Another hunter speaks out against trapping

[From The Montana Standard, April 27, 2014]

I am a hunter in support of I-169. I’m not an animal rights extremist. I grew up in Montana fishing, hunting and gardening with my Dad, and continue to fill my freezer this way each year. I hunt deer for food —not for sport, not for trophies, and not for pride. Like the vast majority of Montana hunters, my Dad taught me the necessity of fair chase, a quick and clean kill, knowing exactly what you’re shooting at, and wasting nothing. Most Montana hunters strive to continue this legacy with every round fired. We practice target shooting, keep our rifles cleaned, oiled and sighted in to be sure that we do have clean kills without waste. These are the ethics of hunting.

Trapping violates these ethics at every point. Animals are diabolically lured into hidden and baited unattended traps. Baiting game animals is illegal because it is not considered fair chase.

Trapped animals are seldom killed quickly. More often than not, they languish for days suffering exposure and predation, waiting to be bludgeoned, drowned, crushed, suffocated, strangled or shot. Offspring suffer and starve from the loss of their mother. So much for a quick and clean kill.

Non-target animals comprise a large percentage of animals trapped, including protected and endangered species. They are maimed or killed, or just left to suffer a prolonged and painful death. Occasionally they’re released, only to die later from their injuries. Although trappers are required to report the trapping of protected species if they can’t be released “unharmed” in the trapper’s opinion, it can’t possibly be enforced, and who would ever know, so why would they bother? So much for knowing your target.

Hunters are legally required to use all edible parts of animals killed, and aren’t allowed to sell meat. Yet for blood money, trappers sell only the fur of only some of the animals killed—just to end up adorning the backs of rap stars and teenaged billionaires. Most species are killed without limit. Carcasses either become bait for catching more victims, or are used to feed the maggots. So much for preventing waste. These are the ethics of trapping.

I-169 is merely a moderate step toward protecting some of Montana’s precious wildlife from the barbaric cruelty and unjustified waste and commercialization of trapping. It applies only to public land, about 1/3 of Montana. Trappers will continue their torturous tactics unhindered on the remaining 2/3 of our state. I-169 isn’t asking too much.

— Annie Reid, 129 Wilhelm Lane, Whitehall

See original article here.

Project Coyote: Scientific analysis of killing contests

This is a superb letter authored by 36 leading scientists, most of whom hold PhD degrees, asking for a prohibition on wildlife killing contests. Their open remarks summarizes the issue very well: “The most general reason to prohibit WKC is that hunters and wildlife managers believe, as a community, that killing an animal without an adequate reason is unjustified and unsportsmanlike. Killing an animal for a price or trophy constitutes killing without an adequate reason. Insomuch as WKC are primarily motivated by killing for a price or trophy, they are wrong.”

Click Project Coyote Coyote Killing Scientist letter for the entire letter.

A brief history of trapping in America

1851 Steel traps are mass-produced.

1900 The Oneida Community trap company receives a letter from a veteran trapper decrying the cruelty of traps.

1909 Beaver populations in Washington are so threatened by trapping that the state bans trapping beavers.

1925 The National Association of the Fur Industry offers a $10,000 prize for the invention of a “truly humane trap.” No one collects the money.

1925 National Anti-Steel-Trap League is formed.

1930 Massachusetts bans traps that cause “continued suffering and (are) not designed to kill the animals at once.”

1930s Author and ex-trapper Archibald S. Belaney writes about the cruelty of trapping.

1949 The American Humane Association offers $10,000 reward for the development of a humane trap. Offer stands until 1979. NO ONE COLLECTS THE MONEY.

1950-1960s Animal-rights groups, including the Animal Protection Institute, the Animal Welfare Institute, the Committee for Humane Legislation, the Friends of Animals, the Fund for Animals, and the Humane Society of the United States, are formed.

1958 The Conibear trap is manufactured.

1960 A large male wolf is trapped on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation, Ariz. It is the last wolf trapped by a federal agent in that state.

