A muskrat enjoys the sunshine on Sepa Lake Monday evening. (Kelly Sinoski photo - 100 Mile Free Press).

A muskrat enjoys the sunshine on Sepa Lake Monday evening. (Kelly Sinoski photo - 100 Mile Free Press).

Public invited to trappers’ convention open house

Trappers running numerous educational activities throughout Saturday

For the first time in 75 years, B.C. trappers are opening their annual convention to the public.

The public open house, slated for 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Saturday, May 7 at the South Cariboo Rec Centre, is aimed at educating the public on the role trappers play in local conservation efforts, said Kent Maitland, of the South Cariboo Trappers’ Association.

“What we’re really trying to do is change the perception people have of trappers,” he said. “We do more conservation work than we do trapping. We’re trying to find out why there is a drop in wildlife and how to improve habitat. We lobby a lot. A lot of mining and logging that goes in the backcountry really affects us.”

The day will feature various demonstrations, a trappers’ obstacle course and trappers’ games – including axe-throwing. Several children’s games are also planned along with a morning walk around 100 Mile Marsh with a trapper biologist, who will point out the different wildlife. South Cariboo Search and Rescue will also provide a demonstration, while various vendors and speakers will be on site.

A BBQ lunch of burgers and smokies, with proceeds going to the 100 Mile House Wranglers, will kick off at noon Saturday.

The public event falls midway of a four-day convention, which runs from May 5-8. About 200 B.C. trappers are expected to attend the event, which will feature a variety of information booths, speakers and skinning demonstrations on animals such as a fox, muskrat and marten.

Guest speakers include Rich and Sandi Mellon, of Alberta-based Trapping Inc. TV, while Lac La Hache trapper Paul Blackwell will demonstrate how to build modified fisher nesting boxes to provide habitats for fishers, which are red-listed because of a loss of habitat.

Maitland noted timber harvesting is having a big effect on animals like fishers, which need a large forested area to survive. The fisher nesting boxes help provide them with habitat areas where they can safely have their young and raise them. The trappers also make nesting boxes for martens and are involved in the ungulate enhancement program,

The basic model for trapping, Maitland said, is to only take what Mother Nature would take in winter naturally.

“The furbearers are our livelihood,” he said. “We don’t discriminately go out there and trap everything. The animals are still there because we don’t overharvest them.”

The local trappers’ association has 38 members, who own, lease or share traplines across the region for furs to sell on the international market or at auction. It had initially won the bid to host the event in 2020 but it was cancelled due to the pandemic so they reapplied and were successful again this year.

“Hopefully we get a good turnout for 100 Mile,” Maitland said. “The community has really stepped up for us. We want to thank the community.”


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