On Heels of Anti’s Lawsuit Maine Seeks Trapping Protection for State & Trappers

On Heels of Anti’s Lawsuit Maine Seeks Trapping Protection for State & Trappers

U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance
U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance

Columbus, OH –-(Ammoland.com)- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has formally announced that it is considering issuing an incidental take permit to Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

This allows for the accidental take of a small number of Canada lynx in traps set by sportsmen for other legal species.

This is the latest step in a long battle against anti-trapping groups who have attempted to use the Canada lynx’s status as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to ban trapping in the state.

In 2006 and 2008, anti-trapping groups sued the state seeking to stop Maine’s trapping season by claiming that the protected Canada lynx might accidentally be caught by a trapper while attempting to trap other legal species.

The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation (USSAF), along with the Maine Trappers’ Association, Fur Takers of America, National Trappers’ Association, and several individual sportsmen, intervened in the cases, ultimately winning a landmark victory for trapping in the state. At the same time, this sets a legal precedent nationally that makes it harder for antis to use the ESA to try and ban hunting, fishing, or trapping.

An incidental take permit issued by the USFWS would help shield the state from similar lawsuits seeking to shut down trapping. The permit would allow the state, and licensed trappers, to accidentally trap a small number of Canada lynx, when trapping for other legal species, without being in violation of the ESA. Essentially, the permit would recognize that a few accidentally caught Canada lynx do not threaten the species’ ability to survive and recover.

Without the permit, anytime a Canada lynx is accidentally caught in a trap, it is a violation of the ESA by the trapper, even if the animal is released unharmed. To be clear, the permit does not allow for the intentional trapping of Canada lynx but would act to protect the state and trappers who might accidentally trap one while trapping for other legal species. The permit would also include a cap on the total number of lynx that could be accidentally trapped.

The USFWS will seek and review public comments before making a final decision on the incidental take permit. It can then choose to approve the permit as written, deny the permit, or approve the permit with additional restrictions on trapping within the state.

“Maine has already enacted strict rules and reporting requirements for trappers in the state to help ensure that Canada lynx are not accidentally caught in traps,” said Jeremy Rine, USSAF associate director of state services. “

We hope that the Fish and Wildlife Service will grant Maine’s request for the incidental take permit without any new, unnecessary restrictions on trappers.”

The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance is a national association of sportsmen and sportsmen’s organizations that protects the rights of hunters, anglers and trappers in the courts, legislatures, at the ballot, in Congress and through public education programs. Visit www.ussportsmen.org.