North Dakota House kills muskrat trapping bill
BISMARCK -- North Dakota lawmakers voted down Tuesday a bill to shorten the muskrat trapping season for nonresidents. Introduced by Sen. Dave Oehlke, R-Devils Lake, the bill would have required the nonresident trapping season to start at least ni...
BISMARCK - North Dakota lawmakers voted down Tuesday a bill to shorten the muskrat trapping season for nonresidents.
Introduced by Sen. Dave Oehlke, R-Devils Lake, the bill would have required the nonresident trapping season to start at least nine days after the start of the resident season and end by March 15, making it about two months shorter than the current season, which opened Oct. 25 and closes April 30.
Rep. Glen Froseth, R-Kenmare, who carried the bill from committee with a 9-4 do-not-pass recommendation, said it was intended to reduce competition from nonresident trappers, particularly during open-water season.
He said the majority of trappers from out of state wouldn’t participate in the season if it was restricted from early November to March 15, which rarely allows for open-water conditions.
Froseth called the muskrat “a very destructive little critter” that causes considerable damage in years of exceptionally wet weather when their numbers grow.
“As one legislator noted, those little critters are a scourge. They swim like a fish, breed like rabbits and burrow like prairie dogs. They do a lot of damage to road beds, culverts and stock dams. In my view, restricting the trapping of these is not a good idea,” he said.
The bill’s fiscal note showed it would cost the state Game and Fish Department $18,900 annually in lost license fee revenue. A muskrat license fee costs $350. The state issued 107 licenses in 2012, 69 in 2013 and 33 last year, Froseth said.
The bill failed by a vote of 24-66, with four members absent or not voting.