Monday, January 19, 2015

Fen, Forest, Field, and Fur Trapping

I don't go to McKee-Beshers too often as the water table is too high too hold many dens, but since I was taking the pups on walk-about, and not really hunting, it seemed a likely location on this over-cast winter's day.

McKee-Besher's is mostly deer hunting (shotgun and bow only), turkey, and ducks and geese. There is a special water dog training area, and there's a lot of shallow swamp which is spongy-dry part of the year -- what the Brits might call a "fen".

The solid land is mostly fields planted in corn and soy, with shelter belt woods in between, and a number of fields planted in sunflowers and millet to bring in the doves. This day, however, the fields were crowded with crows.

As I drove down the hunt road, I noticed a white bit of paper appended under the yellow "public hunting" area signs, and I am glad I slowed to read it.

I was a bit alarmed to find public land where dogs are trained and used to hunt is also being used for trapping.


There's no shortage of private farms in the area, and very few trappers to serve as a constituency. And even if one is going to allow trapping on public lands, why would you allow it next to a dog-training area??  This is madness, or at the very least stupidity.

Suffice it to say that the pups and I stayed on the very wide main path, and they were never off- leash.

For the record, I have a trapping license in the state of Maryland and also a Group Furbearer Permit aka, a Hunt Master permit, as well as a regular hunting license. Every year the state of Maryland asks me my thoughts about trapping.  In the past, I have not weighed in.  This year, I certainly will!

All photos taken with i-Phone.


Donald McCaig said...

Dear Patrick,
I permit selected trappers onto my farm. I have also extracted my dog's paw from a small (muskrat?) trap and like you, can't understand why anyone would allow dogs and traps on the same land at the same time.


Noel said...

Looks like a great area for trapping muskrats and raccoons - and I'll bet requests for trapping permission is what resulted in the designation, and the signs were a nice addition (or a response to stolen traps or reports of trapping). "Dog training area" means retriever to most people, setter/pointer to others, hound to fewer yet, and terrier to almost nobody. So I'd imagine the idea of foothold traps isn't that scary to big-dog owners. A #1 or #1 1/2 foothold is very painful but not very damaging to your thumb, probably less so to bigger dog's paw - a little 8-9 lb. terrier, I'm NOT so sure. trapping is a legit use of public land, and the signs are a good cautionary step. My guess? the property sees just one terrierman, and just one trapper. Neither are commonplace!

seeker said...

I saw the post on your facebook page by one of your friends who recently had a dog killed by a trap. This is horrible and I am terribly sorry for his loss. I do hope this is not commonplace and he finds some sort of peace with it. Terribly loss and waste of a precious life.

Debi and the Jack/Rat pack.