Manitoulin Trappers meeting brings together trappers new and seasoned to share and learn

George Hagen, president of the Manitoulin Trappers Council, hosted the organization’s recent meeting with topics ranging from the ban in areas of wolf and coyote trapping, the spring bear hunt, courses for youth and conibear traps.

by Betty Bardswich

MINDEMOYA—People who trap wildlife, including several teenagers, attended an information and workshop meeting on September 24 at the Mindemoya Community Hall.

Hosted by the Manitoulin Trappers Council, the session began with an introduction and welcome by council president George Hagen who then brought the audience up to date on the utilization of the group’s information booth. This is being used to bring awareness and education about trapping to events sponsored by fish and game clubs and was well received recently at such a function in M’Chigeeng, with a lot of questions coming from youth. Mr. Hagen then went on to say that the organization’s logo has been finalized and the new toques and hats which are for sale will be used as a fundraiser for the council.

Mr. Hagen also talked about attending the Ontario Fur Managers Federation annual convention and meeting which was held in Thunder Bay.  He remarked that prices for furs has stalled due to over production as the ranch industry went full bore for five or six years. “Hang in there and it will right itself,” he said. “I have been trapping since 1976 and it will right itself.”

Mr. Hagen made a request of his audience asking that people bring in trapping photos so an album can be put together to go with the organization’s booth. He also asked for any artifacts that people could bring in.

The number of Manitoulin youth interested in trapping has risen lately due to the courses offered and sponsored by Manitoulin Streams, which recently joined with the Manitoulin Area Stewardship Council (MASC).  The trapper’s kit used for the courses is supplied by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH).

Mr. Hagen spelled out that the current youth trapping course is full and that there is a waiting list and remarked that the last three or four years has seen a resuscitation of the Trappers Council. He also explained that wolf and coyote trapping is no longer allowed in the Sudbury district and he feels that the ban is coming to Manitoulin. “We lobby on the part of all trappers,” he said, “and we have provincial support.”

There are 40 parts of Ontario which are affected by the ban and opposition is not only coming from hunters and trappers, but importantly, farmers who lose livestock to these predators.

The second speaker at the meeting was Keith Scott of Sudbury, an employee with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) who spoke of fur management in Sudbury as well as on Manitoulin and mentioned that there are quotas around species.

In answering questions regarding trapping on private property, Mr. Scott emphasized that there are rules to be followed. Firstly, a trapper must take the course for harvesting animals, must show proof that one has done so and must show proof that they can use the private land for trap lines.

Mr. Scott went on to talk about nuisance animals and said, “it is important that people get out and trap. If not, then nuisance situations will arise.” He used the example of Sudbury to show the problem, saying that the municipality pays out between $60,000 to $80,000 dollars each year for nuisance situations and used the beaver as an example.

Mr. Scott also stated that it was good that the spring bear hunt was brought back as Sudbury is almost run over with bears and the situation is especially dire now due to a low food supply and high temperatures. Mr. Scott also made it clear that these types of decisions made about animal harvesting are made at the provincial and regional levels and that the wolves and coyotes prohibition received 4,000 comments which showed the concern both for and against the ban.

Several discussions took place at the trappers meeting including the territory that can be covered by bears with council director Ian Anderson saying, “a bear was collared in upper Michigan and ended up at Little Current. Bears will travel hundreds of miles.” Mr. Anderson was also one of the guest speakers and his talk focused on the proper usage of conibear traps.

Several directors make up the board of the Manitoulin Trappers Council including Mr. Hagen and Mr. Anderson, Natalie Parrington, Rick Campbell, Dallas Moggy, John Seabrook, and Cole Corbiere and Nathaniel Wood as youth directors.