Group petitions Vermont Fish & Wildlife to warn about traps hidden on public lands

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STOWE — Protect Our Wildlife, an all-volunteer wildlife protection group based in Vermont, submitted a petition to the Fish and Wildlife Board seeking to change trapping laws to help save pets, people, and raptors from injury and death from wildlife traps.

The use of baited traps, including leghold and body crushing “kill” traps, is allowed on public lands, including state forests, parks, wildlife refuges, and wildlife management areas where both Vermonters and tourists recreate.

“While trappers only represent 0.15% of Vermonters, their traps present a danger to all Vermonters, their pets, and also to non-target species,” said Jeff Beaupre, Protect Our Wildlife member and Vermont wildlife photographer.

There is no public notification that traps may be present, nor is there a requirement that trappers set traps away from areas frequented by the public.

“Other states with long trapping histories, such as Montana and Oregon, require trappers to set traps a minimum number of feet away from public trails,” said Lisa Jablow, Protect Our Wildlife Board Member.

Protect Our Wildlife is petitioning for the adoption of 3 new rules:

Prohibition of trapping within a certain distance of public trails, trailheads, designated wildlife crossings, and public campgrounds and picnic areas.

Warnings that trapping is allowed on the land.

The prohibition of baiting a trap with meat or other animal-derived products if the bait is visible from the air, to reduce injury and death of bald eagles, other raptors and ravens.