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People should think twice about trapping


October 31, 2013

This letter is to address the concerns that Fran Buel had with me using my “opinion” while serving on the Hill County Park Board, as I wonder if she would still feel the same if I had the same opinion as she.  

As I serve on the Park Board, I plan to use what little knowledge I have, knowledge I can gain, research I can do, my best judgment, my own conscience and listen to people (even Fran), plus my own opinion, to try to do the best job I can do, while being fair to all the “inhabitants” of the county parks.

Just to clarify, I am not talking about trapping where you catch the target animals alive and relocate them, I am all for that as long as it is done as humanely as possible. I am talking about the ancient barbaric act of recreational/commercial trapping with the use of steel–jaw leg hold traps where the animal (many times not even the target animal) is caught and killed so that trappers can rip off the animal’s fur and sell it to the fur fashion industry.

 With the exception of trapping of wolves, our state does not even require trappers to check their traps and snares in any specific period of time. As a result, these trapped animals can be left lingering in traps and snares for several days and nights while exposed to extreme, cold temperatures, and left vulnerable and defenseless to any attacks from carnivores who may come by in search of food. These animals suffer in traps until the trapper returns to either stomp, club, strangle or shoot them to death. It is not only that pets can accidently be caught in these traps (as happened during last trapping season when over 50 dogs were trapped), I feel it is inhumane for any animal to endure that … even the “target” animal.

It is my opinion that these traps should never be used in parks where families and pets recreate. They are dangerous, brutal and, because all traps are baited and have the potential of luring any animal in, they are indiscriminate and not an effective management tool. According to my research, the average is two animals killed and discarded for every target animal caught.   

Research also shows there are much better and humane ways of accomplishing what trappers are defending so profusely — besides the obvious of making money.  For example, there is a device called a Beaver Deceiver, which I just recently discovered during some research.

A description of the device reads: “A Beaver Deceiver can be installed on any waterway, once. Set traps are a temporary ‘solution,’ while the Beaver Deceiver not only keeps these animals alive, but this water flow device is also an effective long-term solution. The Beaver Deceiver allows water to flow freely while eliminating the sound of water flow to the beaver’s ear, so to speak.

“As a result, a beaver does not feel the need to build a dam or otherwise block the water flow and no flooding happens.”

In my opinion, this is something definitely worth looking into.  

Also, if among the reasons for trapping beaver is that they are toppling cottonwoods, according to Missoula’s city forester, Morgan Valliant, “cottonwoods love destruction, for every one that goes down, a hundred pop up.”  

Finally, I-167 “prohibits torturing and killing the public’s wildlife by recreational and commercial trappers while allowing for trapping of animals by state employees for reasons of health, safety and science.” This initiative would provide for reasonable, humane and common-sense management.

One statement that really resonated with me while researching was this: “By killing beavers, trappers cause the land to further dry up, something we can no longer afford.”

 I think it is time that we all give this some very serious thought.

(Renelle Braaten is a member of the Hill County Parks Board.)


Reader Comments

ohboy writes:

You all say it's clear Ms. Braaten is getting her information from an animal activist site. It's clear to me that you all are getting your information from a hunting magazine. My point being that you gather the facts that you WANT to be true. All Ms. Braaten is suggesting is that we look at some other options. Is that SO THREATENING?

USMC writes:

I have a hard time believing any of this. Where is your documentation? What is the source of your information? This is pure fallacy. There is no way any of this would be allowed, much less sanctioned by any government. Trapping is highly regulated in Montana, maybe not enough to your liking, but clearly you are a PETA supporter anyway. I have been a trapper many years. I get sick of people attempting to demonize an activity they know nothing about. Grow up.

Chad writes:

Trapping is a family tradition passed on to me by my father. I thank him everyday. Values, respect, responsibilty and integrity. I honor and respect the animals I trap more than most Animal Rights Activists. My children will continue in my footsteps and already know the importance of a Trapper.

