Duck Hunters Prey on Predators in North Dakota

About 200,000 acres of prime wetland in North Dakota have had virtually all of their raccoons, fox, and skunks eliminated by trapping. Steel jaw leghold traps, necksnares, and conibear traps were used. The trapping has been conducted out of season, in the springtime when mothers are rearing their young, by trappers who received a bonus for doing a particularly successful job. The furbearers who had inhabited the land were massacred in a series of pseudo-scientific studies to determine the effects on the breeding success of ducks if an effort was made to eradicate all predators from the ducks' territory. Common sense would tell you that the population of ducks will increase without predators, yet, oddly enough, the researchers "were somewhat surprised about finding dramatically higher nest success on trapped sites."

The project, conducted from 1994 to 2002, has been supported by Delta Waterfowl (DW). The mission of DW is " enhance waterfowl populations while securing the future of waterfowling," and a strategic objective is to "preserve and promote hunting as an integral part of waterfowl management." Under the guise of research, DW has extirpated predators over vast tracts of land by securing exceptions to the state trapping laws in order to increase duck numbers for hunting. This "research" must be prohibited.

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