By KAREN WELLS
STONEVILLE — With over 40 years of hunting and trapping experience, Rex Hodder gave up on trying to snare rabbits for a while this past season.
For at least 25 years he had caught rabbits using a stainless steel wire slip.
“It worked excellent,” said Mr. Hodder. “There was no way to fault it.
“Only about one in 50 rabbits would get away.”
He said about five years ago stainless steel slips were not allowed anymore. Now anyone looking to set out rabbit slips has to use 22 gauge brass wire or six-strand picture cord.
“Now with this wire eight out of 20 (rabbits) get away,” he said.
Mr. Hodder said provincial regulations changed to use different wire because it was thought the threatened Newfoundland marten would be able to have a better chance of escaping the new wires, but not the stainless steel.
He said he doesn’t disagree with protecting a species when necessary, but for all the time he and his friends spend in the woods in and around Stoneville, Mr. Hodder said none of them have ever encountered one of these martens.
What makes him question the wire choice even more is the fact that trappers, including Mr. Hodder, can still legally set out conibear traps. He said at any given time during the season allowed for these traps, there could be hundreds set out in the local woods.
“These traps are designed to kill,” he said. “If it can trap a mink, what is to stop it from trapping a marten which is about the same size – the only real difference in them is their colour.”