The Evils of Trapping….

Idaho wants to include wolf trapping in their bag of tricks for the upcoming wolf hunt.  I pray wolves won’t be subjected to this horror. The lawsuit challenging the wolf delisting rider is fast tracking in Judge Molloy’s court.  I believe he will find the rider to be unconstitutional.

I wonder if most people understand how evil trapping really is?  I’m always reminded of the sad tale of an alpha female wolf, who had been trapped outside Denali National Park.  She spent fourteen horrific days in that trap without food or water in horrible pain. Her packmates were frantic to help her but they could only watch her suffer. In the end she was so hungry, she tried to eat rocks  and her teeth were broken in the effort.  That beautiful wolves’ world was reduced to being caught in a medieval, painful trap, meant to deprive her of her family, deprive her of food and shelter, and ultimately deprive her of her life.  Her story has brought  me to tears more than once.

This is trapping. It is barbaric, it is torture and should be outlawed. The fact they want to use traps to kill wolves in the Idaho hunt is egregious beyond measure.

Trapping also has terrible connotations connected to wolves because it was the trap that was used so liberally to exterminate wolves in the West.  Are we traveling down that long, dark path once more?

From the Endangered Species Handbook, Wolves, Wild Dogs and Foxes:  (Page 4)

“One study on wolves taken in various types of traps was published in the Journal of Wildlife Management (Ballenberghe 1984). It investigated injuries and mortality of 126 wolves trapped in northeastern Minnesota and Alaska. Traps used included steel jaw leghold traps of various types, some with teeth, others with smooth offset jaws; steel cable foot snares; and cable neck snares equipped with devices that prevented the loop from fully closing (Ballenberghe 1984). The results confirmed that steel jaw leghold traps caused the greatest number of injuries and mortalities: 41 percent of 109 adults, yearlings and pups caught in these traps incurred serious foot and leg injuries, defined as lacerations, damage to tissue, bone breakage, and joint dislocations (Ballenberghe 1984). Three wolves, including a pup, had broken leg bones; two others lost front feet after they were nearly amputated by the trap. One young male with broken radius and ulna bones in his foreleg was released in this study to stumble off; this wolf was caught by a trapper several months later (Ballenberghe 1984).

Other injuries resulted when trapped animals gnawed their own feet off and chewed on the traps, breaking teeth and splitting lips. The steel jaw leghold traps caused tissue, muscle and tendon injuries, even when checked daily” (Ballenberghe 1984).”

Aside from leghold traps, there are snare traps. These are equally horrific. In  1992 there was a mind-boggling “research project” conducted in Alaska, involving the use of thousands of wire snares laid to kill wolves in a misguided attempt to increase ungulate populations.  The ESA Handbook further describes the horror that ensued.

“In 1992, such a wolf “research” program, involving the setting of thousands of wire snares, was carried out south of Fairbanks. Gordon Haber, a conservationist and wolf biologist who has worked for decades on behalf of Alaska’s
wolves, brought television crews to film the snaring operation in December 1994. They were shocked by the scene
that awaited them. Four wolves had been caught in wire snares, two of them pups. One was dead, and three were still alive, terrified and in great pain. A 6-month-old pup, with its paw caught in a neck snare, had chewed off its foreleg in a futile effort to escape. Another had been snared around the chest, causing deep wounds. The other two had been snared by the leg. All these snares had been set to catch the wolves by the neck and kill them, yet none did. Members of the pack milled about nearby, unwilling to leave their fellows. Two snared Caribou were lying dead nearby. A trapper was filmed as he attempted to shoot the wolves, repeatedly missing or wounding them because he used the wrong caliber ammunition in his gun. He shot one pup five times in the head and body at point-blank range with the wrong gauge ammunition. The pup, wounded, remained standing. The trapper then reloaded with other ammunition, and this time shot all three wolves fatally.”

Read more:

That is trapping in all it’s ugliness.  We have not learned anything as a society if we tolerate this kind of brutality.  The magnificent wolf or any animal should never be exposed to this torture.

Please visit Footloose Montana to learn more.

Large Leghold Trap.

* Sadly Gordon Haber was killed in a plane crash in the fall of 2009.  The wolves of Denali lost their champion.

