The #SteelTrapChallenge

After the Ice Bucket Challenge, what can top it?  How about the Steel Trap Challenge?  Bear with me.

The past month, I have bitched up a storm about the Ice Bucket Challenge.  I have gone from thinking it just plain stupid to it being a new form of social bullying.  There was even the half-assed attempt on my part to start a competing fad, the Moose Knuckle Challenge, which failed to gain traction.  Probably because for all the love of seeing chicks in wet shirts, the market for Fruit of the Loom-based challenges is pretty small.  Or maybe, I’m just the wrong guy to start that one.

coureur de bois
Coureur de Bois

If you follow my blog with any regularity, you know I am writing a novel, L’homme Theroux, set in the Canadian frontier during the mid-1860’s and the decline of the North American fur trade.  To get really technical, that probably makes it a Northern or a North Western.  I’m still trying to think of a catchy term that hasn’t been used.  Hunting and trapping back then were more than ways of life.  They were matters of survival for everyone; Indian and European.

I’m halfway through the first round of edits and looking for a couple more Beta readers.  Let me know if Westerns are your thing and would like to be involved in the creation of a novel by giving feedback.  I’ll make sure you get a free copy of the final product.  Hell, I’ll give you several, if you want them.  I try to be generous with people who do good deeds for me.

Those who have read my interviews (and really, you should) know I’m an avid outdoorsman.  That’s why writing is sometimes a chore.  The outdoors call to me.  The garage does, too.  I do lots of Do-it-Yourself projects and home repair stuff.  My wife thinks it’s sexy when I’m wearing my tool belt.  I’m also that nutty guy who prefers to cut firewood to heat the house rather than turn on the furnace.  I hunt, fish, and trap just as much as I can.

Once I have a job making a living at home for more than a few months at a time, I’d like to try my hand at homesteading, as well.  I’m thinking laying hens, meat goats (maybe use their milk occasionally), and rabbits.  I’m pretty sure I can’t milk the rabbits, even though they have nipples.  My fingers are just too big.

There is no higher calling as a man and nothing more pleasing in the sight of God than bringing home an animal I caught and killed myself that will provide sustenance for my family.

The look on my wife’s face when I drag something dead out of the truck is one of pure pride.  She knows she has a man who can always make sure the family has something to eat, is willing to kill and butcher for her sake, and will brave the discomforts and dangers of a hunt to do.

If you don’t believe hunting can be dangerous, come hog hunt with me sometime, and we will chase one down on foot with nothing more than a few dogs and a knife.  Then we can discuss how I have an unfair advantage.

Now, that you understand a little more about me, you will understand why I am upset.  Through an acquaintance of mine on Facebook, I became aware of the Anti-Fur Society page.  Take a wild guess as to why they believe I am a barbarian.

I have no words for the depth of these people's ignorance
I have no words for the depth of this ignorance

They began a campaign (please excuse, if wrong word.  My English, she not so good sometime) this week, complete with a photo, where they would like to film a trapper caught in a trap for 72 hours.  The visual allusions to the movie Avatar with a young ginger girl in a blue pseudo-camouflage bodysuit and blue face paint which portrays her as one of the beautiful, innocent creatures of the forest randomly cut down in the prime of non-aggressive, free-range life were competently executed.  I got the message, and I’m not that smart.  However, I also picked up a hint of ignorance in the event lasting three entire days.  I’ve trapped in four different states, and they all require checking traps at least every 24 hours.  And I would venture to say, the same applies in all the other states, as well.

In the interest of giving these folks a fair shake to make their case, I visited their Facebook page.  Visit it yourself, if you’re so inclined.  The images they post are fairly pedestrian compared to other anti-fur pages I’ve visited.  However, I will warn you the level of venom spewed by these ostensibly peace-loving people who will not harm animals is shocking.

I try to be strategic and artful with my used of expletives (A Picasso of Profanity, if you will), but the folks who “like” and comment on this page are foulmouthed in the same way as a middle-schooler.  They seem to have recently discovered dirty words and use them whenever possible.

