Wildlife group to challenge marten, mink trapping

 DENVER — A decade-old ban on trapping wildlife in Colorado is being undermined by a new state regulation allowing box traps to capture pine martens and mink, according to a wildlife advocacy group suing to overturn the decision.

Wendy Keefover-Ring of Boulder-based Sinapu said her group on Tuesday updated their lawsuit filed in August in Denver District Court. The update establishes the groups’ argument against the July 13 decision by the Colorado Wildlife Commission.

It wasn’t clear by the close of business whether the lawsuit had been filed.

The commission, which oversees the state Division of Wildlife, approved a request from the Colorado Trappers Association to use box traps to catch martens and mink. The panel rejected allowing the trapping of seven other animals, including swift fox and gray fox.

Keefover-Ring said the commission’s action violates a 1996 voter-approved constitutional ban on leg-hold traps, traps that kill instantly, snares and poison.

“I just think that it tramples on the rights of the citizens,” Keefover-Ring said.

Division of Wildlife spokesman Tim Holeman said the agency doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

The trapping ban doesn’t explicitly prohibit box traps, which capture animals alive.

“The box traps are used for humane capture and relocation,” Keefover-Ring said. “Who ever would have imagined that they would have used them to trap and kill animals for their pelts.”

Mink and martens, both members of the weasel family, are valued for their fur.

Marv Miller of Golden, vice president of the trappers’ association, said his group believes the commission’s vote in July will withstand the legal challenge.

The trapping law includes a 30-day exception each year for ranchers on private land.

Judith Kohler, Associated Press
October 11, 2006
Summit Daily News

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