I am going to vote in favor of Initiative 177. The letters submitted to the Missoulian have been enlightening to say the least. The concept of trapping as a wildlife management tool is tantamount to advocating diphtheria as a population management plan. Traps indiscriminately catch anything that puts its foot or head in the jaws of the trap. How is this effective management? Fair-chase hunting, where the hunter knows what they are shooting and have a vested interest in making sure of their kill, is effective management.
The saga of the grandpa taking his grandchildren to his trap line to share his “heritage and passion” is frequently mentioned. Well, that is a touching tale. I must say I-177 does not take away his time with his grandchildren. Most children have a natural affinity for animals, at least the children I raised. To expose a child to the site of a dead animal, mangled foot, bloody snow, obvious signs of a death struggle or worse, an animal still alive, terrified and struggling, is cruel. Of course you can harden a child’s heart by continuously exposing them to the cruelty of trapping, but is that a good thing?
The trappers can still trap on private land with the permission of the land owner. We are the only predator that has access to guns and traps, and equating mankind to wolves or any other predator is ridiculous.
I choose to believe that trapping is one of those heritage things modern society can do without, just like cock fighting, dog fighting, bear baiting, witch burning, lynching, genocide and all of the other disgusting things mankind has come up to cause pain and suffering to his fellow creatures.