Polk asks state to allow legal trapping for furbearersPublished 2:02pm Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Polk County Commissioners are asking the state to amend House Bill 744 to include Polk County as legal to trap furbearers during trapping season.
Furbearers listed with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission include beaver, bobcat, coyote, grey fox, groundhogs, mink, muskrat, nutria, opossum, otter, raccoon, red fox, spotted skunk, striped skunk and weasel.
It is currently not legal to trap furbearers, or animals such as coyotes, beavers and muskrats due to a 1975 state law that excluded Polk, Rutherford and Cleveland Counties from being able to trap furbearers.
Commissioners met Jan. 7 and approved a resolution asking the state to amend House Bill 744 to include Polk County on the list of counties that allow for the legal trapping of furbearers during the regular trapping season as set forth by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.
The resolution brought several speakers in favor of the petitioning the state for the amendment.
Polk County resident and retired Major with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission John Blanton said when the law was passed in 1975 the beaver and coyote population in Polk County was basically nonexistent but now they are abundant. Blanton said beavers do major damage to property and the wildlife commission has allowed night hunting of coyotes to help eliminate the animals. He also said muskrats are hazards and Polk County has had cases of fox and skunks with rabies.
“There’s no scientific basis for this local law,” Blanton said.
Blanton also said Polk’s trapping season would be from Nov. 1 to Feb. 28 with restrictions applying to trap sizes and where they can be placed.
Polk County Cooperative Extension Director John Vining said he was representing many in local agriculture. Vining said coyotes have been a problem in Polk County for about 15 years and beavers for the past seven to eight years. He said local residents have problems with creeks being dammed by beavers and problems with coyotes killing small pets.
“Dogs and cats show up missing and many cases it’s coyotes,” said Vining.
Frank Smith said four dams that beavers placed in White Oak Creek have been taken out with some causing flooding.
“These beavers are damaging timber,” Smith said. “They are a very destructive animal and they need to be eliminated. We should cooperate with wildlife to get rid of these things.”
He also said he’s had problems with coyotes.
Former wildlife control agent Jason Kilgore also said he got many calls due to damage from coyotes. He said one man was losing his sheep and lamb.
“Regulated trapping is an integral component of wildlife conservation programs, as it controls abundant wildlife, removes nuisance animals, aids in restoring native species, and protects habitat, property and threatened and endangered species,” states the N.C. Wildlife Resource Commission’s website at ncwildlife.org.
Changing the trapping law will require a local bill through N.C. Legislation. The county will send the request to Senator Ralph Hise and Rep. Chris Whitmire to ask them to sponsor the bill.
It is unlawful to:
- Sell or otherwise transfer ownership of the carcass or pelt of a bobcat or otter without first tagging it with the appropriate tag available from the Wildlife Resources Commission. The fee is $2.20 for each bobcat or otter tag. You may purchase these tags by telephone, 888-248-6834, using a VISA or MasterCard credit card, or you can mail your request along with the fee to: NCWRC, Bobcat/Otter Tags, 1707 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1707. Include your name, address, date of birth and WRC number. NOTE: All bobcat and otter fur must be tagged within 10 days of the close of the applicable season.
- Open or damage a beaver lodge without a permit from the Wildlife Resources Commission. Sell or otherwise transfer ownership of live armadillo, beaver, bobcat, groundhog, mink, muskrat, nutria, opossum, otter,raccoon, skunk and weasel.
- Take red and gray fox except where provided by state or local law. For more information about fox trapping seasons, visit the Trapping > Seasons/Limits page at and click on the “fox” tab.
- Take wild animals by trapping upon the land of another without having in possession written permission issued and dated within the previous year by the landowner or his agent. This restriction does not apply to public lands on which trapping is not specifically prohibited including tidelands, marshlands, and any other untitled land.
Remove or disturb any lawfully set trap or remove any fur bearing animal from a trap without permission of the trap owner.