The Commission of Evil

by Stephen Capra

The Commission of Evil
Stephen Capra

In a crowded room at the Santa Fe Community College last Thursday, we were witness to the latest failure of a commission designed to support and enhance wildlife in our state. The question before them was the continued use of Ted Turner’s ranch as a staging area for the release of the Mexican wolf.

This commission was clearly wary, after an earlier meeting in November on this subject; they found themselves shouted down by citizens, who were disgusted by the commission’s actions, and their determination to slaughter all wolves in our state. This time they took great strides to state that wolves were here to stay, that really the issue here was a technicality; one that their arcane system sadly could not support, but, hey, we can find a way forward at a later date.

Translation: we will defuse the situation now, and continue to obfuscate wolf recovery in every way possible. Our newest commissioner, Elizabeth Atkinson Ryan, an oil and gas attorney from Roswell and a member of the Safari Club ( a group that kills wildlife internationally for trophies,) made a long and grating explanation of why they could not change the Chairman’s decision to deny permit renewal for Turner’s Ladder Ranch. At times, other commissioners chimed in with their message that they supported wolves but “unfortunately” they could not support Turner, well because, they just could not break ranks with the Chairman, but hey, “we support wolves.”

This was met with ‘sardonic’ laughter from the audience, many of whom have witnessed the complete slaughter of wildlife at the hands of these seven republican cowards. Several minute later, they voted 7-0 to end the release program at Turner’s Ranch, while loudly inviting them to reapply and “meet this commission half way.”

The real question in all of this is clear: how much longer must we allow this commission to exist? How much longer can we allow the indiscriminate killing of wildlife to continue?

Aldo Leopold fought our Governors at the turn of the last century to allow the choice of the Game Warden to be controlled by sportsmen. After a bruising battle, he lost and the Governor continued to select Wardens; usually a perk to a major donor. Little has changed in the past century, only now we have a commission of seven people, none of whom have a real concept of biodiversity.

It is biodiversity that must be at the core of every decision; that is why the concept of a commission has long ago grown “archaic,” in Chairman Kienzle’s own words. We do not need a commission controlled by sportsmen, ranchers or oil and gas interests. We need an agency run by a director, that is given a clear mission: every action we take must be taken to enhance biodiversity.

Wolves in our state face one clear future if commissions such as this remain; there will be a hunting season and that is a disaster for wolves in the wild. There will be a trapping season on wolves and that is a moral outrage. There will be a continued spreading of ignorance and fear about an animal that is perfectly designed to enhance biodiversity and improve the natural balance of wildlife, while improving the land.

At Bold Visions Conservation, our mission for the past several years has been to disband this commission. Their actions and appointments are slaughtering wolves, bears, mountain lions and coyotes. They are not here to enhance wildlife, but to cater to special interests in the livestock, oil and gas and fringe farming communities. They speak of hunting as though it was a 365 day a year enterprise. They want our children to learn to kill, to trap and to carry the same disregard for animals that they display every meeting.

The saying goes you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig. This commission represents nothing but pure evil. They are a group of political insiders that relish their role in the slaughter of innocent wildlife. There is no redemption, no reason to hope things will change, and we must simply end their reign of terror.

We must also work to change the charter of the State Game and Fish Department which currently is a rambling statement of support for off-road vehicles, shooting wild game, support trapping, etc. This mission needs to focus like a laser on one thing: enhancing biodiversity!

Disbandment and Game & Fish Department reform will not happen overnight, but if we are to truly help wildlife and improve our lands and waters, we cannot accept the status quo. We must create this change for the next generation; it is our gift and our moral imperative for our children and the generations to come: a gift and action of respect, to the animals that so enhance our lives.

MT Trapping Updates

FUR PRICES DOWN!!!
“That’s right – low, low fur prices.  Bottom of the barrel.  In most cases, fur will sell for far less than what you’ll spend to trap it.”
Why are fur prices going to be so low?  Two words.  China and Russia.  Those two countries basically control the modern world market for wild fur because their citizens purchase the vast majority of the garments produced with the fur we trap.” Prices for dead Coyote, Beaver, Pine Marten, Bobcat, Wolves and Fisher are expected to hold. Trappers are claiming they are simply stockpiling the rest.
Trapping Today’s 2015-2016 Fur Market Update


Photo courtesy Montana Trappers Association, “fur auction, small”.
Reproduced for educational purposes.

