Voices of the Peninsula: Why so many proposals against trapping, when trappers haven’t changed?

  • By Tom Honer
  • Thursday, February 12, 2015 8:15pm
  • Opinion

Why should there always be proposals against trapping, when trappers haven’t changed?

Most present-day trappers are from the 1970s, 80s, 90s generation. We definitely like to see and help the younger generation get involved in trapping in the outdoors. We need trails to walk on. I’m 60 years old and so are most of present-day trappers. My legs are getting worse, but I (we) still carry a lot of weight. It’s hard and we work at it and try to cover as much ground as we can or have time to. We only trap around four months out of the year.

Nobody is being denied the use of any trail. Practically all trails and rural bush roads were made by loggers, miners, oil companies, hunters, trappers, and the State (for public use). And those certain groups are against all of those activities. Most of the people complaining never leave the trail and they think they have the only rights to it. They won’t hike or ski unless someone paves them a trail, which I have done on snowshoes, most all of them are in a lot better shape than us. People will leave the trail only to follow our tracks to see what we are doing. Most of them know. A lot of them will destroy the set, if they find it. Some either steal the trap or pull it and then throw it to where you can’t find it. And others take the animal. Even when people oppose issues in the world, doesn’t mean the activities are wrong.

There virtually aren’t any issues to warrant their proposals. It just comes down to that they are anti-trappers. They are against any type of hunting. Some people are against things just because they don’t do them. Many people are more and more against practically everything our grandfathers did. All of our grandfathers and grandmothers built America, and a lot of people want to follow the tradition in their footsteps.

Some people are using dogs as a means to use against trappers. Very few dogs are under voice control when in any kind of a stressful situation, whether it be animals or humans. Even domesticated animals, considered tame, still have wild instincts. They are not in your control if unleashed. Dogs are pets, being a total responsibility of the accompanying person, to where they’re not disturbing people, and their belongings, and wildlife. That’s why they have leash laws. If dogs are considered by some people as users, then they have to be regulated.

We can all walk on and use the trails without interfering with each other. I posted signs on trails to keep dogs on-leash. All of them were ripped off even when I continued to replace them. I’ve noticed no difference of people or dogs tampering with sets near the trail or a ways off. I spend more time disguising my sets from people than I do for the animals I’m targeting. Leash laws are made for a reason, or they wouldn’t have them at all. Pets are supposed to be your friends. You shouldn’t let them get out of your sight or reach. People are the real issue not dogs. There are very few cases of dogs getting in traps, and practically none that are fatal.

So people will complain, and yet you’ll just see a few all winter, and hardly ever the same people. For only 2-4 months out of the year, trappers are the biggest users. When it’s minus-20 degrees, blowing snow, raining, or sunshine, trappers are out there. You’ll virtually never see anyone else, unless everything is just their way.

Tom Honer of Soldotna has been trapping for more than 40 years.

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