Modifications Proposed to Current Trapping Law

The following letter composed by the Committee for Responsible Wildlife Management (CRWM) to the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture, describes the CRWM’s position of support for pending legislation regarding modifications to current trapping laws. For more information on the Committee for Responsible Wildlife Management please visit their website

Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture
473F State House
Boston MA 02133

Subject: Support for HB750

Dear Joint Committee Senate Chairman Pacheco, House Chairwoman Gobi and members,

Please accept this written testimony in support of Representative Stephen Kulik’s House Bill 750, An act conserving our natural resources. This wildlife management bill provides much needed, reasonable modifications to our existing trapping law that will help our state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) participate in and better manage our wildlife resources.

HB 750 will accomplish this by establishing joint regulating responsibility and authority between the Department of Health and Safety (DHS) and the DFW. The existing law remains in tact for health and safety concerns, while allowing the DFW the ability to regulate specific types of traps during an established season or for the purposes of research or threats to listed threatened and endangered species. Three devices are specifically identified in the bill, two of which did not exist when the current trapping law was enacted in 1996. The third device being the Conibear® style trap currently used routinely throughout the Commonwealth via reactive 10-day health and safety permits. All three of these devices have been extensively tested both within the United States and internationally, meeting rigorous ISO standards where the welfare of that animal is of the highest priority. A high degree of regulation of these devices by both our DHS and DFW ensures that animal welfare remains a top priority, while safety to people, our children, pets and livestock are held to the highest standard as well.

The existing reactive law, where lethal trapping is granted only after a problem is identified, has created more wildlife conflicts across the state, sustained higher beaver populations and ironically kills more beavers annually now than prior to the change is the law 18 years ago. HB 750 shifts our wildlife population “management” strategy from a purely reactive system to one that proactively monitors, anticipates, and adjusts to minimize future potential issues before they occur. It also provides the critical tools needed to effectively and quickly react, if need be to serious health and safety problems as a situation unfolds.

HB 750 An act conserving our natural resources is a reasonable modification to the trapping law that balances the essential needs of wildlife with the needs of our own population where we can coexist in a positive way, with animal welfare considered as a top priority. This requires us to actively participate in a reasonable, responsible way using laws and regulations that make sense. Please join me in support of this important wildlife management legislation.


Herb Bergquist – Committee for Responsible Wildlife Management President