I have created a list of statements that are commonly used and I have done my best to explain the reasons for each statement’s lack of integrity regardless of which side is wrong. The first thing that anyone can do to find compromise is to understand the opposing view. This I believe can only be accomplished by sifting through the mire of half-truths and disinformation from your own side and the other side. I stand firm in my belief that education is the answer to every issue facing America today, and that it takes a willingness to teach and learn to resolve conflict. Compromise is a matter of give and take, and neither side needs to take the crap-scraps left over from the fact table. The following statements and explanations are true, accurate and complete based on the best information available. This is not a guess. It is not propaganda. It is the truth in simple terms.
“Trapping is no longer necessary in our society”
When your sink is plugged from hair and soap scum you call a plumber. When your creek is plugged by beaver, you call a trapper. It takes the right tools and experience to remedy any situation and trapping is often the best solution for human/wildlife conflict. Case in point: If you have a mouse infestation in your house, you could sit and wait to shoot the mice as they go by, you could place toxic substances in the mouse’s path or you could trap them. Traps are the easiest, safest and most effective means to reduce the numbers of mice. You could choose to use a cage trap or a body grip trap, but live relocation is difficult and the mice may die regardless of your best efforts. Foothold traps, body gripping traps and cage traps are acceptable by wildlife agencies around the world as humane and necessary tools for wildlife control. Fur trappers help to quickly control localized populations of wild animals, have helped restore and preserve numerous species including furbearers, game and non-game species alike, waterfowl, wetlands habitat and domestic animals. You can’t justify your mouse trap and condemn a beaver trap. Trappers provide an invaluable service – this is irrefutable. Although the demand for fur garments in the U.S. has subsided considerably, many countries rely on fur as part of their culture and practical necessity as well as fashion. Trapping is absolutely needed currently and in the future.
Trapping is not always the best management tool for every occasion or for every species. Some species essentially “self-regulate” their own populations and produce very little in the way of “surplus” (defined as the number of animals above the carrying capacity at the beginning of the next breeding season) and maintain a balance within their natural carrying capacity and human perceived carrying capacity. In these situations the trapper may neither help nor hinder the overall population and could in fact decrease the population too much resulting in over-harvest. Other long-term methods may be more suitable to help other species like ducks as a whole such as increasing habitat size and stopping the loss of wetland habitat. In cases where trapping is not necessary for certain species for wildlife management, trapping is done on a sustained yield basis for trapper opportunity and not due to a need for management.
This article is an excerpt from the book Wild Pride Montana A Trappers Journey written by Toby L. Walrath (c) 2013