By MIKE CORN
It attracted yet a third look, but trapping still will be allowed on public lands, the Kansas Wildlife and Parks Commission has finally agreed.
And the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks has moved from correspondence furharvesting education course that might have allowed for review of the book prior to answering the necessary questions to an online version.
That online course will present the information first and then the testing process. Successful completion will result in the issuance of a certificate, required of anyone born after July 1, 1966, wanting to trap anywhere but on their own land.
There is no cost to take the course, according to Matt Peek, KDWP's furbearer biologist.
A few regional classes are still being offered, but they are relatively rare. The closest one will be from 8 to 5 p.m. Sept. 26 at the Kirwin National Wildlife Refuge. Contact is Larry Stones at (785) 543-5820.
Trapping on public lands has been a hotbed of activity this year, what with at least one dog dying in a conibear trap on land at Kanopolis Reservoir.
Despite discussions and an impassioned plea from the dog's owner, the wildlife commission voted to keep furbearer regulations the same.
Bottom line, the vote means trappers can continue to use both snares and the so-called conibear 220 traps on public lands.
But anyone wanting to trap or sell the hides on animals that are trapped must first have the furharvester class.
"We just kicked it off," Peek said of the online test available at trappered.com. It also can be found at KDWP's Web site.
"This is something we were doing anyway," Peek said of the online test.
He said it would be a work in progress, as they hope to make changes to reflect ongoing conditions and concerns.
Peek is hoping that the online test will provide better information to trappers than the mail-in test ever did. With that test, he said, trappers got the test and the book together, and they could take the test without ever having to read the instruction manual.
"It takes some time to get through this," Peek said of the online test, "even if you're trying to get to the end. It requires a little more thought."
Instructor-led courses, such as regular hunter-education courses, would be best, he said, but a shortage of instructors and students makes that impossible.
And while the course is required for anyone born after 1966, Peek said he would encourage anyone interested in trapping to take the test.
Peek is jut completing information on how best to use snare and conibear traps, something that will be incorporated in the online quiz as soon as it makes the in-house review circuit.
While conibear traps, those with steel jaws, have been the focus of controversy in recent weeks, Peek said there have been reports of problems with snare traps as well. That's why he is incorporating new information into the online course about both types of traps.