TRAPPING DISTRICT CLOSURES
Hopefully  our  monitoring the quota harvest reports  for Montana furbearers have helped spare more unnecessary trapping deaths for Otter and Bobcat.

Bobcat is now closed in Districts 1, 2, 3, i.e. Northwestern, Western and Southwestern Montana. District 3 closed 8 over quota. Historically, over half of the 7 districts, including these three have gone over quota. In 2013/14, i.e. 62 extra bobcats were reported killed in the Districts 1,2,3,5. We especially appreciate FWP taking a proactive stance and closing District 2. In 6 years, from the 2008 through the 2013/14 bobcat trapping season a minimum of 11,062 bobcats were killed in Montana.


It might not seem much to save even one, but it is everything to that one. We don’t know how many might have gotten killed over the quota. Thanks for making those calls and being the voice for Otters, too!

ANOTHER KILLING CONTEST
A repeat of last January predator trapping and hunting killing contest, sponsored by groups such as Montana Trapper’s Association (MTA), but this time instead of for a weekend, it ran from Jan 8 to Jan 17th. We did not accept the MTA request  that we post the flyer fearing it would only draw more attention, more participation to their killing contest. That does not mean we are not following up on  this. Note they do not call it a killing contest but that does not make it less so! More to come.

EXPOSURE OF CRUEL UGLY TRAPPING
The much awaited article,  America’s trapping boom relies on cruel and grisly tool,  by award winner journalist, Tom Knudson, sheds more light on what becomes of millions of animals, annually, and in particular Bobcat, here out West, in the disturbing significant world of trapping. “Every year, 150,000 trappers here capture and kill up to 7 million wild animals, more than any nation on earth. In all, more than 20 species are targeted for their fur, from foxes to raccoons, coyotes to river otters. But it is the spotted, marble-white fur of one animal that has sparked a Wild West-like trapping boom in recent years.” We were honored to help with Tom’s informative investigation and trust exposure and increased awareness will lead to an end of trapping. Be sure to check out the link to the video of the a leghold trap snapping shut on various items.


Credit: Max Whittaker for Reveal

EFFORTS TO PROTECT FISHER
The rare fisher is getting closer to federal protections under the ESA. Legally trapped still in Montana, other Fishers, too, here have fallen victim as “incidental” “non-targets”. In December of 2014, a Fisher was killed in a conibear trap set for Pine Marten in the Bitterroots. More info to come on how you can help. Click to read  “Northern Rockies Fishers One Step Closer to Endangered Species Act Protection.

PETS CONTINUE TO GET TRAPPED IN MONTANA
An Akita was recently caught for days in a leghold trap set for wolves near Alberton, Montana. The dog was reportedly missing for six days!  Solid ice had to be chipped away from the trap to free the dog. The trapper was cited for not checking his wolf traps for the required 48 hours but will he have to pay the vet bills? The dog will most likely lose its leg.

Searching for the perfect Christmas tree, Petty Creek, near Alberton, a Chihuahua,  Dutley, was caught in a leghold trap, and luckily was released quickly apparently uninjured.

A dog was caught in a snare while accompanied fortunately close by its owner. Ghost town in Drummond.

Trap reports for Bracket Creek area north of Bozeman, Flathead national forest, Pleasant Valley……..

For updates see Trap Alerts  on our website.
Pets have us to look out for them but what of the average 60,000 reported wildlife annually trapped and killed in Montana that legally cannot be rescued and helped?

ANIMAL PLANET DOCUMENTARY FOR TRAPPERS?
Just in, Montana Trappers Association says because “of your relentless attacks on trapping” they have signed to do a trapping documentary with Animal Planet.  Imagine what kind of planet animals would succumb to if trappers had their way. It’s incompatible for a show that features the wonderous animals we share this planet with and their sponsors to promote such cruelty and trapping myths.  More to come on what you can do.

