• Now Available! Buy all 3 books in 1 for only $6.99 and save $2!

    A COMPENDIUM FOR THE DRY GARDEN

  • Koda’s Blog

    Koda matches

  • Recent Posts

  • Tracking Footprints

  • Archives

  • Top Posts

  • Pages

Filling out the dialogue on trapping

Last week in Casper, a family was walking their three St. Bernard dogs in a public area within a mile from their home.  The dogs were legally off-lease, and under voice command, but the smell of baited traps drew all three of them into the bush where snares choked them to death.  The family and their kids tried desperately to loosen the cables that constitutes a snare trap, but lacking wire cutters, the dogs died within minutes.

Because more people are using public lands to recreate, more and more dogs are being caught in traps placed near trails and roads.  These and other incidents have produced a groundswell of outrage which is growing across the West.  Organizations like Wyoming Untrapped and Footloose Montana  have sprung up to answer this need. Bobcat trapping around the perimeter of Joshua Tree National Park prompted California to establish the Bobcat Protection Act of 2013 banning trapping around national and state parks and other wildlife preserves.

Most of the conversation in the public or with Game Agencies has centered around protecting dogs and humans recreating on public lands.  This discussion includes new measures such as closures and set-backs. It’s an achievable goal–one that even most Trapping Organizations would agree to.  This is a fine first step.  In fact, my own dog was caught in a trap on a public road in Utah; the baited leg-hold trap was placed on a highly used road and covered with dirt, had no signage, and Koda was 12 feet from me.  Fortunately for Koda, I’d taught myself previously how to release these traps.

See the trap to the right of Koda.  That is the spot it was in, about one foot off the road, covered with dirt and no signage

See the leg-hold trap to the right of Koda. That is the spot it was in, about one foot off the road, covered with dirt and no signage

This trapper had set leg-holds all along the roadside for several miles, hoping to catch coyotes.  $50 for the pelt and another $50 incentive thanks to the Utah legislature that set aside several million dollars of taxpayer’s money to kill coyotes.

All trappers must have their ID or name on their trap.  Look for it and write it down in case it was illegally placed

All trappers must have their ID or name on their trap. Look for it and write it down in case it was illegally placed

But what’s at the heart of all this?   I’ve written about this before, back in a 2011 post. Demand in Russia and China for fur has sky-rocketed.  Current prices for ‘Lynx Cat’ [Bobcats] on the world market are between $400-$1150/pelt!  And this year was a ‘down’ market due to warmer winters in those two countries. (Question:  Will climate change quell the trapping industry?) With that incentive, every Tom,Dick, and Harry is out there setting traps.  And the ethics among these newcomers is low. 19th century laws that favor trappers are still on the books in most states [i.e. do not touch a trap or you will receive a ticket.  In Utah it’s $500. In Wyoming $250].

I haven't seen a bobcat in years since my area has been heavily trapped.  This photo taken 4 years ago in front of my home

I haven’t seen a bobcat in years since my area has been heavily trapped. This photo taken 4 years ago in front of my home

The critical conversation we need to have about trapping includes some of these points:

  • Fur prices world wide are driving the increase in trapping.
  • We are selling our wildlife overseas!  Its illegal to sell the meat of any wild animal, yet we can sell their pelts?  Wildlife are in the public trust.  Selling wildlife–even pelts–to other countries for individual profit takes away from another individual’s right to see wildlife and appreciate them.
  • Trapping is indiscriminate.  ‘Non-target’ animals are killed every year.  During the 2011/2012 Idaho wolf trapping season, for example, 246 non-target species were trapped, including deer, moose, dogs, raptors, lions, and 21 endangered fishers.  In Wyoming, some animals have trapping seasons, yet others, like coyotes, can be trapped year-round on public lands.
  • People are no longer trapping for food, but for personal profit.  We no longer live in the 19th century.  Attitudes towards wildlife has changed.
  • Finally, trapping is cruel.  Animals are not only killed, but maimed and crippled.  Many suffer for days in traps.  Trapping, unlike hunting, is not fair chase. It’s time to put an end to trapping altogether.

This summer I was hiking along the flats 1000′ feet above the Clark’s Fork Canyon.  Its a wet area, where all the moisture drains from the mountains above, funneling through the limestone walls to the river below.  Old beaver dams are tucked among the overgrown forest of spruce and fir–ancient dams because there are no longer beavers here.

View of the river from the flats above where old beaver ponds are

View of the river from the flats above where old beaver ponds are

Hundreds of years ago mountain men came to these lands and trapped the beavers out, their furs sent to Europe for felt hats.  Beavers were estimated at around 600 million before the Europeans arrived.  Almost exterminated by 1900.  Due to conservation efforts, beaver numbers in North America stand around 6-12 million today.  I’ve never seen a beaver dam in these mountains.  Just last year there was a big fuss about a beaver dam spotted south of Cooke City along the Clark’s Fork.

Selling our wildlife…these are old lessons.  Let’s not have to re-learn them again.

 

 

Advertisements

4 Responses

  1. thank you for the blog information. we should strive to put an end to trapping. animals have as much right to live freely as we do. What a horrible experience for the poor innocent animals, gilda

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s a dangerous and lethal obstacle. Poor animal. Disappointing. This should be banned for the safety and welfare of animals, wildlife and pets.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: