The Feb. 12 guest opinion by Kevin Brown, "Female mountain lions victims of IDFG mismanagement," prompted me to give the following account.
Nov. 12, 2014: Idaho Fish and Game invited citizens to attend a public forum on trapping rules. About 90 percent of the participants argued for reasonable changes of rules in place.
Next day IDFG commissioners disregarded all public input and decided to let the current rules stand. Instead they decided to offer trapper education courses.
I was one of the attendees at that meeting, interested in the educational courses.
Jan. 7, 2015: I attended the second part of two-day trapping course from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. given by three Fish and Game officials, a trapper accompanied by his family (including a 5-year-old girl who has been taught how to trap weasels) and a taxidermist who also works for the Forest Service. He skinned two muskrats, one mink. A beaver and a kitten mountain lion were skinned after I left.
The educational information given during a period of seven hours covered mostly information on how to trap successfully, kinds, making and maintenance of traps, demonstration of how to skin pelt animals, pelt handling for profit, current pelt prices and the like. Extensive printed information on resources were distributed.
Snares were given lots of information in construction and merits because they are cheap to make and light to carry in numbers.
By trappers being able to set out literally as many snares as they wish, seasons don't mean anything. Many are never picked up. It is too much of a hassle for a trapper to have to pick up hundreds of his snares.
Most snares are left out all year round. In other words, snaring animals illegally.
Many times trappers will put out a marker on a near bush or tree so snares could be located later.
The instructor mentioned that leaving a long cable on the snare allows the target to move and look for shelter. Then the target would be easy to "dispatch." In anybody's view, the snared animal would be suffering until the trapper shows up to do his killing.
Trapping is an inhumane and archaic practice.
Trapping was lumped together with hunting and fishing to make it a constitutional right.
Trapping is not hunting, it is not a sport. It is an abominable tool to exploit and extract monetary interests out of the torture and suffering of wild critters.
Trapping should not be a constitutional right.
IDFG would like to make us believe that trapping is a game management tool.
The hundreds of trapping permits and licenses outnumbers the enforcement officers to control the laws and regulations.
For the Idaho Panhandle there are a total of 12 officers on the field and three supervisors.
Most likely, trappers run amok with their practices.
Of interest to me was the subject of freeing an unwanted target like my dog or myself.
The trapper mentioned that a dog caught in a "padded jaw trap" could be freed in five minutes. He was a big man and could pry the trap open. I, weighing 94 pounds, tried unsuccessfully even after the trapper instructed me to also step on it.
I would encourage you to look into the money spent in fancy pamphlets and videos to make us believe "how easy it would be" to save our dogs.
Cecilia Nolthenius is a Coeur d'Alene resident.