DAILY HAPPENINGS
Like, follow us, and invite friends on Facebook and be sure to check out our website www.trapfreemt.org for ongoing educational information, updates and our online store to purchase, i.e. “Ranger” story of a wolf, t-shirts.

Please lend a hand, be our eyes and ears, promote TFMPL, collaborate with us and let us know you how you are willing to do more for wildlife! 

Thank you Friends of Trap Free Montana Public Lands

Tis the ugly season of prevalent trapping!

trrapped-wolf-facebook
Recently a missing Golden was caught in a trap for 3 days up Sweeney Creek Loop, Florence area. She broke off several teeth biting the leghold trap to try to free herself. Her foot was badly swollen. She has been reunited with her owner.

Today, Sunday, a 30 lb dog, Molly, is now reported missing up Sweeney Creek. On Wed, Dec 15th, the legal trapping of wolves in Montana begins resulting in a whole new arsenal of leghold weaponry of mass destruction will be out on the lands.

Trappers are not required to assist trapped pets. They only have to report any they trap within 24 hrs to FWP. They have no required trap check interval though, except for wolf trap sets must be visibly checked every 48 hours.

Be sure to check with the regional Montana FWP office if your pet is missing. To see contact numbers visit our website at http://www.trapfreemt.org/about-trapping/incidental-trapped-dog-reports-montana

Please share with us any areas of known, spotted or suspicious trapping.

Thank you Friends of Trap Free Montana Public Lands

Activist calls for removal of leg-hold traps on public lands

Activist calls for removal of leg-hold traps on public lands

http://www.santafenewmexican.com/life/features/activist-calls-for-removal-of-leg-hold-traps-on-public/article_244c1088-fc31-5ad1-bf6b-b06f9cbbc585.html#.Vm2qoPjl6N4.facebook

Z Jacobson of Santa Fe walks Friday with her dogsNoodles on Dead Dog Trail off Old Buckman Road, where Noodles got caught in a trap. The experience has turned Jacobson into an activist, with a goal of banning leg-hold traps on public lands. Luis Sánchez Saturno/The New Mexican

Posted: Saturday, December 12, 2015 

Z Jacobson was hiking with her dogs, Noodles and Lulu, and a friend along a new trail off Old Buckman Road in the Santa Fe National Forest on Thanksgiving Day.

It’s ominously called Dead Dog Trail, and it leads to the top of the Caja del Rio Plateau. Jacobson’s friend had helped build it, and she was interested in touring a couple of canyons along the way said to contain rock art.

During the hike, they walked over to a cliff and were admiring the view when Jacobson heard what she described as “tremendous, horrible screaming” from her dog, whose right front paw was caught in a steel trap she said was about 30 feet from the trail. Noodles, a black-and-white border collie mix, was struggling futilely to free herself.

Noodles has since recovered, but the experience has turned Jacobson into an activist against leg-hold traps on public lands. She’s been warning friends who walk their dogs off-leash and has spoken to anti-trapping groups. She also sent out a message asking members of her local hiking group to sign Trap Free New Mexico’s petition calling on the State Game Commission to ban trapping on public lands and to better regulate traps. The group is a coalition of conservation and animal welfare groups that says trapping regulations are outdated and put citizens, pets and other species at risk.

Jacobson said she wasn’t able to free Noodles from the trap on Dead Dog Trail because she’d recently undergone shoulder surgery and couldn’t use her arm. But her friend was able to get Noodles out of the trap. Fortunately, the device didn’t have teeth, or the injuries would have been much worse, Jacobson said. Her dog limped for a few days but is now walking fine. She did, however, lose part of her ear in her fight to escape.

When Jacobson called the state Game and Fish Department to report the trap, she said, she learned that such devices are legal on public lands in New Mexico, although they must be marked with the trapper’s identification, and they cannot be placed within 25 yards of a trail or road. It is illegal to destroy them.

A spokesman for Game and Fish said an officer visited the scene and determined the trap was legally set. The officer also said the trap was 400 yards from the nearest maintained trail, not as close as Jacobson estimated.

“I’m in shock, horrified about the whole thing,” Jacobson said.

