Nature has always fascinated me. I admired my father and my uncles and their outdoor skills. As schoolboys, my father and his brothers ran a trap line between their farm and school. I caught my first raccoons when I was 8. By 12, I was running a trap line before school, as my dad had done.
A trapping magazine came every month. Books teaching trapping methods were read and reread. Nevertheless, I caught animals and birds by mistake. The animals that drowned took over 10 minutes to die. I killed live animals with a blow to the head. I avoided thinking of their hours of desperate struggle or their physical pain from a cut to the bone. Finding a foot in a trap was merely a disappointment for me. Just a part of trapping.
At 16, a curious change occurred. I began releasing the live animals. “Too small” or “not prime,” I told myself. The real reason was that I had started hunting. I realized that I could still enjoy nature and be motivated to learn the habits of animals and waterfowl. Knowledgeable outdoorsmen were eager to pass on their wisdom and respect for wildlife without illogical contradictions. The cruel disrespect for animals inherent in trapping and impossible to avoid while trapping were within my control as a hunter.
I have hunted for over 60 years. I have never regretted throwing away my traps. Please vote yes on Initiative 177.