land expanse of life, and moving on to clear the next. With 10,000 of them working all public lands, this is the end of wildlife. They are trapping for the 1.3 billion Chinese market. The fur trim and fashion market is taking out wildlife worldwide.
There are no words to describe the cruelty of trapping, but people too squeamish to look enable it to continue. People can and must end this now. Life is not endlessly resilient. Bats and pollinators have shown us that.
Look at it this way: All of us 5.7 million citizens own a public store. But 10,000 citizens can take as much as they can grab for six months, and sell it outside of the store for a profit. The rest of us have no currency to save or remove any part of it. That is the trapping factor. We bought the store and are to steward the contents under the Public Trust Doctrine, but we allow hunters to render us completely powerless. We have that in common with wildlife.
About 7,000 citizens attended the Conservation Congress hearings statewide. In contrast to trapper attendance, 0.0012 percent of the general public attended. Either 9,888 of 10,000 Wisconsin citizens did not know about this election and vote — or the vast majority of nonhunters just don’t care about the public lands they purchased to hike, bike and watch wildlife, or the rivers they paddle.
This is a corrupt process and either must be annihilated or publicized to the general public. Many activists petitioned Wisconsin Public Radio to cover the issues before the election so citizens could participate. I was invited to go on the Joy Cardin show the morning after the election before the results were in.
The Department of Natural Resources holds the levers of power to manipulate the process. This year, they inserted the new deer regulation video into the election, to increase hunter attendance. Now the deer kill is no longer a nine-day but a four-month ordeal for deer. As one hunter said, “Secretary Stepp is always telling us she wants to make it easier for us hunters.”
Another fellow rose to point out that “56 of these 58 proposals are to promote more killing in an age of extinction.”
The tundra swan hunt and albino deer hunt were soundly defeated, although protection of white deer in the CWD zone was voted down. The proposal to let hunters enter private land without landowner permission was defeated by a frighteningly small margin — 3,038 to 2,589.
Jane Meyer, hunter wife of George Meyer, head of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation of hunting clubs, was re-elected to a fifth three-year term in Dane County, 245 versus 195 votes for the humane candidate, Dawn Sabin. Dawn spoke out against running packs of dogs on wildlife year-round, against killing wolves, and for respect for our wild brethren. Jason Dorgan, involved with the Ice Age Trail and a hiker who “fondly remembers fishing with my grandfather,” won the two-year position. The usual hunter/trapper candidates won across the state.
State Rep. Chris Taylor deserves a lot of credit for attending. She seemed surprised that the candidates were first announced that night. She seemed stunned that after a three-minute candidate presentation, leaving out many issues, citizens attempting to ask the candidates questions were told that was not allowed.
Taylor is the first state legislator I have ever seen attend this election in Dane County. Legislators accept the “sole advisory” recommendations of this special-interest killing cartel, without ever witnessing the reality of it.
“The entire production is such a sham and clearly a mockery of democracy,” wrote Elizabeth Roberts, police officer in Kenosha County, after attending her second Conservation Congress election.
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