1973 Florida bans steel traps except for damage control.

1977 Rhode Island bans steel traps except for damage control.

1984 New Jersey bans use, sale, manufacture, possession, import and transport of steel-jaw leghold traps.

1986 British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Nova Scotia ban steel-toothed leghold traps.

1994-1996 Arizona, Colorado and Massachusetts voters ban trapping.

1998 California voters bans trapping.

1998 Woodstream Corp., the nation’s largest manufacturer of steel-jawed leghold traps, announces that it will discontinue making leghold traps.

2000 Washington bans body-gripping and unpadded leghold traps.

2007 Trailsafe Nevada formed.

2912 State of Nevada sued for failure to manage wildlife for the benefit of all Nevadans.

2014 State of Nevada sued for failure to properly regulate trapping.

2016 Oregon trapping ban to be on the ballot.

Hunting as conservation: Hunter kills foxes as retaliation against animal activists

POLICE and RSPCA officers are looking into reports that a fox was beheaded and a picture posted on Facebook in a dispute with anti-hunt campaigners.

The page then carried a chilling threat over any future attempts to have the user banned from the social networking site, declaring: “Any more bans and another fox dies.”

The distressing photograph appeared to show to be the head of decapitated animal on a spike with a anti-hunt sign next to it.

It was uploaded on an individual account in the Hartlepool area.

Above the image was the statement: “I keep my promises, 1 ban = 1 fox.”

Anti-hunt campaigners then took to Facebook claiming the sick act was carried in revenge for the user being banned from Facebook for previous posts which they believed were offensive.

The user then declared that for each Facebook ban he received he would kill one fox.

Another posting from this account read: “I’m back!”

“After three picture bans and the whole profile deleted due to an anti reporting that I’m a “business”?

“So antis, you have cost a fox that was not near a farm or any livestock it’s life. Just for you.

“Any more bans and another fox dies.”

A spokeswoman for Cleveland Police said: “We can say that we are aware of the post on Facebook and we are looking into whether any offences have been committed.”

A spokeswoman for the RSPCA confirmed that the image had been reported to the organisation.

She said: “We have received reports of images of a decapitated fox being circulated online.

Click HERE for the full story.

NDOW Projects 14 & 15: Coyote removal for deer enhancement

Projects 14 & 15, 2/9/2009
C. Schroeder and K. Lansford

We quantified the effects of 5 years of coyote removal in Game Management Units 222 and 231, Lincoln Co., NV during fiscal years (FY) 2003-2008. We summarized trends in coyote age and population structure using data obtained from tooth-age analysis (cementum) of teeth taken from harvested coyotes by Wildlife Services. Mean age of coyotes declined throughout the experimental period in GMU 231 as a result of additively removing coyotes by aerial gunning and ground removals each year. Also, juvenile to adult ratios significantly increased by the end of the experimental period as well as the number of adult males to adult females in the population. Fawn:doe and fawn:adult ratios were not significantly different in years prior to coyote removal compared to years following coyote removal in the experimental areas. Similarly, fawn:doe and fawn:adult ratios were not significantly different in the experimental area (GMU’s 222 and 231) compared to an adjacent population of mule deer in Utah (Unit 30a) during the same period. Other factors may have contributed to fawn survival in these areas.

ClickNDoW Coyote Removal for Deer Enhancementfor the entire study.

Animal cruelty as an indicator of sociopathy

The Macdonald Triad, also known as the Triad of Sociopathy or the Homicidal Triad, is a metric used to judge one’s propensity for committing violent acts against people, including serial murder and sexual abuse. Animal cruelty is one of the three legs of the Triad, along with arson and chronic bed-wetting past a certain age. The presence of any of these is considered a precursor to violence against people, with animal cruelty the strongest indicator. The FBI believes that many violent offenders first practiced on animals. Jeffery Dahmer, Edmund Kemper, the BTK killer and the Columbine school killers all tortured animals before they turned against people.

