There is simply no evidence that trapping is a detriment to tourism in our state. Many New Mexicans would agree that crime in our urban areas, not our public lands, is the main factor that prevents people from enjoying all New Mexico has to offer.

I believe drug and human trafficking at our border is another deterrent. The many anti-trapping stories instill unnecessary fear in the general public that the ground is littered with bone-crushing traps.

In reality, properly set traps do not break bones and can easily be removed. In addition, regulated trapping is an important management tool, and its merits are completely overlooked by those that lack an understanding of wildlife management and a connection to traditional uses of our land and wildlife.

To demonize trapping with no consideration for how it may impact wildlife management and wildlife in general is grossly negligent and just plain wrong.

We also must remember that sportsmen pay for the management of our wildlife through the Pitman Robertson Act. Nonconsumptive users pay nothing. Your pet is far more likely to encounter a rattlesnake or any number of other dangers than a legally set trap.

By allowing one group of people to ban another group of people on public land, we are setting a bad precedent. Where does it end? I promise you it will not end with trapping. It never does.

The people demanding that trapping be banned are the same people asking for scientific data to support the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish’s decisions at State Game Commission meetings. Why is it acceptable that they demand science be used when they oppose something but then present arguments totally devoid of facts when it is convenient to their cause?

America has the most rich and accessible public lands heritage in the world, thanks to scientific management. For that reason, I ask you to objectively look at the facts of this issue. We, along with ranchers, are the ones out there every day.

Chance Thedford is the president of the New Mexico Trappers Association. She lives in Las Cruces.

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(1) comment

Laddie Mills

The grotesque, dangerous trapping on our public lands has the Game Commission in a hard spot between their posse of trapping & hunting clubs and ranchers, and the overwhelming public support for a ban.

The commission’s trapping defenses have been limited to inane comments and stonewalling, Their supporters are blaming non-consumptive users like bird and wildlife watchers for the uproar and saying they don’t buy hunting licenses and should have no say in wildlife decisions..

To the contrary, wildlife is a public trust primarily on public lands supported by public taxes. Recent reports attribute some 94% of wildlife conservation funding to the booming non-consumptive enthusiasts. Traditional conservation ethics require wildlife decisions to be democratic, transparent, and based on science.

The success of our new outdoor recreation division depends on the participation of non-consumptive enthusiasts. They deserve full democratic representation on the Game Commission and their say in wildlife decisions,

Welcome to the discussion.

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