Trapping History

The discovery of Canada and consequently North America was a two time disappointment. The explorers who discovered North America were not looking for land they were looking for a passage from Europe to the Orient. In 1497, when John Cabot discovered Canada he claimed the land for England but continued to sail in search of the passage that would lead him to the riches of China and India.

In 1534, Jacque Cartier sailed the St. Lawrence claiming land for France while looking for gold. He never found gold or value in the land, as Columbus had in Mexico. It was not until the Europeans started trading goods for fur with the natives that Europe truly realized Canada’s gold came in the form of a hairy rodent. The fur trade was born.

For three hundred years, much of Canada was explored and developed by the trappers with the Hudson Bay Company. It is estimated that the Hudson bay company and their rival the Northwest company pulled 200 000 Canadian Beaver pelts from the wilderness every year, plus fur from every other fur bearing animal. In the 1930s, the beaver populations of Canada had been substantially depleted, forcing the governments and trappers to reconsider their strategies and responsibilities to trapping. Today, in Canada furbearing animals are on the rise. In fact, scientists have estimated that most animal populations have reached their habitats caring capacity. It is in the hands of wildlife protectors and Trappers to maintain this healthy population.

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