How heart-warming a story is told by Doug Leier, North Dakota Game and Fish biologist, in his recent article in The Dickinson Press on the fun of family trapping.
How tender the image of father and child together setting a backyard trap, as though animal snaring is the moral equivalent of feeding wild birds. “Come children, let’s check the death trap and see what terrified animal Daddy has caught today!”
What? Observe these magnificent creatures in their natural state? Watch them peaceably from afar? Where’s the fun in that? Better that we seize them in some sort of mechanical device, hold them in terror, then watch them struggle for dear life as their executioners approach. Now, there’s real fun!
Mr. Leier then tells us of his particular fondness for trapping two of the most beautiful and rare animals in North Dakota, the bobcat and fisher.
However he breaches the subject with some awkward throat-clearing and foot-shuffling by revealing, sheepishly, that the state’s bobcat population is indeed fragile and that fishers were very nearly driven to extinction (presumably by trappers).
No matter, he reassures us, the taking of their lives is once again “warranted.”
Oddly, this sullen admission is accompanied by the photograph of a robust, free-roaming bobcat, crossing an open snow field. Why this image was chosen is not exactly clear.
One would think in an article about the joys of trapping, we would be shown a bobcat struggling desperately in a foot snare — mortified by pain, deprived of food, water and sleep in the insufferable throes of exhaustion, exposure, frostbite and shock. But then maybe these images are simply too strong for Mr. Leier’s charming theme: family fun.
Jerry DeMartin, Beach