We all have life changing moments (see “Life-changing event” in Letters, Sept. 24, 2009). One of mine was when I found the remains of my first dog, Pluto, a great big old dopey yellow dog with a mild disposition and notable lack of judgment. He had been lured out into the dark by a pretty little coyote bitch and then her and her pals ate him! You can imagine my horror at this discovery and the resulting animosity toward coyotes.
Over the many years since I have hunted and trapped many kinds of animals, I’ve gone out on several occasions with one slow-witted old blue tick hound that I’m afraid I must confess to owning. In spite of the dog’s experience, he continued to chase cats for many, many miles up and down mountains for no reward other than getting said cat up a tree and letting him go. I used that same trap to end the days of many nasty ol’ coyotes! I never did catch any other pets except for feral cats, fattened up on songbirds, to be spayed/neutered and checked out. On the contrary, 90 percent of the animals I trapped were exactly the species I set the traps for. I always checked them promptly to avoid loss of prime hides (mostly to coyotes), as well as to lessen the suffering of the animals. After a rather touching close-up experience with a young bobcat, I quit hunting/trapping cats but still would gladly teach my grandchildren all the natural hunter-gatherer skills I have at my command, including proper trapping methodology. Nature is not merciful nor is it vengeful, it just is. Please enjoy the ride.Bob Petersen Missoula