Conservation Director Report
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Hello everyone, it is February and the fur season is just about all over for a lot of us. Fur prices are not what we like to see, but I don’t know too many rich trappers. It has been a nice year to get out and just have some fun trapping and trying new things.
I even got to do and little trapping with my grandson Treyson. He got to ride along with me. It was good to take him out and spent time with him as I show him how I catch coyotes. We had a good time and we took a few coyotes alone the way.
In January the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies had the US Furbearer Conservation Technical Work Group meeting. It was held in Jackson, Wyoming on January 17-20. The weather was beautiful and there was only 4 to 5 foot of snow on the ground .
Attended the meeting was Bryant White-AFWA, John Erb-MN, Pat Jackson- NV , Jay Butfiloski- SC, Derek Broman-OR, Laura Palmer-KY, Matt Peek- KS, Matt Lovallo- PA, Colleen Olfenbuttel-NC, Don MacLauchan- Americans Fur Resource Council, Greg Waters-GA, Dave Hasting- FTA Gary Jepson-FTA, Mike Beres- President of WTA, and Tom Krause and I for the NTA.
Publications: Wildlife Monograph on BMPs, TWS Book Chapter on Furbearer Management and Arctic Fox Publication were the first thing that was on the agenda. The furbearers management book is now ready.
Black Bear CITES export authority/tagging by states-current situation and next steps was addressed. There was not much interest by the state with a bear season to get CITES tags. We are going to look at different ways to contact the states for bear CITES tags for export reason, which would make it better if you would want to sell your bear skins, at the NAFA sales.
Status update on BMPs in progress on the Wolverine is a ongoing. Working with the Canada and the Alaska Fish & Game alone with the Alaska trappers to try and get this last BMP off the ground is a ongoing thing. Bryant is working with both groups to get something going this summer and early fall of 2017 .
The National Trap Use Survey - species specific results and implications for outreach, state BMP use and trapping regulations survey - has been sent out and returned. It's now in the possess of being compiled. This should be done by spring or early summer.
Tom Decker call in and talked on the use of BMP trap policies on national refuges. Trapping Matters and Fur Schools are still going on and have a few more set up in a few states.
Matt Peek of Kansas has been working on a body-gripper white paper and it is all but finished. The group has been working on this for a few years. If I do say, it looks nice and is very well put together. The group has just one last review on it.
Group discussion priorities for BMP efforts in 2017-18, In addition to BMPs of traps tested in Canada and to review of data on bodygrip traps for various species.
Group discussion was wide ranging. It included development of policy on bodygrip inclusion in BMPs, development of a list of bodygrip selectivity research ideas and other projects, BAD ( Break Away Devises) load testing, efficiency/selectivity testing, and the role of the working group at the national level, development of BMP Awareness Strategy, and wild fur certification: NAFA’s new plan.
Many updates and issues were presented by representatives: West- Derek Broman and Pat Jackson, Southeast- Jay Butfiloski, Laura Palmer, Colleen Olfenbuttel, and Greg Waters, Midwest- Matt Peek and John Erb, Northeast- Matt Lovallo, FTA- Dave Hastings and Gary Jepson and Rick Friedrich on the lawsuits issues that the NTA has ongoing.
At the end of the day we had time to take a field trip to the National Elk Refuge which was only about 5 minutes north of the hotel we was staying. It was a little cool but not bad. The tour was about 45 minutes long and very interesting. Yes and we seen a few elk and one lone Bison calf but he did not care about the 2000 elk around him.