Group working to ban trapping postpones effort

A group seeking to ban most commercial and sport trapping in Oregon says it will back off plans for a 2014 ballot initiative and instead write a more "winnable" proposal for the 2016 election.

Leaders of the Bend-based TrapFree Oregon said they will rethink restrictions on private lands and instead focus on curbing trapping and the fur trade on public lands in Oregon.

The group's recent polling showed support in the Portland area for its goals, but Oregonians are strongly against restrictions on private lands.

"That was extraordinarily unpopular," said Christopher Baker, a Bend man who was one of the three chief petitioners on the referendum accepted this fall by the Oregon Secretary of State.

"It polled so poorly that our opposition wouldn't even have to deal with any of the issues like animal cruelty, personal safety and the commercialization of wildlife," Baker said.

Also, the group's poll showed that only 36 percent of those polled knew commercial and private trapping occurred in Oregon, Baker said.

"If nobody even knows it's there, coming up with a vote to stop it seems ludicrous," Baker said. "That was really a big issue."

The Bend-area group plans to work with representatives of the Humane Society of the United States and other groups to craft the next version of the proposed trapping ban, Baker said.

"We'll come up with something much more bulletproof in 2016," he said.

Oregon Trappers Association spokesman Don Nichols did not return calls this afternoon seeking comment.

— Mark Freeman

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