I oppose the use of leghold traps. On Jan. 19, the Blaine County commissioners held a hearing on wolf trapping. They provided Idaho Fish and Game input on the 2021-22 trapping/hunting season from Aug. 1 to June 30 in Units 48 and 49. Public comments flooded their offices and Greg Cameron, Magic Valley Fish and Game commissioner, recommended maintaining the ban on wolf trapping in Blaine County. A proposal to allow trapping in those units, initially withdrawn, was reversed after a commissioners luncheon.
Slam your hand in a car door is probably the easiest explanation of what it must feel like to be caught in a leghold trap. The “fur trade” will have us believe more humane traps exist, such as the padded “soft-catch” trap with a thin narrow strip of rubber on the inside of the steel jaws. These leghold traps clamp onto an animal’s leg with intense power, preventing the animal from slipping out. Despite small cosmetic changes, all leghold traps are designed with one intent—to restrain a desperate, terrified and struggling wild or domestic animal that is trying to escape. As animals try to escape, they further injure themselves in their useless effort to break free of the steel jaws. Traps are commonly not checked frequently enough, causing additional harm and suffering.
Not only does this painful method ultimately kill “targeted” animals (wolves, bobcats, lynx, fox) after great suffering, but other animals, including pets, birds, even threatened and endangered species, are routinely caught and often killed in these traps.
Trapping is particularly troublesome in our active community with the high rate of season-long trail use. We need only look at the recent story describing state Sen. Michelle Stennett’s horrible experience when her beloved dog got his foot caught in a trap unmarked and placed just barely off a road they were walking on, screaming and crying for help. These traps are dangerous and torturous to unsuspecting wild and domestic animals and do not belong in our natural landscape.
Join me in speaking out, let Idaho Fish and Game and Commissioners know at idfg.idaho.gov/big-game. Comments are being accepted Feb. 8-28.
Kaz Thea, Hailey