Trapping attracts young, educated Vermonters

In the case of Vermont's fisher-cat population, Webb said that trappers-along with renewed wilderness preservation-have been responsible for helping the animal make a big comeback.

"Back in the 1920s," he said, "fishers (Martes pennanti) were almost extinct here due to extensive logging and unregulated trapping. But today, we have a very robust, healthy fisher population. It's clear trappers have had a responsible hand in this good news."

With human populations on the increase-and new housing appearing in many locations-hunting and trapping is even more crucial to conserve our animal population, according to Webb and other trappers in the state.

But not every New England state is intelligent when it comes to wildlife conservation, Webb noted.

He pointed to nearby Massachusetts as a prime example of extreme wildlife protection gone terribly wrong.

It is illegal to trap beaver in Massachusetts, Webb said. As a result, taxpayers have ended up footing a very big public bill-to the tune of millions of dollars-every year for road and bridge repairs thanks to excessive beaver-pond flooding. There are simply too many beavers in the Bay State.

If the Massachusetts beaver population was better maintained-with the aid of an educated and regulated trapping community-there'd be far less road and bridge damage; that'd be a huge saving to the taxpayers. Instead, the perception is-'do not hunt or trap any wild animal'.

The result, he noted, is a beaver population bomb that is damaging infrastructure and fouling waterways, even rural drinking water supplies.

Webb learned his trapping skills from his father Lyle Webb and Uncle Jim Webb, also native Vermonters. The Webbs own a home in Addison County surrounded by the Green Mountain National Forest.

The younger Webb, with a trusty black-and-tan coon dog named Duke, frequents the cabin and uses it as a base camp and a place to prepare furs. From there, he often sets out to trap beaver, fisher and fox. During weekend breaks at Paul Smith's in the Adirondacks, Webb has trapped coyote, martin, beaver and raccoon.

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