A Chilliwack canoeist who took videos of ducks in a beaver trap and a skunk in a leg-hold trap on Fairfield Island is concerned about what he’s seen.
The man who asked not to be named, took a video of two Mallard drakes, one dead, one caught by the wing in a beaver trap near a slough near Ballam and Kitchen roads last week.
The video shows the one deceased bird and the other frantically trying to get loose.
“Here’s the unfortunate result of an unscrupulous trapper setting a beaver trap on dry land and this time it has caught two Mallard drakes who may have been attracted by corn bait on this trap,” he says in the video. “The one with its wing destroyed is still alive so I’ll have to call it in and see what he Conservation Officer says because badly set traps in this area have been a problem.”
Two weeks before that, he got a video of a skunk caught in a leg-hold trap also near the slough but on dry land.
“This poor little skunk has gotten caught in some kind of horrible mole trap type mechanisms here,” he says in the video. “Let’s see if we can get him out.”
When asked about the incidents, the B.C. Conservation Officer Service (BCCOS) deflected questions to the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO), the ministry responsible for hunting and trapping.
The Ministry issues detailed trapping regulations as to what types of traps can be used on what animals in what regions at what time of year.
And while the trapping season for beaver in the Chilliwack area runs Oct. 15 to April 30, the beaver trap in questions is well within the limit of 200 metres from a residence, which is not allowed.
A Ministry spokesperson also said that if traps are set within municipal boundaries, the municipality needs to give their permission. City hall is aware of the ducks caught in the beaver trap.
“We were recently made aware that a licensed trapper accidentally caught a duck in an approved shallow water trap, but have no knowledge of the other trap you mentioned,” according to a city spokesperson. “As per the Ministry of FLNRO, dry land trapping is prohibited, so it would not be something the city would approve.”
Trapping is done in B.C. for multiple reasons: wildlife management purposes; to obtain furs, skins or meat; or for conservation purposes.
“It is an offence to trap in B.C. unless you have completed a Trapper Education Program approved by the director of the Wildlife and Habitat Branch,” a FLNRO spokesperson said via email.
“The Province reserves the right to remove nuisance animals from Crown land, including beavers where they adversely impact waterways, irrigation, and road/railway culverts, whether or not the Crown land in question is under a trapline registration.”
The province’s Hunting and Trapping Regulations can be downloaded from the ministry’s website here.