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These "Sportsmen" Don't Do This for Money or Ecology--They Do It for "Fun"

By       Message Martha Rosenberg       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   12 comments

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If you broke a dog or cat's limbs, let them freeze or bleed to death or killed them by stomping, you'd be in jail. But if you did it to coyotes, foxes and raccoons you'd just be another U.S. trapper.

The U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance (USSA), an advocacy group which sponsored legislation to lower the age at which children can hunt and to remove the safety training requirement a few years ago, has said "trapping is recognized by every wildlife agency at the state and federal level as a viable and important conservation tool. It helps keep furbearer populations at healthy levels and is important in stemming the spread of wildlife diseases that threaten animals and humans." Healthy for whom?

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If trappers did to dogs what they do to wildlife they would be in jail
(Image by Martha Rosenberg)
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State Departments of Natural Resources allow the barbaric practice on public lands even though the land and its animals are supposed to be held in the public trust according to some legal scholars--they belong to us. (Hunting is also allowed on public lands even though less than six percent of the nation hunts.)

Nevertheless, let your dog loose in a state park and you might well find him in writhing in the steel jaws of a baited trap like Carson Mansfield of Salina, KN and Mel Strauch of Anchorage told newspapers happened to their dogs. Alexander Reid's dog also died because of trappers near Lake Luzerne, NY, his head in a pyramid-shaped, spring-loaded trap that pierced his skull. "I had to tackle him to get the thing off," but it wouldn't budge he told the press.

There is not much money in trapping. A few years ago muskrats were fetching from $4.50 to $5.50, coyotes, $5 to $10, skunks (with "good broad full stripes around") $5 and raccoons $5 to $8 wrote a trapper in the News Democrat Leader in Russellville, KY adding, "You guys who hunt with dogs, try to keep the dogs off of them as much as possible" because "hunted and dog-bit" raccoons will be "severely discounted."

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But not to worry--it is not just about the money, it is also "fun." Todd Lund of Neenah, Wisconsin told the Post-Crescent press that he trapped for the "challenge" and "a chance to get outdoors." He said he likes to "mix it up with water and land sets, trying for weasels, mink and muskrat" and when one species isn't coming to the steel [trapper language] for a few days, another one might."

Lund told the paper he enjoys "land sets" at Christmas time when he is on break from his job as a community living specialist for chronically mentally ill adults at an Appleton group home. Land sets are also "an inexpensive way for young trappers to learn the sport," he said.

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Martha Rosenberg is an award-winning investigative public health reporter who covers the food, drug and gun industries. Her first book, Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health, is distributed by Random (more...)
 

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