Trapping's "Collateral" Damage

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Trapping's "Collateral" Damage

From Ban Live Bait Dog Training
July 2009

We at Ban Live Bait Dog Training have recently been made aware of the extent of damage caused by animal trapping, and the controversy surrounding trapping on public lands.

We hope that you will use your voice to put an end to this cruel practice.

Thousands of camouflaged traps directly endanger adults, children, and pets

Carole Riewe from Owl Acres Raptor Rehabilitation

I am a licensed rehabilitator of raptors and in my years of admitting injured hawks and owls, I have received several trap injuries, although there have undoubtedly been other birds that I never saw.


This Red-tail hawk had both of her legs chopped off in a trap! She is perfectly alert otherwise and goes through all of the motions of protecting her food, but she can never be released.

Although these species of birds most often catch their prey live, there are instances when they are attracted to prey species being used as bait in traps for other creatures - coyotes come to mind.

I was reminded of this recently when I admitted a young turkey vulture with a crushed foot. This is the kind of injury that does not result from a vehicular collision. Turkey vultures eat carrion - they have a valuable place in the food chain by cleaning up carcasses, and a carcass used as bait is something in which they would definitely be interested. The damage was such that the bird had to be euthanized.

The ending was the same for an owl and a redtailed hawk. The man who caught the hawk at least had the decency to seek me out so that the bird wouldn't simply be turned out to suffer and die, but I'm sure that most of the raptors caught in traps aren't nearly as lucky.

Raptors are protected birds under the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty, and seeing as how a bird has no conception of a trap, the responsibility of keeping them safe lies with the individual. A trap does not belong!

Elise Able, Wildlife Rehabilitator, East Concord, NY

As a wildlife rehabilitator, [I too] have seen many foot injuries on raptors from traps. A lot of the trappers just free the raptors from the traps, assuming they will be fine- but they are NOT fine. Their tendons are damaged, they can't catch prey, they get infections, starve and get bumblefoot. Most trappers will not take a trapped raptor to a rehabilitator because they know it makes them look bad, that is why they let them go to die a slow, painful lingering death.

Footloose Montana Proposes "Montana Trap-Free Public Lands Initiative"

Public lands in Montana will become trap-free, if an initiative filed today with the Secretary of State qualifies for the
November 2010 general election and is approved by a majority of
voters.

The "Montana Trap-Free Public Lands Initiative" would prohibit
trapping on public lands in Montana, except for scientific, public
health and safety activities. Under the initiative, proposed by the
Florence-based group, Footloose Montana, trapping on private lands, which comprise 65 percent of the state, will not be affected.

Dr. Tim Provow, a Footloose Montana board member, hunter, and member of the National Rifle Association, said that most trapping on public lands conflicts with hunting ethics. "The first rule of hunting is to 'Be Sure of Your Target!,'" Provow said. "Trapping violates this rule by its indiscriminate killing of many species, including endangered, threatened and sensitive species, such as Canada lynx and American bald eagle," he said.

Species targeted by trapping, such as marten and otter, are severely depleted, according to the text of the initiative, while wolverine and fisher are at risk of extinction in Montana. Trapping is a leading cause of the steep declines in these species, the initiative states.

"Trapping does not honor the hunters' ethical code of 'Fair Chase,'
or the time-honored principles of quick and efficient kill," Provow
continued. "Tens of thousands of untended, unmonitored traps on
public lands lure wild and domestic animals with bait. For every
wild furbearer killed, many more non-targeted wild and domestic
animals are killed and discarded, in violation of hunting and
outdoors ethics," Provow said.

Connie Poten, secretary of Footloose Montana and co-owner of a
western Montana Vineyard and Winery, said: "Montana's public land should be safe for all citizens and their pets. Under current law, trappers are able to set an unlimited number of traps, warning signs are not required, and trappers are not required to check their traps in any specific period of time.

"Thousands of camouflaged traps directly endanger adults, children, and pets," Poten said. "Montanans should not have to compromise peace of mind, welfare of children, and pet safety when using public land."

Public lands trapping contributes little to Montana's economy, Poten said. "In Fiscal Year 2008, trapping brought in a total of $94,000 in revenue to the State of Montana. In comparison, over the same fiscal year, hunting generated direct revenue to the state of $45 million and fishing generated direct revenue to the state of $20 million.

"Federal studies show that wildlife watching brought $376 million
into Montana in 2006," Poten continued. "If trapping were limited to private land this financial contribution would likely increase as
rare species become more abundant and visible on our public lands."

Poten said trappers are currently allowed to trap certain species (such as fox, coyote, and badger) year-round without any regulations at all. Only four species (otter, bobcat, fisher and wolverine), out of the 14 species pursued (beaver, otter, muskrat, mink, marten, fisher, wolverine, weasel, bobcat, fox, coyote, skunk, raccoon and badger) have any quotas. These quotas are determined in the absence of detailed scientific data concerning species populations and how affected species are distributed across Montana, said Poten.

Anja Heister, the group's executive director, said Footloose Montana is organizing local chapters across the state to help gather
signatures for the initiative. She said the initiative needs at
least 24,400 signatures of registered voters from at least 34
legislative districts, to qualify for the November 2010 general
election ballot.

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