VERMONT TRAPPERS want to expand the trapping seasons on otters.
MOST VERMONTERS WANT TO BAN TRAPPING AND ELIMINATE WASTEFUL KILLING OF WILDLIFE!
We need your help to stop additional trapping pressure on this native Vermont animal!
Hot off the Press!
7/15/17: Vote on Otter Season is Postponed!!! Read the story in VT Digger here!
6/28/17: POW's letter to the legislature here
4/18/17: POW is interviewed for a story about trapping otters in The Dodo. Read more here
4/9/17: POW Press Release
Most Vermonters Want to Ban Trapping and Eliminate Wasteful Killing of Wildlife.
Letter in Opposition to Extended Otter Trapping
by Thomas L. Serfass, Ph.D.
North American Coordinator, IUCN/SSC Otter Specialist Group
POW President, Brenna Galdenzi, provided testimony to the Fish & Wildlife Board, along with other POW members, last Wednesday night in opposition to expanding the otter trapping season. No surprise that 13 out of 14 Board members voted to expand the trapping season, despite lack of data to support their position and despite the massive opposition they've received from Vermont residents. Board member Dennis Mewes from Windham was the only dissenting vote - thank you, Dennis!
The Board has routinely ignored people's comments and when POW's president asked the Board if they've discussed any of the non lethal alternatives to expanding otter trapping season, the Board chair, Kevin Lawrence, declined to answer. We just can't get any answers, even when we show up at Board meetings in person.
It's not all doom and gloom because we're building our case that will hopefully fix a bigger problem: the composition of and the power held by the Fish & Wildlife Board. This Board consists of all hunters and trappers - the trappers and taxidermist on the Board stand to financially benefit from expanded trapping seasons.
A public comment period will occur over the next few months (most likely in February) where the Board will make their 2nd vote and we'll need all of you in attendance! We'll be offering carpools across the state and may even rent a van if there's enough interest.
The trapper who's behind the petition said that just because otters are listed as species of greatest conservation need in Vermont, doesn't mean anything. Well, we disagree!
View POW's verbal testimony -- click here.
UPDATE 12/19/16: OTTERS ARE AT INCREASED RISK OF EXTENDED TRAPPING SEASON!
With your support, we were able to help stop a trapper's petition to expand bobcat trapping season in Vermont, but our otters are still at risk. Trappers seek to expand the trapping season on otters from an already lengthy 4 month season to 5 long months.
Vermont Fish & Wildlife has no population estimates on river otters, and even though they've stated that it's not their intention to expand otter trapping, they still support the petition. Otters face numerous threats from loss of prey base, habitat alteration to pollution so to further stress these populations by an extended trapping season is grossly irresponsible.
UPDATE 9/22/16: We had 75 people attend the F&W meeting on Sept. 21st to oppose moving this trapping season expansion forward! Thanks to everyone for your help!
What You Can Do
Attend Fish & Wildlife Board meetings and future public hearings.
Email the Fish & Wildlife Department and Board and tell them that you oppose any extension to the otter trapping season.
Mobilize your community to speak out against the extended trapping season.
Share this information on your Front Porch Forums.
Email the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department and the Fish & Wildlife Board
Dear Members of the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department and Board:
Expanding the trapping season on otters without having population estimates or the necessary data to support that decision, is not sound wildlife management.
Please take into consideration the majority of us who would prefer to not see these animals trapped at all. There is no biological need to expand the season and to do so would show a clear bias towards trappers' interests.
I ask that you please oppose the expanded otter trapping season.
Talking points (feel free to cut/paste any of these talking points):
This trapping petition stands to benefit only 0.0015 of Vermont’s population that traps.
The expanded otter trapping season presents a direct threat to birthing mothers and pups who are born late March (the Fish & Wildlife Department acknowledges this threat on their own website)
The Fish & Wildlife Department has no way of knowing the populations of these animals, so expanding the trapping seasons would be grossly irresponsible
If trappers want to stop incidental take (trapping out of season) of otters during beaver season, then the beaver season should be shortened and made concurrent with otter season as it was back in 2007.
This frivolous petition is taking up our Fish & Wildlife Department's limited resources that could be better spent on performing duties that benefit all Vermonters
Otters face numerous threats facing their populations including: loss of prey, pollution, habitat alteration so Vermont should be suspending otter trapping altogether, not expanding seasons.
Otter pelts decline as the season progresses, so there is a wanton waste issue if pelts are worthless
People enjoy seeing these animals in the wild and by expanding otter trapping season, that enjoyment is being further jeopardized.
Otters are listed in the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department's latest Wildlife Action Plan as a species of greatest conservation need, yet they still support an expanded trapping season. See otter information on page 123.
UPDATE 10/20/16: VERMONT BOBCATS AND OTTERS ARE STILL UNDER ATTACK!
POW's president attended the VT Fish & Wildlife Board Meeting last night and reported back the following.
Since the trapper's petition to expand bobcat trapping season was voted down by a 6-7 vote at the last Fish & Wildlife Board meeting on September 21st, POW only planned to hear the Board discuss the remaining petition items: expanding otter trapping season by a month and extend underwater muskrat trap check times to 72 hours.
In a clear display of just how dysfunctional and biased this Board is, Bill Pickens, former president of the Vermont Trappers' Assoc. made a motion to put the bobcat trapping part of the petition back on the table for another vote. He was seconded by Theresa Elmer, a taxidermist. Luckily, Pickens' attempt didn't pass, but only thanks to one member who abstained.
So what Bill and Theresa, and the 4 other Board members who voted to put the bobcat trapping petition back on the table, tell us is that their special interests are dictating wildlife policy. This is disrespectful to the Fish & Wildlife Biologist who made it very clear that the Department does NOT support an expanded trapping season on bobcats. These Board reps don't care. They want to push through their pro-trapping agenda regardless of science and regardless of the outpouring of emails and the large number of people who attended the last Board meeting to oppose expanded trapping seasons.
Please email or call these 6 Fish & Wildlife Board members and ask them how they could possibly continue to ignore the Fish & Wildlife Department biologist and Commissioner, and continue to support an extended season on bobcats (put the FWBoard@list.state.vt.us on copy.)
Contact info found here
Peter W. Allard
Grand Isle County
Theresa Elmer (TAXIDERMIST)
Bill Pickens (FORMER VT TRAPPERS ASSOC PRESIDENT)
David Fielding Jr. (HE MISSED THE SEPT 21st MEETING)
Dr Weldon Bosworth, is a Senior Ecologist with over 40 years of consulting experience in evaluating environmental impact, with a specialty in ecological risk assessment. He was instrumental in helping NH wildlife advocates maintain the ban on bobcat hunting/trapping/hounding earlier this year.
Email the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Board at firstname.lastname@example.org (if you’d like to email your Board representative individually, you can find their contact info here. ) Copy the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, Louis.Porter@vermont.gov, on your email.
The Fish & Wildlife Board, comprised of 14 members, one from each county, is responsible for granting or denying this trapping proposal.
Suggested email (feel free to cut/paste any of the bulleted talking points on this page below):
Dear Members of the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Board:
I ask that you not support the trapping proposal, which seeks to expand otter trapping season. Please act in the best interest of not only these animals, but also the majority of residents in Vermont who do not support additional trapping pressure on our wildlife. Our voices should also be considered.
Thank you for taking action!