March 31,2013 – Glasgow, Mt
Senator Wagoner, sponsor of HB 212, that tried to enshrine trapping into our constitution testified vermin and introduced species are the ones that many get trapped. Little does he apparently know. While this is very refreshing a trapper was actually caught and charged it is a rarity. Trappers say they trap for fun and what they like best is never knowing what they will get. Case in point. These “incidental” victims are inherent in the act of trapping and why trappers are not charged despite if it is a protected species, endangered or a family pet. These baited and lured unattended secreted weapons of mass destruction lack the ability and the responsibility to not fire, to not do damage as they are designed to do. Trappers are charged when and if they even get caught and it can be proven they violated one of the few regulations there are regarding trapping. The 1/2 dozen eagles that have been known trapped and some killed in Montana in the last couple of years have resulted in no charges. In addition, regulations do not prevent species from getting trapped. The law requiring bait over 1 lb in weight that is visible from above be set 30 feet from the trap does not stop eagles from getting trapped as they hop along the valley floor to feed with other carrion feeders. Any animal that seeks food, is curious, drinks water, traverses, walks, runs, uses paths, defends territory is at risk of being trapped or snared. As “the cost of doing business” and legally permissible as “accidental”, “incidental” trapping catches in Montana have been animals such as deer, goose, griz, moose, fish, squirrel, black bear, elk, mt lion, magpie, eagle, wolverine, lynx and in the last 2.5 yrs over 104 dogs and countless cats. Snares cost about $2 and are frequented on our public lands and are often left unaccounted for until another animal falls victim. Trappers meanwhile are pushing for the legal snaring of wolves to add another lethal layer with even stronger thicker cable to their arsenal. What other outdoor recreation permits such tolerable irresponsible free for all that the rest of the public and tens of thousands of indiscriminate wildlife pay for?
Independent Record (TERENCE CORRIGAN)