Spent the weekend learning about the art of trapping fur bearing critters. I completed my Maine Trappers Safety course over the weekend. It's a course designed to educate folks on all aspects of trapping fur bearing animals as well as the science behind the art. This course is required before anyone in my state can obtain a trapping license. I'm sure you are asking yourself what trapping cute little furry "innocent" critters has to do with farming...well quite a bit actually.
As a farmer I will need to be an expert in the area of husbandry...meaning I must be an expert in managing and conserving resources. I will be responsible for raising crops and livestock...being a land owner as well, I must practice healthy land management and sustainable forestry (hence the forestry workshop I took last year)...If I am raising critters and crops there are going to be other critters who see my critters and crops as a free meal. Any self respecting farmer will know how to "tend his flock" so to speak. I see trapping as a great tool for pest control as well as pest management. I'm not going to lie...I can make some $$ at it as well..to any farmer that is extra income and very much welcomed.
If any of you have ever tried to stop a coyote or fox from grabbing your chickens it's hardly a matter of walking outside and blasting them..or tracking them down...you must be familiar with their habits, know what time they are coming in for "breakfast" and where they sleep...the best pest control is active management before they slay 20 of your egg layers...Plus you have to sleep too..what are you going to wait up all night every night waiting for a fox or coyote to walk through? I doubt it..you could, but that's a hard way to live life. Instead set up a trap line to work while you sleep..it's just good business.
Keeping the population in check not only benefits me, but the pests as well. The best way for me to learn the habits of those predators is to trap them...after a couple seasons of trapping you will be an expert in animal behavior as well as the woods....
If you have a population of coyotes growing out of control like we do here in Maine..you have a dangerous scenario brewing.
One: coyotes are going to eradicate the deer herd and other creatures competing for food..
Two: coyotes are now going to become more desperate for food so they will take greater risks like coming into urban areas and farms more frequently..they will lose any fear of humans..
Three: When coyotes are starving and lose their fear of humans...well...then it's time to keep your kids inside. By this time you have a serious problem.
The best way to prevent anything like this happening is proactive management. I don't mean to pick on the Coyote because they aren't the only animals giving people trouble. Beavers, fox, fisher you name it. You could apply the same scenario to any out of control population growth from Bears to field mice.
A lot of farmers hire out their pest control to outside folks. My philosophy of a small scale low impact sustainable operation means I must limit the amount of things I import...pest control being one of them. I need to take these duties on myself in order to save $$$ and be profitable...plus it get's me outdoors and walking around in the woods..my favorite place to be.