The county commissioners unanimously approved the resolution at their Tuesday night meeting. The resolution requests Surry County representatives to the General Assembly introduce a local bill creating a trapping season for foxes and coyotes from Oct. 15 through March 1 in the county.
At this time, there is no trapping season for foxes and coyotes in the county, but there is a hunting season for red and grey foxes in the county. Hunting of coyotes also is permitted during the day, according to Mike Hatcher with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.
County Attorney Ed Woltz said Tuesday night that there had been a great deal of confusion in the past several years about whether residents could trap foxes and coyotes. He said the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission suggested the county pass a formal resolution requesting local legislation be introduced.
Before the board made a decision Tuesday, Board Chairman Paul Johnson said that although a public hearing had not been set regarding the issue, he would open the floor for public comment. Johnson said the commissioners had received several phone calls about the topic.
Clyde Smith spoke up and said he wasn’t a trapper but that he couldn’t see what any cons would be.
Johnson replied, “As far as I’m concerned, there is none.”
The commissioner said many small animals had been killed by coyotes in the county.
Jill Stockton of Mount Airy showed the commissioners several pictures of coyotes on her property. She said, “There are so many coyotes in Surry County.”
Stockton said she doesn’t mind trapping but that she has had problems with trappers on her property. She claimed some have stolen her animals.
“Game wardens cannot work but so many hours a day ... How are we going to control the trappers?” she asked.
Johnson said trappers will be required to get all of the proper paperwork. He said most trappers he has known in the county are responsible.
“We’re trying to do this the right way,” said Johnson.
Commissioner Eddie Harris said trappers have to get permission from property owners.
Trent Draughn spoke next and said he had been trapping animals for half a century and always gets written permission from landowners. He also has a license and puts tags on all of his traps. He said most of the time landowners invite him to come trap on their property.
“I don’t care what you do, if you hunt or fish, you’re going to find some people who’s irresponsible,” said Draughn.
He said there was a problem with coyotes in the county, but that trappers did not try to make animals extinct.
Jerry Casstevens, another licensed trapper, also said he thought the county needed a trapping season. He said he gets calls every week from people about trapping coyotes, but he has to turn them down.
“(Coyotes) are a problem, and they’re going to get worse,” said Casstevens.
The board approved the resolution unanimously. Now it will be given to state representatives to be introduced to the General Assembly.
Contact Meghann Evans at email@example.com or 719-1952.