Many people have responded to her effort to ban trapping, vowing to sign Trap Free New Mexico’s petition. Kay Nease, one hiking club member who supports Jacobson’s movement, said, “This is very disturbing that traps are anywhere and — even worse — close to hiking trails.”

Efforts to ban trapping on public lands in the 2013 and 2015 sessions of the Legislature failed. The bills never even got out of their first committee. And in recent years, the State Game Commission actually has expanded trapping opportunities in New Mexico.

In 2011, the commission approved a recommendation from wildlife managers to end a trapping ban in southwestern New Mexico, where federal officials have reintroduced the Mexican gray wolf, an endangered subspecies. And starting next April, the state will begin allowing random trapping of cougars for sport across 70 percent of New Mexico, including 9 million acres of state trust land.

Jessica Johnson of Animal Protection Voters of New Mexico said this was done despite overwhelming opposition to trapping among New Mexicans. A poll of more than 1,000 voters conducted by Remington Research Group prior to the new cougar rule found that 69 percent of registered voters oppose the use of traps — on both public and private land.

Jacobson returned recently to Dead Dog Trail to look for the trap. She and her friend had piled stones on top of it before leaving on Thanksgiving Day. When she got there, she found the stones had been removed and the trap reset. She stuck her hiking pole in it, she said, and “it snapped so hard, I realized what my poor dog had gone through.”

Jacobson said she thinks the trapper was trying to snare coyotes for their pelts. The trap was set along what looked to her like an animal trail. Part of the goal of Trap Free New Mexico is to get protected status for coyotes and skunks or to make them subject to animal cruelty laws.

Opponents to leg-hold traps say that between two and 10 nontargeted animals are trapped for every targeted animal that is captured. A 2011 investigation in New Mexico by a group called Born Free USA found that cougar cubs and black bears were some of the animals illegally caught in the traps.

Activists don’t agree with claims by proponents of trapping that the practice keeps wildlife populations balanced and controls disease, and they are concerned that many people are injured trying to release a trapped animal.

John Horning, executive director of WildEarth Guardians, said, “We are realistic. We are in this for the long haul. But we are also hopeful knowing that most people in New Mexico find this outrageous.”

Horning said Colorado and Arizona already ban trapping on public land, and so does Los Alamos County. New Mexico is also an outlier in that its trapping season is one of the longest in the West. And trappers are not even required to post signs on public lands to inform people where the traps are set, he said.

Last season, 1,768 licenses ($20 each for state residents) were issued by the state to trap fur-bearing animals, a long tradition in New Mexico. According to the Game and Fish Department, about 5,000 individual fur-bearers were harvested. There is no mandatory reporting requirement for unprotected fur-bearing species such as coyotes.

“I want to be active in trying to stop this,” Jacobson said. “We’re not able to stop trappers. But we shouldn’t be trapping on public land. That’s just wrong.”

MT TRAP-RELEASE WORKSHOP SERIES

You’re invited to attend the
FOOTLOOSE WINTER TRAP-RELEASE WORKSHOP SERIES!
Coming soon to your area!
Hello friends of Montana’s pets and wildlife! We wanted to make you aware of some exciting events coming up in your area. We are planning a series of trap release workshops statewide. If you have never attended a trap-release workshop, we strongly encourage you to do so. There is no better way to learn how to spot traps in the wild, how to protect your pets from traps and how to release them in worst-case scenarios. This is also a great chance to meet like-minded individuals and to learn more about the current trapping situation in Montana. If you have attended a workshop before, its still a good opportunity to get a refresher, bring a friend, or make some new friends…so we hope to see you all there!

Workshops are free and open to the public, although we do ask that you bring a can of food for the local food bank, or pet food for the humane society. So check out the schedule below, and if we aren’t doing a workshop in your area contact us so we can set one up!

