Connecticut House Bill 5324, introduced by the Select Committee on Children, would prohibit trappers from setting any leghold trap on or within 1,500 feet of any school or day care property, state park, municipal park, municipal playground, public road or highway, public boat ramp, public campground, rest area, public picnic area, blazed trail, or state hiking ground. HB 5324 is being pushed by Committee Chair Diana Urban (D-Stongington).
If passed, the new restrictions would take away a significant portion of land available to the state’s trappers. This ban has been estimated to affect as much as 95% of all trappable land in the state. In addition, this bill would even ban many trappers from trapping on their own personal property.
The bill proponents are trying to brand trapping as dangerous to children. It is titled “An Act Concerning Child Safety by Restricting the Placement of Leghold Traps” and is being pushed by anti-trapping groups, like the Connecticut Humane Society and Born Free USA. According to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, there have been no reports of children ever being caught in traps. The Department also opposes the bill.
“There is absolutely no legitimate justification for banning trapping more than a quarter mile from those areas,” said Jeremy Rine, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance in-house counsel and associate director of state services. “The bill’s proponents are running a misdirection campaign in an effort to scare legislators. This isn’t about child safety, it’s about banning trapping. This is clearly a solution in search of a problem.”
Additionally, the bill requires trappers to report to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection all animals that are caught which are “non-target” animals. This could include legally trapped animals and animals that are released unharmed.
While trapping has not been a danger to school children it has provided many benefits to the public. It reduces overpopulated animals that carry the rabies virus, while controlling predator populations, like coyotes, that are threats to people—especially children—and pets if left unchecked.
Take Action! All Connecticut sportsmen should contact their state representatives and ask them to oppose House Bill 5324. Tell them trapping is safe and that trapping helps control rabies and predator populations. To find your representative’s contact information, visit www.sportsmensalliance.org/LAC.