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John,

After much thought on the law changes being proposed by the Dept. I feel compelled to give my opinion on the matter.

The shortened season on fisher, will in fact reduce the incidental take of lynx, will reduce the fisher and marten catch enough to increase their populations, and reduce the incidental take of eagles by 50% which most years are already 0. This I'll accept till the fisher rebound.

If traps are to be set on a pole 45 degrees or greater and be 4" in diameter or smaller then my trap of choice the 120 in a box will not work in a tree this small and steep. I will be forced to go back to my 220's. Which will catch more often bobcat and lynx. USFW and IF&W will have achieved nothing by making this change.

No conibers below 4'. This takes away a common practice of setting 110's and 120's on the ground for mink and muskrat, which has no history of catching lynx or eagles.

No exposed bait that an eagle might see, this is imposable to achieve and if anything it should read "no exposed bait from above" even then this rule will eliminate gang setting or setting of more then one trap in an area. How many times when gang setting for the many different furbearers, does the first animal caught became carrion for an eagle ? Or become bait for one of the other traps. If strictly enforced we'll have to avoid all use of bait in the future.

This entire exercise without a doubt in my eyes is nothing but a ploy to take away trapping in Maine. If truly the IF&W was concerned about furbearer populations in Maine then they need to take a hard look at otter, mink, and muskrat populations. If trappers accept any or all of these changes they have entered into a slippery slope one that will take all traps in just a couple of years. (lawsuit or no lawsuit) The incidental take of eagles and lynx in Maine has been very minimal considering their population levels. On the other hand our lynx and eagle numbers are rebounding greater then expected by MF&W and USF&W. A report on our past and achievements should be satisfactory to all.

I like comparisons for clarity so for instance, we had report cards in school to report our performance in the past, colleges used this report for acceptance into their enrolment, job resumes and work history is used for employment, never once has one been accepted only by making promises of change. This is why I feel trappers and those who represent us are taking us down the wrong trail one that will end all trapping in Maine. Data collected to date shows eagles and lynx have a much higher recruitment rate then some of the furbearers we trap. So obviously trapping is not a threat to their populations.

If this makes sense then distribute to other trappers in an effort to stand up for what's right!!!!

Best Dave
 
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