Brian Emilo Webb of Middlebury isn't your stereotypical Vermont hunter or trapper. The 25-year-old college educated trapper approaches his passion for the outdoor lifestyle by studying natural resource management at the Paul Smith's campus in the Adirondacks. Like many young outdoorsmen and women of his generation, he approaches his trade with an eye on Vermont's precious hunting heritage and a new emphasis on, and respect for, the environment.
"There's a sad misunderstanding about the value of hunting, fishing and trapping here in Vermont. The outdoor community of sportsmen and women are conservationists in the true sense of the word," Webb said.
"In Vermont, trappers are licensed and required to meet state wildlife management criteria," he said. "There's so much ignorance about this way of life. Newcomers to Vermont-many from urban and suburban areas-say my hunting and trapping heritage is 'barbaric'. Well, they are wrong. I love wildlife. I love nature. And for that very reason, I want to protect hunting, fishing and trapping opportunities here in Vermont. I want my children to enjoy these freedoms. I don't want other people taking away my right to trap."
Webb points out that wildlife-when not endangered-is a renewable resource today-just as Native American tribes respectfully viewed their environment for thousands of years. He also notes that outdoorsmen and women today are more environmentally aware and more carefully regulated by the state than ever before; they are a new generation of stewards and go a long way to help maintain the balance in ever crowded Vermont.
"Trappers must complete an intense education course," Webb said. "And when a person receives a permit to trap, there's a lot of responsibility that comes with the ticket. For example: you must check your traps every 24 hours. Few critics know that modern traps are not indiscriminate; they are designed to hold the animal for which they were designed."