Best regards,

Chris and Footloose Montana

WORKSHOP SCHEDULE
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 9th 6:30pm@ Billings Public Libary (Billings, MT)

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 15th 6pm@ Bozeman Public Library (Bozeman, MT)

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 16th 6pm @ The Shane Center (Livingston, MT)

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 6th 6pm@ Whitefish Public Library (Whitefish, MT)
IN THE WORKS
GREAT FALLS (JANUARY 2016)
KALISPELL (JANUARY 2016)
Please consider donating to help us with the costs associated with putting on workshops! Your donation is 100% tax deductible…

Alaska Confirms Massive Decline in Rare Wolves, Still Plans to Hunt Them

Another harvest could do irreversible damage to the wolf population.

Alexander Archipelago wolf. (Photo: Facebook)
Jun 20, 2015
by Samantha Cowan

In 1994, southeast Alaska was home to about 300 Prince of Wales wolves, a subspecies of Alexander Archipelago wolves. By 2013, there were fewer than 250. Last year the population plummeted 60 percent to 89 wolves. New numbers confirm that the rare breed may have dropped to as few as 50.

But the diminishing numbers won’t stop hunters from trapping and killing the wolves, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is moving ahead with its 2015–2016 hunting and trapping season on Prince of Wales Island.

“Another open season of trapping and hunting could push these incredibly imperiled wolves over the edge,” Shaye Wolf, a biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement.

A reported 29 wolves were killed during last year’s hunting season—which accounts for between 33 and 58 percent of the population. Either figure means the species is in danger of being completely wiped out, especially as females were hit particularly hard this season…

More: http://www.takepart.com/article/2015/06/20/alaska-wolves

Body of missing trapper found next to partially submerged kayak

Police in west central Minnesota say they have found the body of a man who had not been seen in weeks partially submerged in a slough.

Douglas County Sheriff’s Office reports that on Friday it was asked to conduct a welfare check on a 63-year-old man with a history of health issues, as he hadn’t been seen for three weeks.

They didn’t find him in his house, but upon investigating further they found he was a known trapper, which led officers to a slough near the East Lake Mary Road, southwest of Alexandria.

A local conservation officer checked the slough in his own kayak and found the man’s body partially submerged in the water, next to a small kayak and trapping equipment.

The man’s death is under investigation although no foul play is suspected.

His body was taken to the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office for an examination. His identity has not yet been revealed by the police.

More:

http://bringmethenews.com/2015/11/14/body-of-missing-trapper-found-next-to-partially-submerged-kayak/

Trap-free Montana initiative reaches signature-gathering stage

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http://missoulian.com/news/local/trap-free-montana-initiative-reaches-signature-gathering-stage/article_1506f517-eedb-5e9f-bb51-e70f73be167a.html

October 15, 2015 8:00 am  • 

A proposed ballot initiative to restrict and criminalize trapping on Montana’s public lands has passed its first hurdle.

Secretary of State Linda McCulloch’s office approved the gathering of signatures for the November 2016 general election on Oct. 6. Proponents have set out to gather 24,175 qualified signatures from at least 34 house districts by June 17.

The numbers represent 5 percent of those who voted in the last gubernatorial election and one-third of Montana’s house districts.

It’s the third time in six years an anti-trapping initiative has reached the signature-gathering stage. Efforts in 2010 and last year failed to garner the required number of signatures.

Initiative 177 would prohibit most commercial and recreational trapping and snaring for animals on public lands and establish misdemeanor criminal penalties for violations.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks could still use certain traps if nonlethal methods have been tried and found ineffective. Government employees and their agents could trap problem predators such as bears or mountain lions, or problem beavers or muskrats to mitigate damage to irrigation works on public lands.

Trapping by public officials could also be used to conduct “specified scientific and wildlife management activities,” according to the approved language of the initiative.

Proponents of I-177 say the law would address public safety concerns, control the “inhumane and indiscriminate” nature of traps, and relieve what they call the unsustainable pressure trapping puts on dwindling and endangered species.

Opponents argue it prohibits from using public lands the segment of the public who traps. They say the measure would drive up costs of state and federal wildlife management while reducing revenue, and it would handcuff those agencies from their charges of managing wildlife.

Chris Justice of Missoula, executive director of Footloose Montana and volunteer for Montana for Trap-Free Public Lands (MTFPL), said the initiative attempt in 2014 that got a late start and garnered just 10,000 signatures was sponsored by a separate group with a similar name: Trap-Free Montana Public Lands.

