Rush City is considering a resident’s request to trap beaver, raccoon, muskrat and other furbearers, according to their season, off the city-owned banks of Rush Creek.
Andrew Byron discussed his proposal at the Oct. 22 city council meeting, where councilors directed City Administrator Amy Mell to check with the city attorney on the legal and liability end of approving such a request. Their main concern is public safety around the traps, Mell noted after the meeting.
An experienced trapper and avid outdoorsman, Byron said he follows all Minnesota Department of Natural Resources rules and regulations, always contacts property owners beforehand and will even help people out with nuisance wild animals.
“The last thing I want to do is step on anybody’s toes,” said the 25-year-old in a phone interview with the Post Review last week.
Byron noted he and his brother got into trapping while growing up in Lino Lakes, and his grandfather made a living at it. “It’s something I got into and absolutely love; it’s a good way to enjoy the outdoors,” said the Rush City resident who hopes to introduce the sport to his daughter one day.
According to the Minnesota DNR’s section on trapping and furbearers, trappers must follow a strict course of legal guidelines when trapping, which is highly regulated as a “beneficial way to manage Minnesota furbearers.” It’s allowed only for abundant wildlife and must be done as humanely as possible.
“Regulated trapping plays an important role in the ecology and conservation of Minnesota’s furbearers — mammals that are hunted and trapped primarily for fur,” according to the DNR website. “The DNR ensures that trapping activities are safe, efficient and practical. In this manner, trapping provides recreational and economic opportunities for Minnesota residents while helping to maintain a balance between the needs of people and wildlife.”
Byron said he mainly likes to do in-water trapping, though he will set traps along river or creek banks. Either way, he chooses areas that are out of the way and seldom or never used by people.
“From experience, I know where to place traps,” he noted. “I’m aware of people and safety, and I will let people know where I trap.”
The council expects to revisit the issue after Mell consults with city attorney Peter Grundhoefer.
In other news, the council:
• Called a public hearing to address unpaid utility bills, fire calls and mowing services for the next council meeting, which has been changed to Tuesday, Nov. 13, due to Veterans Day observances.
• Learned the 4th Street project punch list, from pending sidewalk work to the pedestrian ramps at the railroad crossing, is just about complete. Cracks in the sidewalk will be replaced in the spring.
• Thanked local Girl Scouts for raking leaves, picking up garbage and other work done a few Saturdays ago at locations including the city park, city hall and ice rink area. The occasion recognized 100 years of Girl Scouts, Mell pointed out.
• Considered a request from parents to paint the words, “Home of the Tigers,” on the main water tower, which is set to be painted in a rehabilitation project next summer.
• Hired Liesel Hilton as a part-time clerk at the liquor store.
• Discussed the liquor store’s income statements, insisting gross profit sales — while ahead from a year ago — need to improve.
• Set a public hearing on possibly amending the city’s open burning ordinance at the next council meeting on Nov. 13.