Trappers work to dispel misinformation with billboard campaign

(Photo courtesy of the Ontario Fur Managers Federation)

The Ontario Fur Managers Federation is fighting against misinformation with a new billboard campaign in six cities across Ontario, including Sarnia and Windsor.

General Manager Lauren Tonelli said the billboard campaign started Monday.

The group said animal rights groups have attempted to shed trappers in a particular light, but Tonelli said the opposite is true.

“I think the biggest piece of misinformation is trappers are out there to remove all this wildlife from the landscape, and they’re taking way too many, and it’s going to cause a population crash,” she explained. “Trappers are out there making sure that wildlife populations are at a healthy, sustainable level. They want to make sure that the species that are there for future generations — We’re really the ones who have the most invested in making sure that those fur-bearing populations are sustainable and stable.”

Tonelli also said some envision trappers using rusty old bear traps, but those traps are no longer in use.

“We’re very regulated on what traps we can use,” she said. “There are very specific, certified traps that are designed and tested to be as humane as possible.”

At first, one might think urban centres like Windsor and Sarnia are odd places to launch a public awareness campaign about trapping. However, Tonelli said many trappers are working in Southwestern Ontario.

“There are trappers throughout the entire province,” said Tonelli. “A lot of trappers do private land trapping.”

She said people might call a trapper if raccoons are causing problems on their property or beaver dams create flooding issues.

Tonelli also said trappers are trained professionals who often have related university degrees. She, herself, has a biology degree.

“Trappers are licensed, very knowledgeable people,” she said. “It takes a pretty long course to become a trapper.”

The campaign will run for about six weeks, ending on October 14.