The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission recently voted 3-3 to deny a citizen petition that would have banned the trapping of beavers on federal forest land. In a June 2020 attempt to push this agenda, proponents of the effort claimed that more beavers would lead to more Coho salmon in Oregon rivers and streams. After failing to justify this outrageous claim with science before the commission, animal-rights activists quickly regrouped and argued that the state’s Climate and Ocean Change Policy, which says, “Wildlife shall be managed in Oregon to prevent the serious depletion of any indigenous species,” justified the need for the regulatory change. The Sportsmen’s Alliance, along with a diverse coalition of national and state partners, argued that the petitioners lacked data showing trapping was negatively impacting beaver populations, a position which was supported by the ODFW’s furbearer biologists.
Based on Oregon Division of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) biologist findings, it is clear there is no negative impact on beaver populations as a result of trapping, therefore there was no justification under the Climate and Ocean Change Policy to change the furbearer trapping regulations. ODFW’s furbearer biologists agree with maintaining the existing furbearer regulations, because (1) trapping and hunting beavers during the breeding and pregnancy season has no effect on population numbers and distributions, (2) all suitable habitat is occupied in the state, (3) a beaver colony of six requires 18 acres of willow trees every year, and (4) there are no major economic effects of the existing rule.
“Folks who stand for wise, science-based wildlife conservation enjoyed a big success in Oregon. National support from the Sportsmen’s Alliance, National Trappers Association and the Fur Takers of America were important, but the real core of the team was in the coalition of many important, diverse interests in Oregon,” said Dave Hastings President of Fur Takers of America. “Oregon trappers are no strangers to this kind of battle, but the breadth of the coalition spoke volumes about the importance of science, facts and data. From Farm Bureau to the Oregon Hunters Association to The Wildlife Society and beyond, a position of values was met by science and fact. It is never over but, for now, we celebrate this success.”
“The Sportsmen’s Alliance appreciates the commissioners and staff at ODFW that voted and advocated to uphold the tenets of North American Model of Wildlife Conservation in protecting beaver trapping,” said Jacob Hupp, associate director of state services at the Sportsmen’s Alliance. “This was a huge victory, not just for Oregon’s trappers but for all sportsmen. As a whole, we must continue advocating for wildlife management decisions that focus on population science and data, not emotions or political theatre.”
About the Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Sportsmen’s Alliance protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research. Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible. Stay connected to Sportsmen’s Alliance: Online, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.