Unfortunately, Mr. Garrison’s letter (May 18 Beacon: “Letter Writer Misrepresented Trappers”) does not hold up to fact checking. Garrison writes that Amanda Lanier’s claim in her letter on trapping was wrong that “Montana has no trap check requirements.” Garrison encourages his readers to check for themselves. I did, and just got off the phone with Fish, Wildlife and Parks. They confirmed that there are no mandatory, legally required trap check requirements. The exact wording in the furbearer regulations reads: “Traps should be checked at least once every 48 hours.”
Garrison also writes that Amanda’s claim that “for every one target animal killed in a trap, two non-targeted animals are killed” is a misrepresentation based on studies from “novice trappers.” Dick Randall, a former federal trapper and hardly a novice, testified before Congress, “My trapping records show that for each target animal I trapped, about two unwanted individuals were caught. (D. Randall. Hearings before the Ninety-Fourth Congress to Discourage the Use of Painful Devices in the Trapping of Animals and Birds. Washington, D.C. U.S. Govt. Printing Office) In the interest of space, I won’t cite the many other peer-reviewed studies that confirm Randall’s experience.
Surely Mr. Garrison means well, but I’m at a complete loss at where to begin to address his assertion that “Trapping is … good wholesome, challenging fun.” I am deeply saddened by a worldview so lacking in compassion and empathy that it regards the suffering and death of sentient beings as “fun.”
In response to Mr. Garrison’s closing question, “Can’t we all just live and let live?” I would certainly hope so, just as long as “all” includes both human and non-human animals.
Bob Muth Sr.