I've read with interest the various letters to the editor regarding the rights of trappers and the pro-trapping rhetoric. I would like to address many of the arguments trapping enthusiasts have made in the opinion sections I've read locally.
To suggest that trapping has anything to do with hunting should be a personal affront to Montana hunters – and hunters everywhere. Most of my friends hunt, none of them participate in trapping. Placing a trap which can maim or kill any animal that comes upon it is a backward "tradition"that serves as a negative reflection on any state that allows it.
To suggest that the dogs that have been killed or injured in these traps is the fault of the owners hiking/skiing/backpacking in Montana's public wilderness is insulting. To allow this type of use of Montana's public lands, which infringes on the vast majority of Montanans' rights to equal enjoyment, is outdated.
The amount of recreationists, hunters and outdoor enthusiasts has grown in the last 30 years and it is no longer realistic to allow a practice that makes the back country unsafe for other users.
The discontinued use of trapping on public lands by no stretch of the imagination has any affect on hunting or fishing rights in Montana. To cloak this outdated, cruel and unsafe practice under the protection of hunting rights is nothing short of dishonest.