Justice said in crafting the current initiative, MTFPL focused on “very clearly defining in what cases the state still reserves the power to trap. Previous attempts have left that more ambiguous.”

House Bill 212, passed by the 2015 Legislature, went into effect Oct. 1. In part, it clarified that the word “harvest” in the Montana Constitution includes trapping. Opponents of the trap-free initiative maintain a constitutional amendment is needed to ban trapping. That would require twice as many signatures to get onto the ballot.

“We’re discouraged,” said Keith Kubista of Stevensville, president of Montana Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife and a vocal opponent of a trapping ban. “We’ve written many comments to the attorney general and others that suggest trapping is part of our constitutional right to harvest fish and game. That’s the foundation on which we’re going to approach this.”

***

Montana for Trap-Free Public Lands (MTFPL), with support from Footloose Montana, say trapping and snaring must go, or at least be eliminated from the public lands that constitute 35 percent of Montana.

“Under current law, trappers are able to set an unlimited number of traps, warning signs are not required, and trappers are advised but not required to check their traps in any specific period of time,” MTFPL said in a press release Wednesday.

“Montanans should not have to compromise peace of mind, welfare of children, and pet safety when using their own public land,” said Justice.

Trapping conflicts with hunting ethics, added Dr. Tim Provow, a Missoula anesthesiologist and president of the MTFPL and Footloose Montana boards.

Juneau hiker who freed eagle and sprung traps sued by trapper

By | September 4, 2015

The woman who freed a trapped eagle and was cited for springing other traps is heading back to court. In January, the State of Alaska dropped its case against Kathleen Turley. Now, the trapper is suing her for damages in small claims court.

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Kathleen Turley encountered this eagle stuck in two traps Dec. 24, 2014. She freed the eagle and tampered with other legally set traps in the area. She’s now being sued. (Photo courtesy Kathleen Turley)

Pete Buist is a past president and board member of the Alaska Trappers Association. He’s now its spokesman. Buist doesn’t know the Juneau trapper, John Forrest, but understands why he’s suing. He says if it were him, he’d do the same thing.

“I say bravo for the trapper. The state won’t do what’s right. He should do what’s right,” Buist says.

Forrest, who’s suing Kathleen Turley for at least $5,000, declined to comment.

In January, Turley (formerly Kathleen Adair at the time of the events) says she sprang three traps on two separate days out of concern for the safety of dogs and hikers. She also freed an eagle that was caught in two traps. Despite her efforts to save the eagle, it was later euthanized.

Alaska Wildlife Troopers cited Turley for tampering with traps that Forrest had legally set, not for freeing the eagle. Hindering lawful trapping is a violation of state law that carries up to a $500 fine and 30 days in jail.

Turley wasn’t fined or jailed. At the arraignment, the state’s prosecutor used his discretion and advocated for the case to be thrown out, and it was.

Buist says members of the trappers association weren’t happy.

“I can fully understand why the lady rescued the eagle. I don’t have any problem with that whatsoever. And I think if she had just rescued the eagle, the trappers would’ve supported that. But she didn’t. She went back and tampered with the traps and broke the law,” Buist says.

Shortly after the State of Alaska dropped its case against Turley, Buist says several members of the trappers association complained to the attorney general’s office.

“And basically we were summarily dismissed as the fringe element and it fizzled after that,” Buist says.

Forrest has a lawyer, though it’s not required in small claims court. Attorney Zane Wilson is no stranger in the trapping community. He helped win a high profile case involving wildlife biologist Gordon Haber who freed a wolf from a snare in Tok in 1997. The biologist was being funded by an international animal advocacy organization. The trapper sued and the Tok jury awarded him $190,000.

Wilson is with Fairbanks firm Cook Shuhmann & Groseclose. He relayed through an employee he was “not authorized” to speak to me. Wilson is a lifetime member of the trappers association. Buist says Wilson’s uncle is Dean Wilson, a well-known trapper and fur buyer who’s been called the state’s patriarch of trapping.

