Trapping in Defense of Property
Sadly in Vermont, there are little protections for wildlife who are considered to be causing damage to property. The statute is dangerously vague and results in the senseless killing of foxes, beavers, raccoons and others with virtually zero oversight. Property owners are not required to report animals killed in defense of property. Therefore, Vermont Fish & Wildlife has little to no data on what kinds of animals and the number of animals who were killed each year. We consider this to not only be unethical but an abdication of their responsibility to protect wildlife for the benefit of all Vermonters.
This reckless, unregulated killing results in tragedies like the case of the red fox who was seen in Hyde Park, Vermont dragging a leghold trap from her leg for days before she was captured and euthanized due to her injuries. The person who set the trap claimed that he was trying to trap a fox who was getting into his chicken coop, but there's no proof that the fox who was gravely injured was even the fox he was targeting.
Often times property owners hire "nuisance" wildlife control operators to trap and kill an animal, but these operators do not even have to possess a Vermont trapping license. This presents a risk to not only wildlife, but to the party hiring these unregulated and unlicensed trappers. There is a bill before the legislature, H.262, which seeks to address this out of season trapping. You can read more about this unregulated, dangerous activity that occurs outside of the trapping season in POW's letter in VT Digger here.
A Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator (NWCO) set a trap to kill beavers in Proctorsville in August of 2017 and ended up trapping a blue heron by the leg in a leghold trap. The animal's leg was so badly injured that it was euthanized. Perhaps if there were better regulations on NWCO activities, these types of tragedies could be avoided.