Laws relating to fur animals for the season 1925-26. Page: 2
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Farmers' Bulletin 1469
now killed every year were left for breeding stock this probably would not decrease
the annual catch more than 5 per cent, and within five years the supply of wild
fur animals would without doubt be increased 50 per cent.
That many trappers have been permitted to ply their trade out of season and
to gather pelts to the point of extermination of the fur bearers over large areas is
only one cause for our present shortage. Serious responsibility rests also on
fur buyers and their agents who, by accepting at a price all skins offered, thus
marketing illegal pelts, tempt trappers to make a thorough clean-up all along
their trap lines. Another factor in the scarcity of fur animals is found in the
greatly reduced fur-producing areas. The encroachment of civilization naturally
reduces the extent of such areas, but more thought and attention can well be
-given to the indiscriminate drainage of swamps and to the unnecessary cutting
and destroying of forests and cover.
Taking an unprime pelt is a deliberate waste of one of nature's most valuable
and beautiful gifts, and not until trappers and raw-fur men learn to look upon it
as such will the best use of our valuable resources in fur be realized.
Ill-advised open seasons are a natural result of lack of sufficient information
regarding the life habits of fur animals on the part of farmers, trappers, members
of the fur trade, legislative committees, and even of conservationists. The
seasons established by a number of States do little to prevent the decrease of fur
bearers in certain sections. A defect frequently noted in present fur laws is that
the open season provided is so long that it permits trapping before pelts are prime
in fall and after breeding is in progress in spring.
Fur is in prime condition for harvesting at one brief season only. An open
season of more than three months' duration is not justifiable anywhere in the
United States if the prime condition of peltries and the economic status of fur
animals were taken into consideration. That the seasons are not wisely determined
is emphasized by the fact that far too many unprofitable pelts are coming
to the raw-fur markets every year. A keener appreciation of conditions revealed
by studies of the habits, breeding seasons, and periods of prime fur on the part
of those concerned with the framing of laws and regulations governing trapping
would result in increased pelts of superior quality reaching the markets, thus
allowing greater financial rewards to trappers and at the same time augmenting
the numbers of breeders in the covers.
A few generations ago furs of many kinds were commonly taken in all sections
of the country, but now, with the depletion or extinction over great areas of certain
of the more prized species, the most valuable fur bearers, from the viewpoint
of financial returns from the annual catch, are muskrats, skunks, raccoons, and
REPORT OF TRAPPERS
The only satisfactory method of determining the number of skins taken annually
is to obtain a count before the pelts enter the trade. This can be done by requiring
the trappers to turn in an annual report of the numler of each species taken.
Several States already have such a provision in their fur laws, but not until every
State has adopted some system of recording the annual catch will it be possible to
estimate the number of fur borers taken annually in the United States.
The follwingltabieiain fr'ci the report of the State game and fish conllissioner
f '~iluestn'.6f4lrmiistes au eiampile of the data obtainable by requiring
licenlea'trappere .to remake aitaP'LeotU 8 of the number of fur ;inmals taken:
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Ashbrook, F. G. (Frank Getz), 1892- & Earnshaw, Frank L. Laws relating to fur animals for the season 1925-26., book, September 1925; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc6190/m1/4/: accessed February 21, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.