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Letter: Grand Island should ban trapping on town lands

Grand Island should ban trapping on town lands

A pro-trapper is against a trapping ban on Grand Island town lands even though the ban wouldn’t prohibit trappers from trapping they might do on thousands of other acres.

At town meetings, I’ve heard pro-trappers say trappers are the “public” so they should be allowed to trap on public land. Just because it’s public land doesn’t mean the “public” can do anything it wants on that land. Towns usually have restrictions on what the public may do on town land.

Hikers, cross-country skiers, wildlife watchers, etc., visit town lands, then leave. Trappers, however, take over areas on town land and make it theirs for more than a few hours. Trappers are known for their “traplines.” Dozens of traps can be set, taking up a lot of town land – for days or weeks.

If people are walking or skiing on town land and come upon a trapline, the law states they cannot touch or interfere with the traps. If people see an animal caught in a trap, they cannot free it, no matter if it is an eagle or another bird. Also, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, a person may not free someone’s dog or cat.

Currently, trappers’ traplines are off limits to the general public even when they’re on public land. Visitors who find trapped animals must go on their way, ignoring the suffering they’re leaving behind. We need the trapping ban so that trappers don’t have more rights on public land than the general public does.

Valerie Will

Orchard Park