Judge orders man to take trapper course
By Jane Beathard
Madison Press Reporter
LONDON, Ohio – A London-area man was ordered to learn more about Ohio’s wildlife laws, following his conviction for taking a beaver in early December with an illegal, body-gripping trap.
It was an education for William F. To, 57, who told Madison County Municipal Judge Eric Schooley he was simply trying to curb damage the busy beaver inflicted on his property at 12325 Selsor-Moon Road in Stokes Township.
To said the beaver and other nuisance furbearers burrowed, dug and chewed around a pond on the property, draining water and toppling trees. To said he constructed the pond as a resource for emergency fire suppression in the rural neighborhood. To brought pictures to prove his point.
It was a tale (or tail) of woe the judge and county wildlife officer Matt Teders didn’t buy.
Schooley ordered To to pay $150 in fines and costs and complete an online trapper education course sponsored by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife. To’s four traps were impounded for 30 days — and until he completes the course.
Teders cited To on Dec. 8, after a phone call led him to the dead beaver, caught in a 7-inch trap on land near the pond.
Teders also warned To about trapping beaver out of season and failing to tag his traps with required identification. Ohio’s statewide season for trapping beaver starts Dec. 26 and runs to Feb. 28, 2013, although nuisance beaver may be trapped any time with a proper permit.
To appeared slightly confused about his wrongdoing, providing Teders with a “teaching moment.”
Ohio trapping regulations prohibit the use of body gripping traps with inside “jaws” greater than 5 inches on land. Traps with jaws measuring 5 to 7 inches may be used in water. Traps with jaws 7 inches or greater must be fully submerged in water.
The regulation aims to protect domestic pets from becoming ensnared and killed by accident, Teders said.
Two of To’s traps had 7 inch jaws and were set on land.