Broad strokes


My, my, my, how sure Connie Poten is in what she wrote in her April 15 letter (see “Clamping down”) and how wrong she is in many of her statements. She called anyone who says that trapping is not indiscriminate, unfair, cruel and wasteful a liar. I personally know trappers in the following professions who might take issue with that statement: deputy sheriff, lawyer, doctor, financial advisor and biologist.

She says that trappers throw away two animals for every one they keep, yet cites no authority. I personally trapped beaver this year and caught no animals other than beaver. I also know quite a few trappers and know of none who fit the profile she presents.

Trapping is no more loosely regulated than the recreational activities of hunting and fishing. I do not know anyone who waits two weeks to check foothold traps where the animal is expected to be alive. Martin sets may not be checked for two weeks, but they are dead and frozen, so I ask you: What does it matter if they are dead for a day, week or month as long as there is no waste of fur, which is prohibited by regulation?


What I do think is odd is that she is so very incensed by a false conviction that two animals are wasted for every one utilized under the status quo, but she advocates for a new regulation that mandates that all damage control on public land be done by department employees and that the entire animal be disposed of (wasted) or used for public benefit, which is undefined.

If she will admit that there are inexperienced or unethical slob hunters who do litter, violate regulations, wound animals and sometimes lose or waste animals, I will admit that there are inexperienced or unethical trappers who do the same. If she does not care to tar all hunters with that brush, then I submit that neither can she tar all trappers.

Passenger pigeons were extirpated by hunting and beaver were nearly extirpated by trapping, but this was before modern management. Since modern management, neither hunting nor trapping has extirpated any species.

I urge everyone to go to the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks website and go to the topic of trapping. Once there, read “Montana’s Information Sheet” and “Trapping and Furbearer Management in North American Wildlife Conservation.” Weigh the credentials, study the data and decide based on facts.

Rick Hawk


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