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A first-hand viewpoint about hunting and trapping

Editor:
This letter is in response to the many letters that you have received in reference to trapping. I am one of those “unusual people” that Mr. Johnson wrote about. I am 14 years old and have been trapping since I was 12 years old.

I take great offense to the inaccurate statements that were made to make trappers look like heartless human beings. I take great pride in my trapping abilities and consider myself an ethical trapper and hunter.

Before I received my trapping license, I attended a trapping camp and was mentored by some of the best trappers in the area.

I would like to clear up a few inaccurate statements that were published. First of all, the traps that were referenced are not leghold traps, they are foothold traps. I would invite anyone to place their hand in one and you will see that they hold the animal by their foot. They don’t break their leg or their foot, or anything like that. They simply hold them there, until the responsible trapper checks the trap, which is required by law to be checked at least once every 24 hours.

These animals are not held in the trap for days, without food or water. The animals that are targeted to be trapped are predators that generally hunt at night and a majority of the trappers check their traps first thing in the morning, so these animals are only held in these traps for a short period of time.

We are going to encounter unethical hunters, trappers and fishermen, just like we are going to encounter citizens that drink and drive, steal and murder. It is our job, as responsible citizens, to report any crimes that have been committed, both on the streets and in nature. I would encourage anyone that sees a hunter or a trapper poaching or committing any crime to please call the 1-800-847-7332 (NYS DEC Poachers and Polluters Hotline), because people like that ruin the environment for everyone.

Also, please note that it is illegal to remove an animal or check someone’s trap by any unlicensed trapper, without written permission, which was also printed in a previous letter.

My family and I count the days until opening day of trapping season, not to just trap, but to enjoy nature and the beautiful creatures that live in it. We have a great respect for the animals and we spend a lot of time studying them, their habitats and how they live.

We are doing our jobs, as sportsmen, to help control the animal population, by preventing these animals from starving to death and spreading terrible diseases. We also help protect the land, livestock and the crops that these animals are destroying.

I would suggest that, instead of the schools’ teaching us about animal cruelty and torture as another writer suggested, maybe more should be taught about environmental conservation and the ethical ways of providing such services to our environment.

Jake Smith
East Concord
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2012-11-22 | 07:56:58
Relieved
Just when I feared the entire state was going down a liberal spiral, I was relieved to read all the trapping rebuttals. I am pleased to see that sanity does prevail for many articulate people. There may be hope yet.