October 24, 2008
Saturday Marks Opening Day of 2008-2009 Trapping Seasons
First Season for New Trapper Mentoring Law
The “land trapping” season in most of New York State opens this Saturday, Oct. 25, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Pete Grannis announced today. Trappers will be afield for the taking of raccoon, red fox, gray fox, bobcat, fisher and coyote. Additionally, most of northern New York will be open for the trapping of mink and muskrat.
Trappers work in a variety of habitat types including wooded areas, farmland, marshes and swamps. “Water trapping” seasons for other aquatic furbearers, including beaver and otter, open on various dates depending on species and location. Dates and maps are available on page 54 of the 2008-09 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide or on the web at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/45551.html.
“New York State is an important venue for trapping, and trapping is an important part of our heritage,” Commissioner Grannis said. “New York has about 12,000 trappers, and trapping seasons for 14 different furbearing animals. Trappers must have a license and have completed an approved trapper-education course taught by volunteer instructors trained by DEC. These courses stress safe and ethical trapping methods, including best practices for trapping using the latest technology and innovations in trap design and use.”
Commissioner Grannis noted that a new “Trapper Mentoring Law” was approved by Governor David A. Paterson earlier this year. The new law allows a person younger than 12 years old to accompany and assist a licensed trapper in all aspects of trapping. The adult mentor must have at least three years of trapping experience. Parents or legal guardians may designate a licensed trapper who is at least 18 years old to mentor their child by using the form found on page 31 of this year’s Guide, or by downloading the form from the DEC web site: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/46191.html. This web site also contains additional details on this new program.
Commissioner Grannis cautioned New Yorkers to be aware that hunters and trappers are in the field during the fall months, especially from October through December, and asked all outdoor enthusiasts to respect each other.
New York’s trapping regulations include restrictions on the size and design of traps, placement of traps and mandatory trap checking requirements. Trappers are required to follow regulations concerning the use of certain types of traps called “body gripping traps.” Adopted in 2007, these regulations require that these traps be set in a manner that will minimize or reduce the chances of accidentally catching, injuring or killing a dog or pet cat. While this regulation is intended to improve trapping safety, owners must exercise great care and control of their pets to limit the risk of harm. These regulations are described in detail in this year’s Guide.
Trappers are required to report the taking of certain furbearing animals to DEC, including fisher, marten, beaver, river otter and bobcat. These reporting requirements help DEC's wildlife biologists monitor and improve conservation programs for these species.
DEC, in cooperation with Cornell University, is currently conducting research to improve the trapping-management programs in New York State. To help with this research, cooperating trappers are voluntarily submitting diaries of their trapping activities along with specimens to facilitate population studies.
The full 2008-09 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide can be viewed at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/37136.html and includes all open dates for each furbearing animal, along with other regulations about the setting of traps. Copies of the Guide also are available at all DEC offices and sporting license sales outlets.
Trappers are reminded to check the Guide before going afield as season opening and closing dates vary based on area of the state and species sought.
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