Youth learn trapping laws, ethics
“Our country was founded on the trapping industry. Every major city on the Mississippi River was a fur-trading post at one time. This is the best way I know to pass on a generational industry … We’re trying to pass on something that is of vital importance.”
Those are the thoughts of Alabama youth trapping mentor Michael Stevens. Stevens was part of a Youth Trapping workshop hosted Saturday at Rep. Johnny Mack Morrow’s Cypress Cove Farm in Red Bay. Numerous state, national and volunteer organizations were involved in the program that began ten years ago and just enjoyed its third year in Red Bay.
Mike Sievering, Alabama Trappers Predator Control Association president, said the program was initiated by the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division with assistance from the Alabama Trappers and Predator Control Association, USDA Wildlife Services and Safari Club International because the conservation department felt trapping was an important wildlife management tool. Students who attend the workshop are taught about the traps, including how to safely handle them and how to trap both ethically and legally. Students get to practice handling the traps and then go out with mentors to set their own traps.
The youth trapper workshops now educate more than 300 students yearly in eight sessions held across the state through February.
Trapping, Morrow said, is a wildlife management tool that helps to limit pesky predators in Alabama, such as beavers – which are a threat to farmland as well as timber – along with deer populations. Trapping is also a sport in which children can engage; it’s one more way to involve young people in their communities and the world.
“They need to know the techniques and the equipment, and that’s what they are learning here,” Morrow said.
Stevens added, “It says in the Bible, we are supposed to manage the things of this world. This is one of those things we’re to manage.”
For more information about future workshops, go to www.outdooralabama.com/alabama-youth-trapper-education-workshops, or go to www.atpca.org and search for outreach events.