I live in the Bitterroot and one of my passions is walking in the woods off-trail with my dog, exploring the beauty that is Montana.
Public land must be safe for public use. Trapping creates an unsafe environment for individuals who enjoy walking with their pets. The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks website states: "Trapping has a time honored heritage in Montana ..."
I would argue that there are many time honored traditions that no longer have a place in modern society. Trapping laws are arcane, and the idea that trapping on public land is an important aspect of preserving Montana's heritage is ludicrous.
Trapping promotes cruelty to animals and teaches indifference to suffering. It is indiscriminant in the species that it targets and horrific to the animal caught, dooming them to a long and suffering death.
Setting traps and snares makes public land unsafe. This is not Montana in 1850. The population of Ravalli and Missoula counties is 150,000 people, many who enjoy recreating on the public lands in the Bitterroot Valley. Trapping puts these individuals and their pets at risk, as well as killing thousands of animals so that trappers can "experience nature" at the expense of the majority of individuals that use the land.
I suspect that most Montanans only think of trapping when it directly impacts them. When the consequences of trapping are considered, the potential harm to domestic animals, and the inhumane suffering and death caused to a trapped animal, most would not support it.
It is time to end trapping on public lands and ensure that the majority of public land users and their pets can enjoy walking safely. And it is time to end the culture that says inflicting torture and suffering on animals for enjoyment are acceptable practices in our society.
Thomas Arminio, Hamilton