Wildlife conservation is complicated. In Vermont, that complexity is front and center in recent conversations around regulated trapping. Although this topic deserves Vermonters’ careful consideration, I worry that some are losing sight of the conservation benefits that regulated trapping provides.

I am Vermont’s new state furbearer biologist. I earned my master’s degree in biology at Arkansas State University, and I have worked on complex conservation issues across the country, most recently with wolves in Oregon. In each case I have seen knee-jerk reactions overshadow the nuances of effective conservation, often to the detriment of wildlife. I see the same trend playing out, again, as Vermonters argue about trapping without seeing the full picture.

(2) comments

John Glowa

This is a 19th century mentality in a 21st century world. Killing is not conservation. Trapping is non-selective and unregulated. The state of Vermont only knows what trappers tell them. It is no wonder that this propagandist was hired by Vermont Fish and Wildlife. State fish and wildlife agencies across America are going to be forced to change by listening to the growing chorus of citizens who are sick and tired of the same old pro-killing mentality. It's time to end this cruelty that has been masquerading as conservation for far too long.


Readers should investigate some of the claims made by Vermont Fish & Wildlife's furbearer program before believing that "regulated trapping" is a good and necessary wildlife management tool. For the last 400 years, trapping has been the primary cause of many species extinction' in Vermont. Dutch, French ad English fur traders also introduced diseases that caused the near extinction of many indigenous human communities as well. Towards what end? For profit, not science or the well being of our native wildlife. As an indigenous person I am deeply offended by recent claims by Vermont trappers, including members of the Fish & Wildlife Board who have stated that trapping is "indigenous wisdom." There are less than 300 active licensed trappers in Vermont, yet Vermont Fish & Wildlife continues to argue that their role in furbearer conservation is irreplaceable because of the data gleaned from carcasses. There are many other reliable methods to gather data besides trail cameras, there are hair traps which do indeed collect DNA, hunter/hiker sightings, roadkill and legal hunting seasons to name a few. Let's also not forget that according to VFW and the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, fishers, beavers, otters and muskrats in Vermont are trapped in body-gripping traps that researchers conclude can take up to five minutes to kill an animal. Trapping isn't good science, it's a historically cruel and violent way to live with our animal relations and it's time it was relegated to the history books.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.
Allow up to 24 hours for comment approval.