Wildlife and Mining in Nevada

Wildlife & Mining in Nevada
Mark E. Smith , Incline Village, NV

“Any resource extraction by definition impacts the environment. However, it is the manner in which these activities are carried out that is crucial in minimizing adverse effects.” (Nevada Mining Assoc, 2010)

The mining industry has made great strides in reducing impacts and there is now great focus on quantification, minimization and mitigation of water, air and social impacts. However, the same is not true for impacts to wildlife. While some companies are excellent stewards, the industry as a whole mostly pays this lip service. There is also a lack of support in the regulatory process. For example, here is the relevant portion of Nevada’s Code governing “Revegetation of land” (NAC 519A.330):
1.  An operator shall:
(a) Select and establish species of plants that will result in vegetation productivity comparable to that growing on the affected lands before commencement of the exploration project or mining operation, which is required by the manager of the land or which is consistent with the postmining use of the land.

How exactly are we supposed to return waste dump slopes, tailings ponds and open pits to “productivity comparable to….before….mining?” The reality is that both industry and regulators broadly ignore this requirement. Further, simple productivity, in terms of density and type of vegetation, is only one factor affecting wildlife. Far more important is the impact our facilities have to the broader habitat, including biodiversity and migration. For example, the Nevada Department of Wildlife has estimated that a recently proposed mine will cut off the migratory route for 23% of Nevada’s deer population, yet the environmental impact statement filed with the US BLM neither addresses loss of economic value nor provides any meaningful mitigations.

While the gold industry has made good progress in protecting wildlife from process ponds, but other mineral processing broadly ignores these impacts. The lithium plant near Silver Peak includes 4,000 acres of ponds. For 2012, the Dept of Wildlife estimates as many as 1,000 migratory birds have been killed, principally ducks and loons. These deaths are caused by salt crystals forming on feathers and legs, a process which happens in a matter of hours and leaves the bird to a slow drowning. There is a similar sized potash plant in New Mexico, which uses 15 hazers and 3 airboats to reduce mortality. The Silver Peak plant uses 2 hazers and no boats. Even after a $70,000 fine by US Wildlife Services, one of the largest ever in Nevada, they have yet to make any improvement…

Click HERE for the entire paper.


Here’s another excellent piece uncovering the mythology about the economic benefits of hunting and trapping. In short, hunters fund about 5% and trappers 0.1% of the total wildlife-based economy.
A price tag was put on the nature-based activities Canadians undertake in a quietly released report earlier this month. The 2012 Canadian Nature Survey – and yes, it was released in June 2014 – took a look at how much time and money Canadians spend on their nature-based activities, which includes everything from hiking to photography to – you guessed it – hunting and trapping.

Eighty-nine per cent of Canadians enjoy nature in some manner, with the majority simply relaxing or having a picnic (71 per cent), viewing or reading about nature (66 per cent), hiking, climbing and horseback riding (64 per cent) and gardening or landscaping (51 per cent).

The report indicated that in 2012, an estimated $41.3 billion in “natured-related expenditures.” That is a lot of money.

Of that $41.3 billion, roughly 5 per cent was figured into the hunting and trapping category, representing expenditures of $2.02 billion in 2012. But what the trappers may not want that well known is only 2 per cent of that 5 per cent is from their community, a total of 0.1 per cent contribution to our nature-based recreational economy.

Further, the eight broad categories offered during the survey (nature-based recreation; nature-based leisure; nature education; motorized recreation; nature conservation; fishing; birding; hunting and trapping) illustrated how frequently people who were actively engaged participated in the various activities the last 12 months. Hunting and trapping?

Eight per cent. When broken down even further into more specific categories, this note was found in the report:

“The small number of respondents that reported participation in ‘trapping wild animals’ is below the threshold for statistical reliability and is therefore not shown in Figure 11.”

The take away from this report is pretty simple for us: Canadians love nature. They love being in it, surrounded by it and participating in it. They don’t love trapping. And the proof of that is in the numbers.

Click here for the full paper.

Coyote killing contests: The Truth

Since Europeans first set foot on the American continent, war has been waged against predators, with bounties and other lethal programs put on their heads. But, when a predator is no longer a threat, when they have the ability to self-regulate their population, and when they are not a form of sustenance, why does the killing continue? Surely our responsibility now lies in protecting our environment and pursuing a path towards peaceful co-existence?

