It is the responsibility of the outdoorsman to respectfully make the best use of every animal harvested, not the responsibility of legislators.
On Aug. 4, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 273, also known as the Wildlife Protection Act of 2019, which outlaws the trapping of animals and the sale of their pelts, ending a practice that has been around since people first settled into what would become the state’s eventual borders. If there was ever any doubt that California’s legislature is severely lacking in sportsmen and outdoorsmen, this new law makes it clear.
The chief reason for banning the fur trade, or at least the most practical reason, was the number of licenses being sold were not covering the cost of regulating the trapping program.
Only 68 trappers were licensed, and they harvested roughly 1,500 pelts, according to the bill. But rather than continue to allow rural Californians to keep their outdoor lifestyle and try to consolidate their hunting regulation, California did what it does best and just outright banned the trade.
The animals being trapped were not threatened in population in the slightest. Rather, many would consider them pests. Badgers, beavers, foxes, coyotes, skunks, opossums and raccoons were all animals commonly dispatched for their fur and are all animals that are frequently the cause of agricultural pestilence.
Now, farmers who actually set out traps to deal with wild pests have to completely waste the bodies of their kills, as by law it would be illegal for them to sell the fur. They’re unable to respectfully make use of the animals’ bodies.
Many may wonder why is it worth getting annoyed when only 68 people lost their ability to trap furs. Conservatives should be rejoicing over the end of a costly government program. The issue with this law is that it was passed without any honest consideration for sportsmen.
As soon as the bill was passed, lawmakers in California were celebrating their social justice victory, with Newsom tweeting a picture of a puppet otter seemingly giving a press release with the caption reading, “My friends & I should not have to live in fear of being trapped & our fur being sold!” as if trappers are cold-blooded killers.
Sportsmen will be upset by this new bill, and rightfully so. What was once a way of life is now illegal because California’s legislators could not find a way to make money off of trappers. People who have to set out traps for pest purposes, which is legal for now, will have little choice other than letting the pest go to waste.
An entire section of the economy is dead because fur manufacturing in California is now illegal.
Outdoorsmen need to keep up their heritage, wet a line and get out this hunting season. Clearly, if we do not keep up our traditions, our traditions will be shut down.
Brett Landry is a 20-year-old mass communication senior from Bourg, Louisiana.