Just a couple hours ago the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) Commission rejected numerous proposals by both state and national anti-hunting groups to heavily restrict trapping. These same groups have decried efforts to reinstate the use of dogs for cougar and bear management citing the “will of the people” after the narrow passage of ballot measure 18 in 1994. Yet they have completely ignored the fact that voters rejected their same anti-trapping proposals in 2000 by a 60 to 40 margin. OOC President Wayne Endicott was on hand to testify and monitor the hearing as it proceeded. After a lot of heated and sometimes incoherent testimoney the ODFW Commission utilized the over 20 years of scientific information provided to them about trapping and rejected all but one of the proposals. The Commission did approve one requirement that further restricted trapping, but it was supported by the Oregon Trappers Association. The requirement will be completely approved during tomorrows commission hearing but prohibits instant kill traps from being set more than 50 feet from a permanent water source and prohibits traps closer than 50 feet from a designated trail and 300 feet from a designated camp ground. Both trails and campgrounds are defined as maintained by a government entity, but more discussion and amendments will take place tomorrow to clarify these definitions.
Today’s rejection will most certainly lead to the HSUS, Trap Free Oregon, Audubon Society and other anti-hunting groups to push for another ballot measure to ban trapping. If they are successful in placing a measure on the ballot the Oregon Outdoor Council stands ready to lead all of our partners in the fight to defeat their ill-conceived measure once again. We must not under-estimate the complete absurdity of the anti-hunting movement and should expect them to intentionally create “fake” incidents involving traps. If you hear or read of any attacks on trapping by the anti-hunters please notify us immediately.