Stepping on trappers’ toes comes with criticism


Trappers might be the keepers of an antiquated craft, but they all seem to have Internet access.

A recent column raising the issue of trapping in 2014 in Nevada generated no shortage of responses. While several folks scratched their heads and admitted they didn’t know the activity still existed, and others were highly critical of it, by far the largest reaction came from the trappers themselves.

Feel the iron jaws of their anger as it clamps down on poor, defenseless Nevada Smith:

All the way from Flagstaff, Ariz., John Brooks writes, “Hey, Smith: Your journalism is a very glowing shade of yellow!”

Why, thank you. Some people say it matches my eyes.

Jason Lavash writes: “Trapping is not a way of the past or in any way going to be a way of the past ever. Trappers are helping researchers for disease and population numbers. And if you think a shorter trap time set will help you, you are very mistaken. It will only bring us lower off the tops of mountains and into lower areas where more hunters and ‘hikers’/dog walkers are. I hate to break it to you, but your problem is not us.”

The problem, it appears, is too many hikers and dog walkers.

Fred Bianchi offers: “I read your column regarding trapping, it’s full of bias, especially your comment where you state trappers make pathetic comments like it’s their God-given right to trap. It is their right to trap, trapping has been around for hundreds of years here in Nevada. … Maybe you should consult trappers before you write a biased column.”

Matt Lamb writes: “Trapping has been around for a very long time. I think you need to show it a little respect and for the people that still carry on the tradition. It has been a tradition in my family for many years and teaches you more than just trying to make some money.”

Jerry Smith, probably a distant cousin, writes, “Oh, if only you would use your powers for good!”

Everyone tells me that.

He continues: “It could have been a thought-provoking, balanced, all things considered, assessment of fur trapping in Nevada in 2014 — pro and con. It was not even accurate.

“… Trappers do catch non-target animals just as I am sure you have had incident kills of animals with your automobile while driving. It is an unintended consequence. Trappers work hard to be as selective as possible but stuff happens.”

He argues that the non-target kill rates, when compared to the number of traps set, is actually quite small.

“It escapes me why any thinking person would promote 24-hour checks on traps as a way to avoid trap/dog conflicts. The traps are still set. The dogs run off leash. The two will meet whether it was an hour check or a 96-hour check.”

But I suppose if the traps were checked daily the unintended victim might have a better chance of surviving.

Fred Schmidt, who is apparently a writing critic as well as a trapper, observes: “Unless the constructor of the article was intending a ‘science fiction’ article or just an attempt at an anonymous jab at lawmakers implying they must have a lack of constructive activities.

“As for the body of the article, let us speak of the ‘golden eagle.’ Yes, there have been incidents where they have been caught in traps. A very uncommon occurrence. As I am sure that given a search one could find the numbers relating to deadly encounters by eagles with semi trucks, wind generators as well as overhead high-voltage electrical lines.”

He ends with: “Please take the time to educate yourself about the subject matter to which you place in print for tens of thousands of subscribers to read. Remember it should be your credibility that should matter most to you and your employer.”

Well, it looks like we’re in complete agreement.

Now, if it’s all the same to you, I think I’ll chew off my paw, lick my wound, and limp off toward another deadline.

Nevada native John L. Smith also writes a daily column for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Contact him at 702-383-0295 or at jlnevadasmith@gmail.com.