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California becomes first state to ban commercial fur trapping

California fur trapping ban

Photo credit: Dreamstime

Last week, California banned commercial fur trapping, becoming the first state in the nation to bar the activity. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the bill on Wednesday, Sept. 4, making it illegal to trap animals either for recreational purposes or to sell the fur, Fox News reports. It is still legal, however, to use trapping for “pest control and public health” issues. 

“Fur trapping is a cruel practice that has no place in 21st century California,” said bill author Lorena Gonzalez, an assemblywoman from San Diego.

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In fact, over the past few years, fur trapping license sales have dropped. According to Fox News, in 2018, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife only sold 133 licenses, which resulted in trapping 1,568 animals and the sale of 1,241 pelts. What’s interesting is that that the legislative analysis completed for the bill found that most fur sales occurred outside of California and data suggested that “there have been no fur sales in the state for the past three years.”

However, on the other hand, about 500 trapping licenses have been issued within the Sunshine State for pest control and other uses, and those who obtain this sort of license do not have to report the number of animals captured this way. According to Fox News, while environmental groups like the Center for Biological Diversity support the fur trapping ban, others like the California Farm Bureau Federation are not in favor because they fear it will hurt ranchers and farmers who need to hire commercial trappers for wildlife control and crop protection. The farm bureau says the ban of both commercial trapping and fur selling will end that practice. 

The question remains, what will be banned next?


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Ed F. - posted 4 months ago on 09-14-2019 04:09:54 pm

Now coyotes have a sanctuary state maybe all the coyotes from Arizona and Nevada will go on over.

David T. - posted 4 months ago on 09-11-2019 08:25:26 pm

Public opinion isn’t even a consideration in this state (I live here). With hundreds of bills passed every year, many go through the system without notice. The big city politicians run the state with a super majority. Us rural folks in the minority are irrelevant. Combine this with increasing non-resident tag fees in Idaho, the home of my fall migration, has me looking at places there, despite the not so subtle not welcome signs. I think my best option as a hunter from northern CA may be to apply for protection under the endangered species act. That is an argument that may actually work here.

Matt F. - posted 4 months ago on 09-11-2019 06:30:35 pm

@Kent S. Makes a lot of sense. Glad to hear you were successful stopping it in Nevada. Wish we could have stopped them here in CA. Any thoughts on a way to reverse it?

Josh S. - posted 4 months ago on 09-10-2019 12:33:45 pm
S.E. Idaho

@Joseph R. That would be very cruel to the bears! If people think it's bad when a whale gets a 6 pack ring stuck on its fin, imagine what a plastic and silicone human would do stuck in a grizzly bears digestive system! Especially in the Hollywood hills where the people seem to be rotten from the inside out as well. Too bad we didn't let Mexico keep that place. California is a lost cause and I do my absolute best not to support their economy and stopped visiting there years ago.

Kent S. - posted 4 months ago on 09-10-2019 12:10:34 pm

I've been dealing with a lot of this political stuff here in Nevada, helping the Nevada Trappers Association and was in charge of getting the info out on Instagram about the Nevada bills for the coyote calling contest and trapping restrictions. In doing so, I was able to learn a lot about how politics work. Its all been very similar to the California stuff and is the perfect example for the rest of the states. Here's some info on how the politics work on these issues for anyone who is interested.

It is very difficult for the opposition to ban trapping. And by opposition, I'm not talking about political party because here in Nevada we had a lot of help from both sides. By opposition, I'm talking about antis. The reason it is difficult to just come out and ban trapping is because not many people are against trapping. In most polls, people could care less about it and is why trapping as a whole isn't voted on by the people. Also, the facts prove that trapping is effective and the most humane way to balance the predator ecosystem for good. Its why all federal agencies use it. The antis know this so they use emotion, which will over come the facts for a lot of people, to try to limit recreational trapper participation. First they go after the "cruel" leghold traps. It's very easy to pull emotional strings by staging trapped pictures (an example is a puppy dead in a trap that is to big for the puppy to even set off clearly showing that the picture was staged and was used to tray to ban leghold traps in Nevada). This emotional string will get people to agree that cage traps are better. This greatly reduces trapping numbers because of how ineffective and expensive it is to use. Luckily a few die trappers were able to come up with cage designs and methods to make this work especially for high dollar bobcats. So to counter this, they pull the emotional card again by banning bobcat trapping. They are "cute" so they can get people to agree with it. Also they are very elusive so they can make people think they are rare which obviously isn't the case. Now that you can't trap bobcats and have to use cages, trapping anything else just isn't worth it. Now trapping numbers are low. One thing most people don't know is all hunting/fishing/trapping license sales are good revenue for state wildlife agency budget. So to ban trapping is a revenue loss which no State wants to take on. The way trapping is in most states, most States can't afford to ban it. So if you believe in the scientific facts about trapping or not, you can't afford the financial loss. This potential financial loss is the last saving grace. Well when you have less then 80 trapping license sold in a season, there isn't much financial loss if you ban trapping. If they would have had even 100 more licenses sold each season for the last couple seasons, the bill wouldn't have made it through the budget committee and trapping would still be allowed in California.

So what can we take for this? Support all hunting/trapping/fishing activities. Oppose all bills that will restrict any of these activities even if the bill seems to make sense and is something you think you can live with. Purchase licenses like trapping licenses (which is required in some states to sell fur regardless of harvest method), hunting license, fishing license, stamps, and depredation tags like Mt. Lion tags even if you don't think you will use it that season. Also participate anyway possible to help fight bills even if its just sending one email to one committee member when a restrictive bill is proposed. In Nevada we hammered the 2 bills that were proposed. One for coyote contest, and one for trapping. The trapping bill took more work, but we wouldn't settle on anything because we understand that losing even one trapper could be the difference in having trapping or having trapping taken away. Because of all the respectful comments, emails, and phone calls from the hunting/fishing/trapping community, we were able to stop the bills before they could be voted on. It has seemed like we were slowly losing the battle across the country the last last 10-15 years, but this year I feel like we turned the tables in almost every state. Even though California lost trapping, I think it will help the rest of us even more.

Remember this isn't just a trapping issue. We are just the smallest group so we are the biggest target for now. We can obviously see the antis doing the same thing with houndsman, and now coyote hunters. But its not just those groups, they are doing the same thing to a smaller scale with all hunting. If we stop them at the smaller groups, they wont have a chance to go for the bigger groups.

Joseph R. - posted 4 months ago on 09-10-2019 12:07:46 am
Quarryville, PA

I feel like California is such an animal friendly state, the state of Idaho should trap some of their grizzlies and release them in the Hollywood hills so they'll have a sanctuary forever. What's the worst thing that can happen?

matthew a. - posted 4 months ago on 09-09-2019 04:31:06 pm
Tampa, FL

So, whoever developed the title is implying other states will soon follow?

Vance W. - posted 4 months ago on 09-09-2019 12:44:03 pm
Anthem AZ

Oh, what's next, they're just warming up. It's sky's the limit now.

Gary H. - posted 4 months ago on 09-09-2019 11:31:29 am

Time to open a pest control buisness and start selling those "Rare california hides"