May 12, 2011
Low Gator-Hide Prices Driving Florida Trappers Out of Business
By Chad Love
Trapping is, regrettably, a dying sport these days. Changing social attitudes and low fur prices have driven many trappers out of the woods. Or, in the case of Florida's alligator trappers, the swamps and canals.
From this story in the Orlando Sentinel:
Alligator hunter Johnny Douglas says his job is now tougher than gator hide. For more than a quarter-century, Douglas, 46, like his father before him, made a decent living in Central Florida stalking, snaring and skinning alligators that strayed into a backyard or some other place where the reptile wasn't welcome. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission called on him 170 times last year. But this week he'll stop answering their calls and will tend lawns instead.
Old-school trappers such as Douglas, whose livelihood depended largely on the sale of alligator hide, are calling it quits as the price of gas has soared and the price of alligator skins has plunged on the world market. He is the fifth in the past year to resign from the Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program, which pays a stipend of $30 per gator to trappers who kill or remove alligators posing a threat to people, pets and property.
Thoughts? Any readers still run a trapline?