The Wallowa County Chieftain, Enterprise, OR


COMMENTARY: Defense of trapping wrong

By Buck Campbell
For the Chieftain

The defense of trapping is just plain wrong. The antagonism towards people who choose not to spend their money here because of it is ridiculous. 

There is a narrow line for us to protect our country "tradition"' and to falling into the trap of being backwards and out of touch and uneducated.  The folk who choose to come here come because of the traditions and avoid some of us because we seem to be slipping back into times that weren't all that great and yet the old timer can't resist calling it "tradition."

I've learned a lot from the people who have recently moved here and thank them for it. And I think that they learn from me too - .they are curious, interested and tend to be less judgmental than we give them credit for being. And they tend to be good land stewards and good to their critters too.

At my church we are taught that we are the protectors and stewards of the land and the birds and the beasts.  I've not seen any of that in the letters defending fur trapping.  I don't trap or poison on my land. It is healthy and balanced with predators, prey, cattle and farming.  Kindness is something that is often lacking in those of us who make our living from animals and the land.  We should never lose our humanity or humaneness.

If something needs to die at my place, or during hunting season, it is done quickly, humanely and with the dignity of the animal in mind.  Animals never, ever suffer needlessly.

There is a balance and I celebrate that.  Nothing is killed for 'fun' or in a way that is disrespectful or unnecessary. 

Fur trapping is wrong mainly because it is a 'sport' or 'hobby' and because it kills animals in hideous ways, because it's indiscriminate, because it's wasteful, because it's dangerous to animals both domesticated and wild, because traps, hidden and unmarked, are set where we locals frequently go for recreation, and because it discourages free use of public lands. The people who do it do so because they LIKE killing things...they maybe make a couple a hundred dollars a year but no more.  They could also use humane traps. It also destroys many of the predators that create balance and healthy land. And these animals belong to all of us, not just people who like to torture them to death.

Mr. Matthews at ODFW says that traps don't hurt kids.  I know for a fact that they do.  He needs to demonstrate and explain that view of his.  Of course ODFW makes money from trapping so I take his comments with a grain of salt. 

If my kid or grandkids got caught in a trap because ODFW or the trappers won't sign trapping areas, as they refuse to do, I would not be responsible for my actions. And no, I would not like it, nor would I or many other ranchers I know, be un fazed if one of my dogs got caught in an unmarked trap set for fur.  

Mr. Turner, in his ridiculous letter, fails to mention that he is a trapper and instead implies that the rest of us have less access to public land and that's just fine with him. 

I don't think you need to be an 'old timer' or a 'newcomer' or a 'tourist' or even a hunter to find fur trapping immoral, repulsive and harking back to a time of "tradition' that is better put behind us as we learn to treat both our land and its resources in a way that says 'stewardship' and not 'annihilation'.

In concluding his last letter, Mr. Turner implies that "newcomers" to Oregon (more than half the population) have second-class rights to public land. This country is formed by migration and movement, not just of people geographically but also of ideas and morality. Modern morality no longer condones a dismissive and cruel attitude to wildlife.


Buck Campbell is an Imnaha area rancher. 






Letter: Trapping tales

I grew up in Joseph (go, Class of '81!) and worked for Oregon State Forestry during high school with Ernie Patterson and Dennis Tyler. The only traps we encountered were both sad tales.

In one trap, a fawn had worn a dirt path going back and forth trying to get out. Her mouth was full of dirt from the repeated jerks to the the ground. Mr. Tyler fended off the circling doe while I got the fawn loose. The trap had caught the end of the hoof, so there wasn't a lot of damage. I was glad to see the fawn reunited with her Mom and was even happier Mr. Tyler kept my head from being kicked in by that doe.

The second trap was along a county road and had caught a bobcat. It was the first bobcat that I had seen in Wallowa County. Sadly, the trapper was a lazy punk as the bobcat was dead, flat and full of maggots.

Mr. De Lyria (Letters, March 4) can blather on about the nobility of trapping and his contempt for those outside of Wallowa County. It certainly won't stop me from visiting friends in the country and attending Fishtrap. However, when asked if there is a small-town mindset in the county, I will tell them certainly not in the friends that I know, but I will have to pause thinking of Mr. De Lyria.

Kevin Nusser