Thursday, February 9th, 2023
Thursday, February 9th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Groups vow to battle pair of trapping bills

By Don Lehman Contributing Writer

Albany – State legislators are weighing bills that could
endanger trapping in some parts of the state by allowing counties
and other municipalities to regulate the sport instead of the
state.

The proposed laws, seen by sportsmen’s groups as an effort to
ban trapping in some parts of the state, would allow counties,
cities, towns and villages to supersede the state Department of
Environmental Conservation when it comes to setting trapping
rules.

The effort comes after three counties (Albany, Rockland and
Suffolk) passed laws banning trapping – legislation which was
struck down by appeals courts that ruled trapping was the state’s
jurisdiction.

For several years since then, members of the state Assembly have
introduced legislation that would give counties the ability to
regulate trapping except when the state declares a health
emergency.

The DEC has long set and enforced the state’s trapping rules and
regulations.

Wally John, legislative vice president for the New York State
Conservation Council, called the legislation a “not-so-subtle
attack on trapping.”

The proposals come after well-publicized incidents in which dogs
were killed or injured in traps in different parts of the state,
including Albany and Suffolk counties.

“The anti-trapping people refuse to acknowledge the
responsibility of dog owners to keep their dogs leashed,” John
said. “This just creates further division between sportsmen upstate
and people in the suburbs elsewhere.”

John said he was heartened, though, that a number of downstate
members of Assembly had voted against the bill in its last
incarnation. It has been introduced several times in recent years,
but it has failed to pass.

“It shows people can be educated and can be responsible,” he
said.

The New York Trappers Association has also been asking members
to step up efforts to fight the proposal. And John said the
Conservation Council has been lobbying legislators, and has also
been asking members of sportsmen’s federations around the state to
lobby their representatives. The Washington County Sportsmen’s
Federation was among those that had begun an education campaign
about the bills and asked its members to contact legislators.

Whitehall resident Gene Terry, president of the federation, said
the lawmaking effort was an overreaction to the occasional incident
where a dog winds up in a trap.

He said those against trapping failed to see the good it does by
helping control wildlife populations.

“It’s necessary,” he said. “Without it we’d have problems like
an overpopulation of rabid ’coons, and the antis would be
complaining about that.”

The bills are Assembly number A1835 and Senate number S2142. It
had been referred to the environmental committees in each house as
of late April, but appeared headed for a vote in the Assembly in
mid-May.

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