No to amendment
Voting no on the proposed amendment to the Idaho Constitution perpetuating forever the right to hunt, fish, or trap will have no effect on your existing rights. Voting yes potentially commits Idaho taxpayers to expensive litigation.
Hunting and fishing are part of the Idaho DNA. Barely into my teens, I began hunting 50 years ago in the Boise Foothills with my father, Glenn Balch. For years, he hunted upland game birds every day of their hunting seasons. He always emphasized hunting sportsmanship and the quick kill.
Unfortunately, trapping does not ensure the quick kill. In Idaho, trappers are only required to check their traps every 72 hours. Sadly, traps are entirely indiscriminate. While prowling Idaho wilds, hunters purposefully choose what to shoot. A wolf is fair game during hunting season while someone’s black lab out for an innocent run is not. However, steel traps do not discriminate and will crush the legs of dogs as successfully as they detain wolves.
Vote no on HJR 2. If nothing else, think of taking your dog out for romp in the countryside and having your pet blunder into an unmodified, steel-jawed leg trap.
OLIN BALCH, DVM, Cascade
Protect trapping;vote for amendment
In a 38-page scientific report, George Hurst sums up wild turkey predation: “Predation has been documented (empirical evidence) to be the primary cause of nest (eggs) destruction, and poult and hen mortality.”
He states further that “predator management should be part of a holistic (comprehensive, integrated) turkey management plan,” and that “the most intensive (predator) reduction should take place ... as close as possible to the beginning of the turkey nesting period (March).”
That coincides perfectly with regulated trapping seasons in Idaho.
Here’s one example why trapping is included in HJR 2, the right to hunt, trap and fish amendment. IDFG has stated that it needs hunting and trapping to assist with proper wildlife management. Yet groups who state that “Idaho wildlife should be managed by Fish and Game” urge voters to reject HJR 2 because it includes protection for trapping.
If we don’t protect the right to trap in Idaho now, while HJR 2 is on the ballot, anti-trapping groups will see that Idaho loses that management tool. We can’t allow that to happen in Idaho, especially with the expanding numbers of large predators that threaten wildlife populations, pets and people.
Please vote yes on HJR 2, even if you don’t hunt, trap or fish.
JARED BOLEY, Rupert
Trapping is sadistic
Nobody is threatening to end ethical hunting in Idaho. Not even trapping, as egregious as the practice is used today, for recreation instead of livelihood. Trapping is not a “beloved Idaho tradition.” It is a sadistic hobby. It does not rate constitutional protection. Moreover, it encourages more egregious practices like poison baiting.
How about protecting the civil rights of Idaho citizens to equal pay, equal access to health care, equal civil rights for all, taxation with representation? Those are proper issues for constitutional changes. Not hobby hunting.
CATHY BUTTERFIELD, North Fork
I am writing this letter concerning Article 1, Section 23 of the Idaho Constitution. This is the hunting, fishing and trapping law. I have nothing against hunting and fishing but I am against trapping. Trapping is inhumane. The animal or whatever is caught in the trap (pets or possibly humans) suffers a slow, painful death.
In the upcoming election, the state of Idaho is trying to pass an amendment on Section 23. I feel it is not right that hunting and fishing be voted on with trapping. Hunting and fishing are more humane than trapping. The government will sometimes put a law it wants to pass with another law or issue that it knows people are passionate about. They try to hide it behind other laws to get it passed. Before you know it we have more and more restrictions or losses of freedoms. I feel that’s what is being done in this election concerning Article 1, Section 23. I feel trapping should be a separate vote all together. I’m not trying to take away people’s rights to hunt animals, but I feel we have a responsibility to animals to treat them humanely, no living creature should suffer.
PATTY CAPENER, Boise
Trapping is cruel
Article I of the Idaho Constitution should not be amended by addition of new Section 23. I am a fourth-generation Idahoan and am not against hunting nor fishing for human consumption. I am, however, totally against trapping, whether it be steel jaw leghold traps, snares or other types of traps. Many untargeted animals and birds are caught in these traps as well as targeted animals which all suffer horrible, inhumane deaths. If lucky enough to be rescued from this death trap, nearly 100 percent of them need to be euthanized because of nerve damage to their limbs. Many animals chew their own limbs off to free themselves and die from massive infection. Many companion animals have also suffered in these traps and would certainly have died if not accompanied by their owner.
Idaho is one of two states required to check traps only every 72 hours which certainly allows numerous time for suffering by those unlucky enough to be caught. Hunting and fishing are acceptable means of killing wildlife if it is done in a quick and humane way. There is nothing quick nor humane about any type of trap and this amendment should not be added to Idaho’s Constitution.
TONI HICKS, Boise
New law not needed
I’m pretty sure that HJR 2 will pass, probably with flying colors. On the surface it seems like a really attractive idea. But is it?
Personally, I believe F&G is doing a good job of managing our wildlife resource.
Hunting, fishing and trapping are already covered by law without this constitutional amendment as they’ve been since the imitative creating the F&G and the commission which was passed by Idaho citizens overwhelmingly in the 1930s.
Let’s suppose that with the amendment in place, extremists of wolf eradication decide that their right to hunt enough wolves to keep wolf populations at a balanced level in relation to other wildlife have been denied by F&G. With wolf populations in some areas admittedly causing problems for deer and elk, this might be a good case to build on. Of course, the next step would be to take the case to court. Right or wrong, this would force F&G into court, adding unnecessary use of funds needed for other programs. Without this amendment, the proponents of wolf reduction could go directly to F&G and plead their case. F&G is always open to listen and react to problems. (Indeed, they’re already working on this problem.)
