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Trapping and our Outdoor Heritage

No other outdoor issue has been as sensationalized as trapping, nor has any other issue had as much misinformation surround it. With trapper numbers at best static, it is a prime target for the anti’s attacks.

Some hunters also openly call for an end to trapping as a way to give the antis “a bone” to keep them away from other forms of hunting. Unfortunately, for all sportsmen, this is just the tip of the iceberg as it comes to the anti’s attacks on our traditions.

So before making a decision about the sport, here are some facts to keep in mind:

  • Trapping is our first and foremost traditional outdoor sport, having been the impetus for the opening of the “new world”;
  • When properly used, foothold traps are a vital and humane tool for wildlife management;
  • State wildlife agency biologists – the same people who have led the resurgence of a variety of wildlife we now enjoy – support trapping and see it as a necessary tool for managing furbearers. Trapping has proven to be a critical element in the comeback of waterfowl populations.
  • Wildlife managers also see it as extremely important in protecting the public from outbreaks of diseases such as rabies.

Of course, the animal rights movement continues to spread an abundance of misinformation about trapping in an effort to end what, in its opinion, is an inhumane tradition.

How hated is the sport? Read the rhetoric produced by some animal rights groups:

The Humane Society of the United States, the number one anti-hunting group in the nation has said, “Trapping is well known for the suffering it causes. Strides have been made to eliminate the use of traps in the United States, with eight states (WA, CA, MA, CO, AZ, NJ, FL, and RI) now banning their use.”

The HSUS has made clear it seeks an “outright prohibition on all body-gripping traps due to the inherent cruelty of the devices.”

The Animal Protection Institute encourages people to prohibit trapping on their land, boycott businesses that sell fur, support trapping bans and encourage non-lethal wildlife controls.

Just as disturbing, as I alluded to earlier, is the fact that some sportsmen have developed the attitude that trapping is a disposable part of our outdoor heritage. They think that a ban on trapping would not affect them and that if the anti’s will get what they want they will let other sportsmen alone.

I have witnessed in states such as Massachusetts, that once the anti’s stop trapping, they continue to work even harder to destroy other parts of our heritage.

Believe me, if all trapping were banned, anti’s would focus on other aspects of our outdoor heritage. Hunting with hounds or bowhunting are already the next traditions in the anti’s crosshairs, but they would be encouraged to continue with an even greater assault on these and other sports.

Sportsmen must understand that if any one of our traditions is sacrificed, other parts of our hunting heritage may fall, as well. We should and must solidify our defenses and support each other regardless of whether we trap, shoot, fish, or hunt. *Doug Jeanneret

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