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While the idea of hunting is logically humane and many people consider it a part of nature, what about trapping? Trapping an animal leaves it helpless and most likely in excruciating pain. Animals can not escape from a trap, and they are left there to die, no matter how long it takes for them to finally meet their end. The following essay explains why that in normal circumstances trapping wolves, as well as other animals, constitutes excessive cruelty to animals.
Hunting, using a gun or knife, is usually a quick death. However, the opposite is true using a trap. If an animal steps on a steel-jaw trap spring, it clamps down on their limb. If an animal tries to back out of the trap to get its leg out, then the sharp edges of the trap cuts into its flesh, causing terrible pain. The victim of the trap will be left to die, one way or the other. The animal will not die quickly, however. Animals often struggle for hours or longer trying to pull itself out of the death trap, in horrible pain the entire time. Scared, bleeding, in pain, and struggling to escape it eventually tires itself out, and finally dies. This type of death does not only occur with a steel-jaw trap spring, though. Similar deaths result when other types of traps are used to insensitively kill an animal. This is just the first reason why trapping wolves, or any animal, is immoral.
Hunters often accidentally kill other animals than what they mean to with traps. Using traps, the hunter can not specify what animal he kills. The hunter may mean to kill a wolf, but he may end up with an innocent deer in his trap. They can not control what animal gets caught in their traps, and because of this other animals may accidentally fall victim to the traps. Every year pets, endangered species, and other animals are accidentally killed due to traps. If the animal that is accidentally killed is not currently in hunting season, in most if not all states the hunter can not keep the dead animal for himself, which means that the animal’s death meant nothing. Considering how many animals can be and are accidentally killed each year, trapping animals, including wolves, is the wrong way to go about hunting.
The final reason is that using a trap to do a hunter’s “dirty work” is not fair for the animal being killed. Animals have very little chance of escaping once trapped, which takes out the “game” part of hunting. In contrast, if a gun or other method is used, the animal being hunted can at least run or hide when it sees a hunter. When a trap is hidden on the ground, animals can not see it. As a result, animals are unsafe in their own territory, which leaves them with the fear of being killed or hurt at any moment. When an animal knows that a hunter is in the area, then the animal can at least be cautious to stay away from the hunter. This is not the case with a trap, because the animal never knows where it is.
When the livestock from ranchers and hunters are at stake of being killed by wolves, then it is understandable that desperate measures would be taken in order to slim down the wolf population. It brings up the question, is it more important that hunting stay humane, without trapping, or is trapping worth it in order to save livestock? With the population of the wolves rising, more and more livestock will be killed and elk herds will increasingly be at risk of wolf attacks. Rather than immediately going to trapping, however, there are other methods of decreasing the wolf population. As the article “Montana’s Wolf Trapping Plan Draws Huge Public Response” states, bow and rifle hunters in Montana are only allowed to kill one wolf, yet the rewritten plan allows trappers to take three wolves. Why is it that trappers are allowed to take more wolves than the average hunter? If the population of wolves are to be significantly decreased, it makes sense that bow and rifle hunters should be allowed to take more wolves than the hunters who trap. Why allow more wolves to be killed with traps, causing excruciating pain, than to allow hunters to quickly and efficiently kill them, with guns or other methods? If this strategy is attempted, and the population of wolves is still threatening to others, then trapping could be considered, but not until then.
Using traps when hunting brings up a lot of issues. Not only does trapping bring unbearable pain to the animal, but trapping is not even consistent enough to only kill the animal being hunted, and hunters often kill other animals by accident. Unlike using guns to hunt, using a trap is not fair for animals. Animals will never know where the traps are, and they will always have to fear being caught in a trap. However, when other animals are threatened due to a species population becoming out of control, trapping may be considered. To sum everything up, using traps to hunt wolves and other animals is immoral and wrong, unless it is absolutely necessary.
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