Instead, we see a rise in one of the most disturbing practices of humankind — killing purely for fun. Coyote killing contests are a prime example. It is an unethical, indefensible, and ecologically damaging practice. To be able to derive pleasure from killing a defenceless creature, for no reason apart from the chase, demonstrates one of the most selfish and cruel aspects of our cultures. Despite excuses made for the contests, killing coyotes for “sport” is merely for the pleasure of killing, breeding a culture of disrespect and violence towards life and nature.

In the USA popular targets include coyotes, prairie dogs and pigeons. The practice is adopted by all ages, with some competitions having “youth” divisions. To take part in a hunt you have to pay an entrance fee and subsequently receive a monetary reward for every kill you make, with the largest lump sum given to the person with the biggest kill. Prices vary tremendously.

The contests take place under the guise of ‘pest’ control, but if anything they cause more harm to the environment. Coyotes pose little if any threat to humans, and generally avoid human contact whenever possible. Contrary to hunter’s claims, coyotes are generally not a threat to deer, elk and other large prey, preferring easier meals such as mice and berries. In terms of attacks, a 10 year study of over 300 coyotes in the greater Chicago metropolitan area found that, only two had had fights with pets. Furthermore, as coyotes have no meat and very little fur value, the contests are unjustified on any moral basis.

Sandy Sisi Pups“Like any predator, coyotes self-regulate,” Camilla Fox, founder and executive director of Project Coyote in California, told me. “The best thing we can do is leave them alone because what we know through decades of research is that when we exploit coyotes we disrupt their social pack structure. This can result in an increase in pup survival, and ultimately an increase in the local population. So the message through science is leave the coyotes, wolves, and other predators alone. They don’t need to be “managed” by humans. That will help to promote peaceful coexistence.”

To read the complete story please click HERE.

Idaho hunter: wildlife killing contest is a mistake

Idaho Mountain Express
By George Wuerthner
17 December 2014

Recently, the BLM canceled a permit for a proposed coyote/wolf killing “derby” on public lands scheduled for January near Salmon, Idaho. The three-day event is a contest to see who can kill the most and largest wolves, coyotes, jackrabbits and other wildlife.
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The BLM revoked its permit after conservationists questioned the agency’s conclusion that the contest would have no real impacts on wildlife or other uses of the public lands. It was a wise call on the part of the BLM, but the U.S. Forest Service and the Idaho Fish and Game have failed to do the same.
The Forest Service insists that such a contest doesn’t even require a permit, and is allowing it to occur on the Salmon-Challis National Forest, despite requiring permits for many types of less destructive activities—even cutting a Christmas tree. For its part, Idaho Department of Fish and Game has said nothing, even though it has a policy stating that it will not support contests “involving the taking of predators which may portray hunting in an unethical fashion, devalue the predator, and which may be offensive to the general public.”
Even a loose interpretation of that policy would find the proposed derby to be a violation, yet Fish and Game has failed to regulate or restrict these contests. Fish and Game implies its support with its silence and failure to act.
As a hunter, I despise gratuitous killing. Hunters owe it to both the animals they kill and the public who supports wildlife to ensure that no animals suffer or die gratuitously.
But a killing contest, by its very nature, is gratuitous killing. This type of contest treats animals like trash. This is not only ethically wrong but hurts hunting everywhere by portraying hunters in an unethical manner. Hunting, to be accepted by the general public, must be perceived as principled. The public usually supports killing of wildlife for food, but contests are not about obtaining food. Hunters and their organizations risk damaging public support for hunting by not opposing such contests.
The killing contest is also ecologically wrong. Ironically, fragmentation of wolf and coyote packs through indiscriminate killing often leads to greater livestock losses and greater killing of the very big game animals that the derby sponsor claims it is trying to protect.
This is because disruption and loss of pack members reduces hunting effectiveness of the remaining animals. With fewer pack members to pull down difficult prey like elk, wolves and coyotes often turn to livestock as food.
Smaller packs also cannot guard the animals they have killed, and often before they can come back from the den or other locations, ravens and other scavengers will consume a kill, forcing the wolves and/or coyotes to kill yet another elk or deer.
Morally and ecologically, the Salmon [coyote/wolf] killing derby is a mistake.