And just like that, five years have come and gone. We’ve dissected misconceptions around predator management, pointed to important aspects of wildlife conservation funding, exemplified the leaps and bounds the broader trapping community continues to improve upon, and even made room to reference the current trends of mitigating the needs of people with the needs of wildlife.
While the regulated hunting and harvest of abundant black bear populations relies on conservation-minded modes to administer a selective seasonal hunt, nuisance black bears desperate for a meal or causing public safety issues are dealt with when the damage takes place - regardless of time of year or the scientific merits of removing such individuals from the landscape.
A few years ago I was asked how I thought we could get more people interested in conserving land and water, and my answer was simple. Teach them to hunt, fish, and trap. Give people an activity which intimately connects them to these resources, and then give them a place to do it.
The Virginia incident is the latest in an over decade-long string of rabid beaver attacks. Being a density-dependent disease, does the influx in beaver/rabies cases highlight a species that is reaching or exceeded natural carrying capacity? Are rabid beavers becoming more prevalent or are we just becoming more aware of rabid beavers?
The knee-jerk cliché “they were here first” argument may very well be a valid one, but it detracts from the core issue; how do we continue to live among what has become, for lack of a better term, an evolutionary unprecedented apex predator?