NEWS BRIEFS:

 

NOTE:

 

For inquiries related to registration of new applicants in the Trapper Education Course, please contact the Wildlife Division at 637-2006 during regular business hours, or by e-mail at huntertraining@gov.nl.ca

 

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"Effective October 28, 2015, NLTA Secretary Mac Pitcher has resigned from NLTA, citing strong professional differences with the President and his current association priorities. Website control and all responses to NLTA e-mail (nltrappersassoc@gmail.com) will be assumed by and responded to by the President, Ken White. Outgoing Secretary Mac thanks all of you whom he has had the pleasure of interacting with in the betterment of trapping, and hopes to renew old acquaintances in a future trapping-related role."

 

 

Submission to the Lands Act Review regarding Trapper Cabin Policy - Cabin Policy Update April 8, 2015.

 

The Lands Division is currently holding public consultations on a revised Lands Act (for more info see our Current Campaigns and Actions section). NLTA sees this process as an opportunity to achieve our goal of a new Trapper Cabin Policy. We had executive representation at the Corner Brook public meeting as well as a public meeting and a follow-up stakeholder meeting, both in St. John's. In addition we have made a written submission on behalf of trappers to the Lands Review Committee. 

 

 

NL Wildlife Disease Monitoring

During the 2014-15 trapping season, at the request of the Wildlife Division, the NLTA was asked to collect furbearer organ samples in an ongoing wildlife disease research project being conducted by the office of the Chief Veterinary Officer and Memorial University. An approximate total of twenty mink, twenty fox, 2 lynx and a few weasel spleens were submitted to the Chief eterinary Officer, Dr. Hugh Whitney. The role of trappers as the eyes and ears on the ground in wildlife management and wildlife disease investigations has long been recognized and is a positive aspect of our overall contribution. We encourage trappers to support such initiatives if called upon to do so. Submissions can be of specific organs or other carcass parts, or if more convenient, a complete carcass can be submitted. It is important that accurate collection date, location and other pertinent data accompany each submission. For more information on the ongoing animal disease investigations currently being undertaken by the Animal Health Division, please visit the following: http://www.nr.gov.nl.ca/nr/agrifoods/animal/animal_health/disease.html

Below is a summation of the current research project as provided by Dr. Whitney.

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We are currently studying the circulation of Aleutian Mink Disease Virus (AMDV) in mink farms in Newfoundland. AMDV is a parvovirus that can cause high mortality, reduced fertility and generally establishes a chronic infection that can persist in an animal for its entire life. The virus is also very stable in the environment and once it affects a farm it is very difficult to eradicate, resulting in consequential economic damage for farmers. The aim of our study is to monitor the spread of this virus within mink farms in Newfoundland and evaluate if the virus is able to pass from farmed mink to wild animals and from wild animals to farmed mink. We want to assess the potential role of wild and farmed animals as disease spreaders. This virus can infect a wide range of animals including foxes, weasels, skunks, otters, and raccoons. Therefore, the availability of samples where we can find and characterize the virus from a broad range of Newfoundland wildlife species (mink, fox, weasel, marten, otter, lynx,...) will allow us to obtain a complete picture of the situation. Additionally, three new related viruses have been recently discovered in foxes and raccoons in other locations. Many details about these viruses, such as their distribution and host range, are still unknown. We will test wildlife samples and evaluate if these viruses are currently present in this Province. The more samples we have available to screen, the better! Spleens are ideal samples for our virus characterization work.

Thank you to trappers for your support!

 

NL Trapper Cabin Policy Update

As of early December 2014, your executive is disappointed to report to our members that there has been no progress to date on a new trapper cabin policy. Since our early assurance from then Minister Burke that a process had started, NLTA has yet to receive any contact whatsoever from the Lands Division. Two subsequent letters this year (June and September) to Lands on this matter remain unanswered. Despite this inactivity, in the interim Lands was actively trying to collect trapper cabin rental arrears from an NLTA member. Your association attended this Small Claims Court session on behalf of our member and we were successful in having the matter dismissed from that level of court action. Should Lands wish to continue with their action, they will be required to take the matter to a higher court. Rest assured that we will be there again should this happen. Lands has changed Ministers multiple times this year. We will again try at the (newest) Minister level, and should that also be ignored, we will be left with no other alternative than to bring the matter to the attention of the Premier.

 

Approved River Otter Traps

It will be mandatory in the 2016-17 trapping season that all body-grip traps for otter be of the types certified by the Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards (AIHTS). Trappers should note this in their future trap purchases. For example Duke and Bridger traps are not certified for otter and if not certified by 2016-17 season, will become obsolete. Also of note, all certified otter traps are AIHTS-approved for use underwater only. This will mean that body-grip traps will not be allowed to be set on land. Although NLTA supports the underwater only use of large body-grip traps, we can see how this restriction on land use of approved otter traps will have a negative effect on many trappers who trap River Otters in remote locations along the sea-coast.

 

Approved Weasel Traps

It will be mandatory that kill type traps for weasel be AIHTS approved beginning in the 2015-16 season. Currently, some trappers successfully use small foot-hold traps in small containers as kill traps for weasel. Since no foot-hold traps are on the AIHTS approved list for weasel, the use of these foot-hold traps as weasel kill traps will become illegal. We recommend the use of Victor rat traps in enclosed wooden boxes as the most efficient and cost-effective means for harvest of this species.

 

Approved Lynx Kill Traps

Currently a number of devices are approved for restraint of lynx. There are also a number of body-grip traps approved for kill capture of lynx, and any trapper wishing to use body-grip traps for lynx will be required to use AIHTS approved traps beginning in the 2015-16 season. It is the position of NLTA that we discourage the use of large body-grip traps on land except on remote traplines.

 

Newfoundland Marten

It appears that Newfoundland Marten (a sub-species of American Marten) is showing exceptional population recovery and increasing distribution. This is possibly the result of the recent spread of Red-backed Voles throughout Newfoundland Island. This species is considered to be a primary marten food source in most of its North American range. Marten are now being accidently harvested in areas well outside their former core range of occupation. The species is currently listed as threatened, and is due for reassessment in 2017. It is important that trappers contribute all accidental capture data toward the reassessment process. If marten really have turned a corner, this needs to be known in the assessment process. It is our expectation that marten will soon be ranked as a secure species in Newfoundland, and that many of the trapping restrictions currently designed to avoid marten capture will no longer be required.

 

Lynx in Zone B

There are indications that lynx numbers are increasing in Zone B, which includes the Avalon and Burin Peninsulas. The lynx season in this area has been closed for a number of years following the last Snowshoe Hare population crash. Please ensure that you complete and submit your trapper licence return at the end of the season, and record your observation on the population health of this and all other species on your traplines. Wildlife managers rely on this trend data to establish open and closed seasons and season dates, and good data permits them to coincide our harvests with the optimal population peaks of this and other species.