Hunting: Choose fair chase, not trapping

Hunting season is approaching, and, although I no longer hunt, I still feel the stirrings of the primordial urge to go out and bring wild game back to my cave. Through the years, most of my friends have also been hunters. Barring a very few bad apples, they all share with me the dedication to “fair chase” when it comes to bagging a deer or elk.

Central to the fair chase is being sure that one makes a clean, humane kill. Ideally, the animal “didn’t know what hit him.“ Wounding an animal and having to track it down to finish it off is deeply regretted, not just because of the extra time and effort it takes, but because of the hunter’s remorse that he has caused the animal unnecessary pain and suffering. I believe Fish, Wildlife and Parks even has regulations requiring a hunter to make every effort to not allow a wounded animal to escape and die a slow, painful death.

And yet, there is a “sport” in which an integral part of the activity involves causing an animal great physical pain and emotional trauma, even under the most ideal conditions. This sport is called trapping and, far from being condemned by the FWP as one would expect of such a cruel, inhumane activity, it is condoned, licensed, and they are now offering classes.

Any hunter who believes in fair chase should denounce the whole idea of trapping, and should demand that it be prohibited. It not only is unnecessary (fur bearers for the most part do not need to have their numbers held in check as herds of deer or elk do) but, by association, it gives a black eye to legitimate hunting.

John Ohrmann, Drummond

(published in the Missoulian, Oct. 2012)

[ed note: NRWM is not arguing for the abolishment of trapping, but reasonable and human regulation.]