Wyoming Game and Fish Announces Rare Opportunity for Public Input About Future Direction
No one needs to tell us that nongame species have long suffered as low priority in Wyoming’s wildlife management. However, our Wyoming Game & Fish Department is now providing an unprecedented opportunity to contribute public input to drive the future of Wyoming’s wildlife. This opportunity follows a WGFD Programmatic Evaluation by the Wildlife Management Institute as requested by the State of Wyoming to review 12 selected programs within WGFD. The result of this directive will be substantial new research to understand attitudes toward agency priorities and management issues of concern by the public, including all Wyoming residents. This process will guide WGFD in developing a new agency-wide strategic plan.
- Are we concerned? Of course.
- Do we feel skeptical? Maybe.
- Do we believe in the Power of Numbers? Better still.
Rarely does this invitation to speak out come along. Now, it is really up to the unheard and under-represented public, YOU, to speak your mind, loud and strong on behalf of the furbearing speechless. Only by triggering that notorious power of numbers will we succeed.
Friends, relatives and colleagues of Wyoming Untrapped: NOW is the time to Take Action!
The actions outlined here comprise what might well be the most substantive path we can take to mobilize on behalf of Wyoming Untrapped supporters.
Our Wyoming Game & Fish Department has just launched its feedback initiative, “Forging the Future of Wyoming’s Wildlife,” making it easy to provide input in three ways:
- An online Wildlife Forum
- “Stay Up to Date” email updates
- Ten statewide Public Meetings
It is usually most effective to be persuasive, but not rude, sarcastic or angry. Speak from the heart of one who is more inclined to support our Game & Fish Department if and when doing what is best and right for all residents and visitors in Wyoming, now and into the future. Original words directly from your own heart and mind are more likely to be given consideration than words and phrases that sound scripted.
Wyoming Game & Fish manages both hunting and trapping, but it is the latter that has become most susceptible to the shifting tide of twenty-first century wildlife management philosophy and public intolerance. Focus the energy of your words on trapping reform and wildlife watching.
How should you say it?
Wrap your own words around a spectrum of reasons to send trapping practices to the “gut pile”. Reasons that might speak to:
- emerging trends in national wildlife management;
Should we value and protect wildlife as vital contributors to the health of our public landscapes, and for the intrinsic character and worth of all furbearing animals? Should we value the significant impact of wildlife watching on tourism – Wyoming’s 2nd largest industry? Is Wyoming’s wildlife management not keeping pace with our modern society’s views?
- wildlife management should better represent the values of all citizens;
Our wildlife is a public treasure owned equally by all citizens and taxpayers. Therefore, it is not just that a few people are allowed to indiscriminately trap and kill this wildlife. Trapping and snaring greatly reduces the number of animals and thus the number of wildlife sightings for the public – depriving them of much pleasure.
- unacceptable deaths and severe injuries to non-target species; even animals released alive may later die from their injuries;
We don’t know how many non-target animals are trapped/snared, injured or killed in traps each year. Should all of the ~thousands of non-target animals be required reporting by trappers?
- personal experience with a companion animal caught in a trap;
Should warning signs be required in areas where there are traps and snares to increase public safety? Traps are legal on all public trails where dogs can be walked. Should there be 300 ft setbacks off trails, or trap-free areas where anyone can have a reasonable expectation of safety on our public lands? Should trappers be accountable for injuries or death to your pet?
- the absence of sportsmanship, fair chase, and compassion in trapping;
Every animal in Wyoming, including endangered species, is a possible victim of traps and snares. Is it fair chase not to know your target? Or to sit at home on a couch and wait for a catch?
- the pure cruelty of trapping causing injuries, exposure, dehydration and mental stress, and often immense suffering;
Should all trap-check time requirements be reduced to 24 hour trap checks, or should traps be eliminated from our landscapes? Jeremy Bentham famously asked, “The question is not, ‘Can they reason?’ Nor, ‘Can they talk?’ But, “can they suffer?'”
- how our public lands should remain safe havens for all;
All people, pets and wildlife should have a reasonable expectation for safety on our public lands, which means trap-free areas for all.
- how the overall management of trapping is rarely cost-effective;
A furbearer trapping license costs $45 for all you can catch. How can that be cost-effective for our state? Should one license be required for each furbearer species with a limited quota?
- how trapping, which is not based on a science foundation, does little or nothing for effectively managing any species population;
We don’t have a population count on our state furbearers, but we allow unlimited quotas. Should we place quotas on all furbearer trapping? Where is the science?
- how trapping has long ago lost its charm as a Wyoming tradition, let alone an American one;
A growing debate about the legitimacy of trapping shows that a shift is coming. Trapping for fun, trophies, fur and feeding one’s ego is no longer acceptable by a growing modern population.
- how trapping rarely serves any citizen other than the one who owns the trap;
Is it time to create a statewide Trapping Advisory Committee to lend a citizen’s perspective to WGFD in reviewing the science and management of trapping, and predicting and anticipating public sentiment?