The foothold and conibear traps are the tools of choice for wildlife control professionals and are legal in 44 states and Canada. Airports have a wildlife control specialist assisting in the removal of problem animals. Vermont towns remove beavers to reduce flooding of roadways, basements and septic systems.

After banning most traps in 1997, Massachusetts wildlife officials cited an increase in the beaver population from 20,000 to 70,000. Complaints of beaver damage grew from 400 to 1,000. In 2018, Framingham, Massachusetts, hired trappers to control flooding caused by beavers. In 2018, there were coyote attacks in Montreal. In 2019, coyotes attacked people in Addison County and a bobcat bit three people in White River Junction. These folks were treated for rabies.  

Over the last three decades, $41 million has been spent on science-based trap assessment. The foothold trap is designed to avoid injury to the captured animal.  Foothold traps apply pressure on two sides of the foot to hold, not harm the animal. Data collected during field trials confirmed that animals are only slightly distressed by a trapping experience. Foothold traps allow release of non-target animals.  

Trapping regulations consider best management practices  developed to improve traps and trapping methods. Veterinarians, who participated in the development of these BMPs, examined thousands of trapped animals for signs of injury. BMP recommendations include only those traps that cause the fewest injuries, minimal distress, and pass rigorous tests for welfare, selectivity, efficiency and safety.

Jerry D’Amico

Roxbury

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