Minnesota Trappers Association
Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Alliance (MOHA)
Spring 2019 Report
Well, it’s been a very active legislative session so far. About what we were expecting however. There’s three bills that we are concerned about. Please, please, contact your legislators on these bills. They watch for constituent’s emails. Emails make a difference. It’s something that’s easy to do and can really make a difference in the future of trapping. When you send your emails, put in the subject box “concerned constituent” followed by the bill numbers. It get’s their attention.
The first bill we are concerned about is SF842 and the companion bill is HF880. For those unfamiliar, bills beginning with SF stand for Senate file, HF stands for House file. So you contact your Senators on bills beginning with SF, contact your State Representatives for HF bills. Bills SF842 and HF880 would require written permission to set traps on private land. This could be really damaging to us. For one thing, getting landowners to put their names on paper can be difficult because many landowners fear there’s greater chance of liability if an accident would occur on their property. It’s a preception many landowners have. They’re happy to give oral permission, but hesitant to put it in writing. It’s also highly likely some of the larger companies that own land, like railroad and paper companies, simply wont give permission in writing. Also, we would need written permission even to trap water if you are staking a trap into the bottom inside private property lines. There’s one pond I’ve trapped where I would need fourteen different written permission slips just to trap muskrats. Another one I would need twelve. There’s hundreds, maybe thousands of ponds and small lakes in Minnesota that have multiple property lines crossing them. You would need to know exactly where those lines are, especially if you can’t get permission from all landowners. I’ve talked to a couple enforcement officers and they both said it would be a nightmare to enforce.
Another bill is SF927 and HF1327. This bill would prohibit a season on Timber wolves, even if federally delisted off the endangered species list.
The next one is SF2359. There’s no companion bill in the House yet as of this writing, but it’s coming. In summary, this bill would require all beaver and otter traps be fully submerged. All dog catches be reported, even in footholds. Loss of trapping license for five years if you kill a dog in a trap or snare, this would even include if it happened on your own property. No kill snares, cable restraints only with no trees larger than 1/2” within reach, so basically no entanglement. Further restrictions on traps in cubbies and boxes. Restrictions on dog proof traps, no meat or fish as bait and pull type triggers only. As you can see, this bill would also be very damaging.
On a happier note, the Trappers day at the capital was a success. Thank you to all that made the trip down there and participated. I’d sure like to see more new faces next year however. It seems the same people are the ones year after year that are active in keeping trapping going. We had numerous legislators stop in. Even had a couple inner city democrats, which was surprising to me, that showed interest in our fur display as they walked by. One felt every fur, said they were beautiful, and said she was concerned by coyotes running down the streets of her neighborhood. It was a good opportunity to educate her on trapping.
Again, please contact your legislators. It’s very, very important that you do. If 2,000 MTA members contact their legislators, it would make a difference. Have your wives, husbands, and friends that owe you a favor do it too.
Be safe out there,