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Time to hang up the traps

 

February 11, 2014



Contrary to Mr. Beatty’s opinion (Feb. 3), there is no need for trapping, even for trapping beaver in Beaver Creek Park. Thanks to the installation of beaver deceivers and overflow pipes, more and more ranchers, communities and irrigation districts no longer pay to constantly rig conibear traps in freezing water for flood control.  

As Mr. Beatty noted, trapping is a short-term solution anyway; his son trapped more than 200 beavers, and in no time “they were back, thick as ever.” A beaver deceiver lets water flow through the dam, while at the same time creating an audial pitch that makes the beaver think his engineering is complete. It’s an elegant, long-term, safe solution that takes minimal upkeep and saves animals from suffering slow, agonizing deaths by drowning.

Like landmines, traps are hidden and dangerous. Recently, a beaver trap mutilated and broke a man’s leg in Oregon. He suffered from severe exposure before someone stopped on the road, where he’d dragged himself, the trap still on his leg.  

Trapping to protect livestock is also unnecessary. A coyote can have from one to 19 pups. The more trapped out, the more they produce. In more than 100 years, the coyote population has not changed. But chronic fear, maiming and death have replaced pack stability. Less than a fraction of one percent of livestock fatalities are due to predators — not even enough to be a viable statistic.   

Traps also do not control disease; sick animals are not lured by bait, healthy ones are. Traps do not discriminate: any creature can be killed in a trap, including migratory birds, endangered species and pets.

The public has every right to enjoy our public lands safely and without leashes outside city limits and specifically signed areas. Our rare and sensitive wildlife populations are dwindling, thanks to trapping and habitat destruction. It’s time to trade the traps for cameras. A good photo is worth far more than a carcass. As renowned bear biologist Charles Jonkel said, “The days of trapping are over. Now it’s time to preserve the animals.”

Connie Poten

Missoula

 

Reader Comments

(6)

YOULIE writes:

Oh the ignorance. This column is so full of lies. I would put my arm into my biggest beaver trap and it would not break a bone let alone break a bone in my leg. A full reply would take more room than this comment allows. You are probably one of those persons who bemoan the taking of game but tie your leather shoes, eat meat that's been imprisoned, buy goods that have been put together by slaves in 3rd world countries and abort 1 million babies.

retrofitter writes:

Very well-written piece. Trapping is, or should be, obsolete. They can't talk their way out of it; trapping is cruel, cruel, cruel. If trappers want to deny the pain inflicted, anyone with an iota of empathy can see the panic, or, in the worst circumstances, the pathetic look of resignation. How horrible to inflict THAT on any animal, a true assault on wildlife right under our noses. The time has come and it is now: Ban trapping everywhere.

raph writes:

It’s time to let all Montanans decide instead of the less than one percent who are trappers.” The state Attorney General’s Office approved Initiative 169 – by Trap Free Montana Public Lands. to learn more check out http://trapfreemt.org

morality writes:

ahhh, it's so touching when good, upstanding, church-going folk show their disdain and hatred for certain parts of nature when it suits them; and on the other hand will fight to the death for their precious livestock, pets or domesticated animals.No where in this OPINION piece is there a mention of animal rights.In my 50 years going out into the field to do various work I've seen many unintended animals caught in traps because of neglect, stupidity & outright lack of decency, just like Grumpy...

trixie writes:

http://theworldlink.com/news/local/man-suffers-broken-leg-after-stepping-in-a-beaver-trap/article_81f809a6-68d8-11e3-a1f5-0019bb2963f4.html http://blogs.seattletimes.com/today/2013/12/beaver-trap-breaks-oregon-mans-leg/

Grumpy writes:

This story is too pathetic to give a full reply to. These animal rights groups want to scare the public into taking there sides. I will make one comment, There is not a beaver trap made that will mutilate or break a mans leg, that folks is an outright lie to scare you.