Photos: Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Posted in: Wolf Wars, Idaho wolves

Tags: brutality of trapping, leghold traps, wire snare trapping, animal cruelty, animal suffering, trapping should be banned, gray wolf, Idaho, Alaska

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18 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. The wildlife trap has to be the most BARBARIC contraption man has ever made. Be it a steel tooth leghold trap, or a snarl net trap, or a drowning trap for beavers, or any one of number of evil devices.
    Wild animals are particularly TERRIFIED when trapped, aside from the excruciating pain, and inability to protect themselves, and feed themselves. We have all heard those stories of animals being so desperate that they have chewed their own leg off to escape a trap!
    I cannot understand why they are legal? They are very cruel and unusual punishment!
    A small story, a small kind of victory – in my home town when I was just a young teenager, my cat got out and was missing for several days! One of my childhood friends found him in a leghold trap, set up to catch wildlife in this “lesser person’s” yard. I ended up taking my cat (after surgery), and the trap to the next council meeting, and in that town, managed to get an ordinance passed that would ban the leghold trap for good! I pushed the idea that trapping could obviously effect non-targeted pets and even small children! I thought to myself at that time, I could maybe ban traps, one small town at a time! But quickly learned that my ideas were NOT welcome in towns that I was not a resident of!!
    Anyway, my small victory is just that – small!
    Traps are the worst kind of torture for animals and when I am hiking, if I see one, I take one!!! Sorry, makes me a thief – but oh well!!


  2. P.S. A dear friend, who shall remain anonymous, goes ‘trap hiking’ with intentions of finding and taking traps – a party of 3-4 people, sticks, duffle bags and suitcases with wheels. She goes on Trapper websites to see the best places to set traps within her state. Then this little ban of Robin Hoods journey there and pick up as many evil contraptions that they find! With each trap starting at about $40.00 – this can be expensive for trappers!

    Not suggesting that you do this yourself and Caution: Must be thought out well – obviously the kind of person who sets traps is a violent individual.

    Trappers play so dirty with animals, that I, personally, have no conscience about taking their instruments of the dark ages!


  3. Yep, Linda right on. I agree with her 100%. Trapping is barbaric and inhumane. Not only are they a threat to wildlife and peopel’s pets, also to people. if you see a trap, dispose of it and be very careful doing it and don’t tell a soul about it. The thing that no trapper can deny is that traps are indiscriminate and any animal can get caught in them.


  4. Linda I would do the same (your 1st comment’s) & I would do the same (2nd comment)

    Ye – Ha! I love it ….. if I lived out west where there were traps like that – I would go on a trapping party myself. No one would be the wiser.


  5. Hum – MT. ?????


  6. The only people that I detest more than trappers are the Canned Hunters….. I suggest everyone watch Animal Planet on Mon June 20 9pm. Undercover footage will be shown taken from a HSUS undercover operation showing cruel unsportsmanlike activities including drugged animals used as target practice for the degenerate hunting community….These people are cowards and sadists


  7. thanks for posting this will.

    The Humane Society of the United States: Email – Captive hunting exposed on Animal Planet Investigat
    On Monday, June 20, at 9 p.m. EDT/PDT, watch as producers of Animal Planet Investigates ride shotgun with Humane Society of the United States undercover investigators exposing the unsavory captive exotic animal hunting business, where fenced, tame animals are shot for guaranteed trophies.


    • Jon…thank you for the heads up. I’m going to post this on the blog. Just a disgusting practice.



    • Jon…..oooooops I missed posting it.



  8. I don’t think I will be able to watch a bunch of assholes shooting defenseless animals. I know that it is a good message that NEEDS to get out. But I would get to pissed – & I’m already pissed enough @ what’s going on in this country. My passion is to help wildlife & companion animals ….. I just get to emotional & depressed – I’ll wait to hear from you all how the program pans out. Plus I have to work. I work a second shift @ the place I work @.


  9. It disgusts me quite a bit when they call hunters sportsmen. What about killing is sporting? If a bear kills a hunter, is the bear considered a sportsmen as well? these cowards are using technology that no wild animal no matter how dangerous it is can contend with. these cowards love shooting wild animals from a safe distance away where the wild animal has no chance of getting him. it’s cowardly. nothing sporting about it at all. Killing and sport should never be used in the same sentence. these sportsmen will tell you you are operating on emotion. Well, is it wrong to feel disgusting that these amazing wild animals are being killed with guns for sport? These cwardly sportsmen do not give a crap about wild animals like they claim. It should be well known by now all they care about is KILLING animals with their guns. They lack emotion and need something to kill with their guns. This isn’t about hunting for food. This is about wanting to kill wild animals for absurd reasons.