Metoyou writes:

References? I would like to know where your sources come from. I don't want the names of the website, I want the actual source. If you don't understand what I mean by this then you should stop writing. Especially when it is propaganda crap like this.

germanhunter1 writes:

I worked with the Bavarian government to install various beaver deceivers after the nature protection people had beaver planted in Bavaria...the results, millions of euros in damage, the beaver deceivers never worked for long so now the German government pays to have beaver killed when problems occur,and still pays millions in damage, so maybe you should just start with lethal removal and save all the money and brilliant ideas!

Mary writes:

I recall as a child, my father trapped, my brothers trapped, and often I accompanied them. I spent sometime trapping myself when I got a little older. I have never witnessed on my trapline when I was an active trapper the observations of which you speak. I still have my traps and they will be put to use when my son is a little older, when I can show him how to trap. Way too many emotionally based opinions from nanny socialists today that intentionally target law abidding citizens.

Jon writes:

I'm a trapper and I have never discarded any animal I have caught. You say you know little about this topic and it is very obvious. You should not be writing this and giving false information. Trappers catch their target animal the majority of the time, even if they catch an animal they are not targeting the will still skin and make use of the fur and other parts of the animal if already dead, if they are caught in a foot hold then they are simply released unharmed. Do better research.

TrapperJoe writes:

Ethical trappers check their traps daily. Unethical trappers don't. Unethical trappers help anti-trappers ban trapping.

Genesis writes:

Ms. Braaten, what research have you conducted? 3 minutes on Google? 2 non-target animals disgarded for every target animal is a blatant lie. I would put that at 1 non-target for every 200 target...that is not research, that is my experience. Most trappers take strong measures to ensure that any catch is dispatched as quickly and humanely as possible...which is more than mother nature ensures. You should have stopped with saying what 'little knowledge I have'. That summed the article up.

Carl writes:

According to my research 2 non-target animals are killed to every 1 target animal? All traps are baited? This is clearly just another animal rights activist who did her research on an Animal Activist's website. There are so many untruths in this article it is ridiculous. I have faith that most reasonable Montanans can see right through this opinion article, and see that it's clearly just your personal opinion and not actually based on fact.

UselessEater writes:

I think your heart is in the right place Renelle, but your grip on reality is frail

BR549 writes:

Animal rights propaganda displayed to the general public as the gospel !! I would advise listening to Mrs. Buell, at least the opinions she has are her own, and not that of a group of people that base all their facts upon pure emotion, and information obtain from animal rights groups. Emotion has no place in the world of scientific wildlife management practices, and if not practiced correctly will only bring more harm to wildlife and citizens alike.

Jason writes:

There are several issues to discuss but I am just going to focus on one that is not often discussed. The relocation of animals after trapping is not humane to the animal. You may feel you are doing a good thing but what happens after you watch that animal swim away? For example, beaver are a very territorial animals and they fight for what they have, or if they have a disease you have now spread it to another area, and now you are moving a problem animal that is now a problem somewhere else.

Jeffrey writes:

It is obvioulsy clear that the author of this story is a poor fabricator with a personal agenda. The adjectives, processes, procedures, and alternatives the author suggests are either outright embellishments, intentionally deceptive by omission, or not cost effective. It is also apparent the writer has no legitimate educational, experiences, or scientific credibility to speak intelligently on the pro's and con's of trapping. Wish I could get the 2 minutes back I wasted reading the story..

Joe writes:

I just love those fur-lined bras. Very sexy. Maybe you should consider adding them to your inventory.

Dsltruck writes:

You failed to mention the cost associated with your bright idea. A Beaver Deceiver and other flow devices will cost approximately $900-$1200 each. I was just wondering who was going to pay for these? Are you going to pony up the dough Ms. Braaten? How many man hours to install and maintain? Our park charges enough in fees now. What is the financial burden for so-called barbaric trapping? Please finish your research.

areyoukiddingme writes:

This PETA propaganda is ridiculous!!! The only research done on this came from one website, footloosemontana. If you all want a bit better understanding of the hazards, benefits, and actual statistics of trapping, take look at this..... Wildlife Management and Regulated Trapping in MT. Written by Montana FWP. This is unbiased information. Feel free to look at this yourself Renelle Braaten. Be better informed next to you decide to join a cause meant to take FREEDOMS AWAY FROM AMERICANS!


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