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GF&Ppanel rejects petition to relax trapping rules

PIERRE (AP) — The Game, Fish and Parks Commission rejected a petition Thursday to relax some trapping regulations in the state.

Commissioners voted unanimously by teleconference to maintain the three rules disputed in a petition from Brian Reynolds, an outspoken outdoorsman and trapper who died unexpectedly earlier this month.

One contested rule requires trappers to remove snares and traps by May 1 annually. Another prohibits setting a trap within 30 feet of water from October 1 through the start of the mink season.

Reynolds monitored hunting, fishing and trapping statutes before he died May 9 in Monroe. He had lobbied officials successfully and unsuccessfully on outdoor sports issues over the past several years. He was the sole signatory on his last petition against the three trapping rules.

His petition claims that the Commission does not have the authority to make the rules in question. It also states that October is an important month for trapping, which might help protect the state's declining pheasant population by removing predators.

"These rules impair the ability of our trappers to earn income from their trade and as such these rules have an economic impact on our small business owners," Reynolds wrote in his petition.

Game, Fish and Parks officials say the rules in question were adopted according to current laws and procedure.

"You not only have the authority to regulate wildlife resources but also the recreational uses associated with those wildlife resources," said Tony Leif, director of the Wildlife Division. "That's primarily what these rules are in force to manage."

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