A fellow Juneau trapper and a state wildlife biologist have said Forrest partially relies on trapping for income. The most targeted species in the Juneau area is marten. In the 2012-2013 season, the average price for raw marten fur was about $140. A state report says one even fetched $1,300. In Southeast, trappers also target mink, otter, wolf and beaver, among other animals.

Turley, who freed the eagle and sprung the traps, doesn’t think she owes Forrest anything. She says she’s never been contacted by him. Until she received the complaint in the mail in July, she didn’t even know his name.

“I was very surprised and confused. … I hadn’t heard anything about it. I had no idea that he felt there was money owed,” Turley says.

Turley is Alaska-raised and has lived in Juneau for 30 years. She grew up fishing and hunting and shot a bear at age 16. As an avid outdoors person, she’s seen traps before, but had never tampered with any before the eagle incident. Turley says she’s not against trapping, but thinks it’s better suited for other parts of the state.

She says she didn’t damage the traps when she sprung them. Turley hasn’t been on the Davies Creek Trail where she found the eagle since.

“I’ve completely avoided that area, which is a beautiful area, a very nice trail, but I haven’t gone anywhere near it. I don’t want anything do to with it,” Turley says.

She says the whole incident and the lawsuit have caused her a lot of stress and grief.

The trial is scheduled for Oct. 12. Turley doesn’t have a lawyer yet.

Trapping in the 21st Century

by Stephen Capra

How is it as a society that in this day and time, understanding as we do the connection between a healthy, vibrant community of wildlife and true biodiversity, that we allow something as unfathomable as trapping? The cruel and twisted nature of this form of legal torture has changed little since its advent, one that defined the early days of our nation.

What remains the true insanity is that as our nation has evolved and positions have matured on race, women and so many other issues of inequality, but our positions on animals and wildlife have evolved at a far slower pace. So that today in New Mexico, being a bobcat is more than a death sentence, it is almost a guarantee that your life will be cut short in a barbarous manner, so that you can be sold for your fur.

We all know the term, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” It rings so true on the issue of trapping. We all know the reality of this cruel and sickening action, yet despite all our knowledge and emotions, the Game and Fish Department and the ranching community remain steadfast in their support of the practice. Many sportsmen also remain solid in their support; even though they acknowledge that it is a very cruel fate for any animal.

Some liken it to a tradition. They speak of their connection to nature as though we should simply understand that allowing an animal to wither in pain for hours, days or weeks is somehow something we want to condone or even pass on to a new generation. We seem to allow a giant loophole in the regulations of public lands that forbids killing for profit. Trappers it seems can use the lands, basically put them off-limits for our enjoyment, kill and torture animals and then sell their pelts for profit.

At the last Game and Fish meeting the green light was given to trapping cougars. We know all the wildlife that is impacted by traps, the bycatch of these animals remains tremendous, from eagles to our pets; yet rather than diminish the practice, our commission wants to ramp it up!

As we ponder as a nation our next steps on issues such as climate change and face the stiff and relentless pressure of republican politicians who refuse to even admit its legitimacy, it’s worth noting that as a nation, we remain unable to put the issue of trapping behind us. We continue to fight over whether it should be banned; we fight over the idea that it is a tradition or what animals should be allowed to suffer. Some even argue that the animals do not suffer. This all speaks to the ignorance of man, to the real selfish nature of those that see nature as a place not to revere, but as a place for profit.

That basic concept seems ingrained in our Manifest Destiny mindsets and grinding it out is the challenge we face as we come in contact with our own mortality as a species. Ending trapping is about more than ending suffering. It is about compassion, changing our view of animals from foe to friend. It is about changing ourselves from those who conquer to those willing to share the bounty we have been blessed with. Seeing the forest not for the trees, but rather as a living organism that gives life to wolves, bears, cougars and species as small as ants, a place where man is a visitor, not the owner.

There is a freedom in letting go. If we can begin to see ourselves not as the owner, but as yet another renter of this life giving force, we may begin to better understand the value of the commons. In this shared commons, we are a part of a much larger and more varied unit. Here many species share a space and regulate that space as they have for millions of years. They have done so without our input with a grace and balance that man remains a long way from perfecting.

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