FRED CHRISTENSEN, Caldwell
Voting ‘yes’ will helpcontrol the wolves
Too many letters to editors cite trapping as a reason to vote no against HJR 2. Ironically, some of those letter writers had direct influence on bringing wolves to Idaho, so they endorsed trapping then, and condemn it now.
Idaho’s wolf population is burgeoning. One doesn’t have to go very far to read stories about wolves harming people. Two recent stories describe wolf predation on children: “Wolf kills Iraqi boy” and “Wolves kill kid in Gulbarga village” (online). Wikipedia lists more than 4,000 wolf attacks on humans, not including the two children mentioned above.
I have read several terrifying accounts of Idahoans being trapped on their property by wolves, or finding wolf tracks on top of the kids’ tracks as they walked to the bus stop. It’s only a matter of time before an Idahoan child is carried off by a wolf.
IDFG states that hunting and trapping are preferred methods for managing Idaho’s predators. If HJR 2 fails, several groups will gang up to eliminate trapping. Hunting will fall next. Then, government aerial gunners and poison carcasses will be used to control wolves at taxpayers’ expense.
Protect the private, economic assets of hunting and trapping in Idaho. Vote ‘yes’ on HJR2.
TIM CONANT, Dietrich
Control trapping;vote no on HJR 2
The reason to vote no on HJR 2 is:
I have witnessed over 50 animals (both avian and mammal) caught in steel-jaw leghold traps, conibear traps and snares. In the case of steel-jaw traps, extremities so badly torn to pieces they are often dangling by a mere ligament. Snares are wire nooses that get exponentially tighter as the animal continues to struggle to free itself until the life is squeezed out of it. If “fortunate” enough to have only a limb caught, nerve damage, more often than not, occurs resulting in the animal chewing its own limb off due to the tingling sensation. Conibear traps are designed to crush the animal, causing death. Trappers, per their license, need only check their traps every 72 hours. That is three days animals must linger (if they are still alive) in fear and excruciating pain.
Traps are not species specific, if it can walk, it can get caught. These traps are barbaric and archaic. Voting no will not end trapping, but may allow our trapping laws to be legally challenged sometime in the future, which would be next to impossible if it were added to Idaho’s state constitution.
MADY ROTHCHILD, state/federal licenses wildlife rehabilitator, Boise
Don’t make trappinga constitutional right
Who can forget the Forest Service worker posing glibly for the camera, a black wolf in the background caught in a steel-jawed foothold trap in blood-soaked snow. The animal languished as passers-by took pot shots prompting the trapper to race up for his shot, err, picture.
Steel-jawed foothold traps, body-grip (conibear) traps, or neck snares used for hunting do not discriminate. Animals caught in traps suffer agonizing, painful deaths, often losing limbs. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game requires checking traps every 72 hours, disturbingly not daily.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association: “The AVMA opposes the use of conventional, unmodified steel jawed leghold traps. Legitimate science and management practices that necessitate the capture of wildlife should employ the most humane traps and techniques. Such traps and techniques should reduce injury and stress, minimize pain and suffering to wildlife, and prevent capture of nontarget animals.”
Idahoans’ right to hunt and fish is not in jeopardy and never will be. But making it a “constitutional right” to trap using “traditional methods” is a thinly veiled effort to forever enshrine inhumane traps thereby endangering people, pets, and countless unintended wildlife.
DR. KAREN BALCH, DVM, Cascade
Voters should protecttrapping rights
A USGS study discussing the effects of habitat and predator compositions on waterfowl nesting sites says, “Intensive predator management is a warranted and important alternative when habitat management alone is inadequate.”
The study describes waterfowl as an “economic, recreational, and aesthetic resource” appreciated by 22 million (2006) hunters and non-consumptive users. Dwindling habitat and highly-adaptable predator populations are cited as the main threats to this resource.
“Intensive predator management” can be aerial gunning, agency trapping. Even poisoning is listed by the study as “effective over large areas of the landscape, but effects on non-target species are of great concern.” These are all taxpayer-funded options. But predator control can also be provided by regulated private trapping, a pursuit that is economically positive, at no cost to the taxpayer.
My husband traps every year and he spends a lot of money doing it. His trapping enhances the economy and puts a natural resource to use, to the benefit of countless other wildlife species. We don’t want to see aerial gunners and poison managing predators in Idaho.
Please vote yes on HJR 2aa, even if you don’t understand private trapping, or haven’t thought much about the alternatives.
TINA CARNEY, treasurer-Pass HJR 2aa PAC, Mountain Home
Protect our rights
Idaho’s hunting and fishing heritage is a huge part of Idaho’s economy and provides an abundance of opportunity and jobs. If HJR 2 passes with a yes vote, it will amend our Idaho Constitution to protect our rights. It will serve to stop threats by anti-hunting and anti-fishing groups that are usually funded by out-of-state radicals. Many small communities depend on tourism and sportsmen in order to succeed. Hunters and fishermen will still encounter the expense of licenses, tags, and permits. Conservation laws and responsible hunting will be protected and so will we. If HJR 2 passes, it will protect the foundation of Idaho’s hunting and fishing legacy. In Idaho we know what is best for our communities, our wilderness, and our economy. Step up and protect your rights before they are gone forever.
JACINDA HOPKINS, Riggins