Stewart Edward White (1873-1946) was a famous sportsman and writer who hunted, camped and traveled in the North American wilderness, sometimes for months at a time. He was a good friend of President Theodore Roosevelt, who said White was “the best man with both rifle and pistol” who ever shot at Roosevelt’s rifle range. Major Townsend Whelan, in his book, "The American Rifle," said White was “one of the best game shots in the world.”
But like many avid hunters, Stewart Edward White had no use for steel traps. In his book, "Wild Geese Calling," he writes, “But where Len—and John—thought only in terms of fur, and stopped at that, Sally saw too vividly a picture of a living creature, struggling, panting, broken-legged, wild with terror, held fast hour after hour, even day after day … Sudden clean death she could accept, for she was no sentimentalist. But to wake up, winter nights, and think of small, frantic, broken-legged, gnawing creatures, dying by inches in the snow!”
Some people today wish to favorably compare hunting and trapping. They would have us believe that if you hunt, you should support trapping. But for many decades hunters have rejected this association. Experienced and ethical hunters know the profound difference between carefully positioning ourselves for a clean, humane shot that preserves the amount and quality of the meat, and trapping’s random gamble of setting a trap that won’t be checked for hours or days only to then reveal an unwanted bird or pet or an animal’s foot. Instead of associating hunting with trapping, a much closer similarity exists with trapping’s resemblance to putting out poisoned bait.
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I ran a trapline for a few years and have hunted for 60 years. I will vote yes for Initiative 177.