    • Most do not even know the meaning of a sportman or sportsmanship.How about the fair conduct that is considered fitting for a sportsperson including observance of the rules,fair play,the respect for others and the graciousness in losing?This meaning of sportsmanship must have gotten lost in translation for there seems to be alot of whoo-haha- hahs out there that are ignorant by choice or/and just being obstinate.


  10. Op-ed: State Shows Disrespect For Planet and Future

    By Joseph Cook, Professor of Biology, University of New Mexico. Albuquerque Journal, Jun 15, 2011 (posted 6-15-11)

    The recent decision by the New Mexico Game Board to withdraw from the Mexican gray wolf recovery efforts speaks volumes about priorities in the Martinez administration,

    In the next 50 years, 25 percent of the mammals – some 1,400 species – on our planet are projected to go extinct, largely due to humans’ role in the perturbation or collapse of healthy (wild) ecosystems. Similar dismal projections have been advanced for other forms of fish and wildlife.

    What role will New Mexico play in this crisis? The recent decision by the newly installed game board, individuals especially appointed to ensure healthy and productive wildlife populations for New Mexico, is a dangerous step backward. The science on this issue is clear, but once again, science was dismissed for short-term political gain.

    The Mexican gray wolf reintroduction effort was unanimously supported by a resolution of the American Society of Mammalogists in 2007 at a meeting attended by (about) 500 scientists. We know that top predators are essential to healthy ecosystems. When top predators are removed, a cascade of other losses often follows.

    We also know that the Mexican gray wolf is the most distinctive form of wolf in North America and is globally significant because it harbors highly distinctive genes. We further know that, wolves and humans can coexist. Wolves cause far less damage to livestock than other predators such as black bears, cougars, coyotes, domestic dogs or automobiles.

    What about the economic argument? In other places, healthy wolf populations have been a boon to the tourism industry- such as Yellowstone National Park. How about safety? Having raised a family in Alaska, where wolf packs moved freely through our neighborhood, (I can say that) efforts by some local politicians (and even a U.S. representative) to instill fear of this animal are simply laughable.

    What about our moral obligations? With some 7 billion humans on the planet and the population of New Mexico doubling in the last few decades, we are the primary force impacting biodiversity. It is up to us to make wise decisions now regarding who will share the planet we leave to our children.

    Stepping backward to the ill-advised predator control efforts of the last century is worse. We can and must do better.

    Will we hold our politicians and appointed officials accountable? New Mexicans should embrace our irreplaceable wild heritage. It’s our state and our future. Demand that our decision-makers maintain the few wild places left – such as the Gila Wilderness. These areas must support rich, healthy ecosystems with all the pieces (species) intact, not impoverished landscapes where we soon will recall, regretfully, that wildlife used to roam.

    In your letter, please thank the paper for publishing this important op-ed. Talk about the tremendous importance of Mexican wolves to the Southwest and to you personally, point out that this decision does not reflect the overwhelming support of the people of New Mexico for the reintroduction program, and call on Governor Martinez and the NM Game Commission to reverse this harmful decision against a beautiful animal that has only around 50 members left in the wild.


    • I watched it nabeki. the humane society got the evidence they needed. Not like we didn’t know about canned hunting.


      • Jon….I can barely stand to watch canned hunts, factory farming pics or hear about trapped, shot wolves. It breaks my heart. Some humans lack any common human decency, no empathy, there is a word for that.



    • President Obummer should sign an executive order banning all interstate commerce of exotic animals. This would signal some conviction from the administration that these dispicable actions will not be tolerated. I mean really- what person really defends this type of animal cruelty other than the canned hunting operators and their pathetic clients? I have watched the footage of the Corsican Ram that was shown being hit with arrows- and these were not hunting arrows- that animal was hit at least 10 times with arrows before it fell to it”s knees and eventually was killed with a gunshot after enduring more than 30 minutes of torture. The dipshit owner laughed after they shot it and said ‘he didn’t want to die” hee hee. Typical ignorant rednecks with no sense of decency whatsoever- and protected by our elected officials


      • william, Good luck on getting this President to do that. All we have to remember is he put a rancher in charge of the Interior and the Democrats in the Senate, except for three, voted to delist wolves by rider. After that, I lost all faith in the Democrat party.



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