I also question their moral compass in advocating exactly the same and worse violence they claim is inflicted on animals be perpetrated on other human beings with whom they disagree.

What astounded me was the absolute lack of knowledge on display.  Just complete and utter ignorance of the subject on which they spoke.  I sincerely doubt any of them have seen (aka; not a video) any of the cruelties they describe.  And if they have, why didn’t they call the police?  The acts they describe are literally criminal.  As in, you will go to jail for doing them.  I think their cause is more than penal in nature.  It is emotional.

We do not have feelings as humans understand them!
We do not have feelings as humans understand them!

I blame Walt Disney and his Bambi movie.  That asshole did more to turn several generations into complete wimps than had they been given estrogen suppositories their entire lives.  I mean big ‘ol bovine-sized butt bullets shoved in elbow deep by some grizzled old cowboy chain-smoking unfiltered cigarettes and never once touching the coffin nail with his hands because he knows very well where they have been.

Am I really the only kid who cheered for the hunter when he shot Bambi’s mom?

The anti-trapping folk’s big complaint is the use of The Evil Steel Trap.  As shown several times in The Fox and the Hound (Thanks again, Disney.  You ninnies), The Evil Steel Trap will jump up off the ground at the merest of breezes and snap a leg off the targeted creature.  Please think for a moment as to how counter-productive it would be to amputate the leg of a creature you want to actually have held in place.  It would get away.

Back to their sheer ignorance.  Foothold traps (That’s the real name for The Evil Steel Trap) no longer have teeth in the jaws.  That is illegal.  As a matter of fact, many jurisdictions require padded jaws, offset jaws (which lessen pressure, and thereby holding force, on the caught leg and result in more escapes with injury), or some combination of both.

“Oh, Carlos, but the poor little animal suffers so much in a trap,” I can hear the hippies whine.  Allow me to let you in on a secret.  There really is no such thing as a good death.  I’ve seen plenty; both four and two-legged.  That is especially true in the animal world.

Mother Nature is mean, cruel bitch, and when animals kill other animals, the deaths are horrific.

Animals are vicious killers of each other, and just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t occur.  I have yet to come across a hunter or trapper who doesn’t go to extremes to limit the suffering of the animals he kills, if for no better reason than he understands the preciousness of life.

This brings me full-circle to the title of this post.  Hopefully, you didn’t forget because I did.  In answer to the claim of extreme pain inflicted on animals by foothold traps, several trappers on Facebook have posted demonstrations where they insert their own hand into one of the traps they use on their quarry.

Here are the links:

Jason Maxwell     Barry Bell     Tiffanie Stott-Johnson’s Husband     Trapper Dan

And for the ladies, lest you think it’s only big, burly men that can withstand the power of a steel trap

Sassy Girl’s Nuisance Trapping & Predator Control     FLCoonTrapper

To the surprise of no one who has actually traps, they survive completely unscathed.  If you do not believe, please view for yourself.  Perhaps you will learn something.  Come to think of it, view them anyway.  I’m sure they would appreciate the traffic.

So, here was the thought I had.  I would love to see (However, I do not encourage) the Steel Trap Challenge.  Just like the whole Ice Bucket Challenge, but with foothold traps.  I don’t see a #SteelTrapChallenge on Twitter, yet.  Maybe we can start a whole “thing,” and smarten up these anti-trapping and hunting lunatics?

Oh, who am I kidding?  They are immune from facts, but we can have a hell of a good time trying.

Disclaimer:  I am not advocating anyone do this themselves.  However, I probably will once I go home on leave and have access to my traps.


13 thoughts on “The #SteelTrapChallenge

  1. I guess I’m one of those hippy-wimps, because I’m against (most) trapping. However, that being said, I agree with you 100% about a couple of things. I don’t care WHAT the cause is, if you can’t make it using the facts but have to embellish, exaggerate, stretch the truth, pad the numbers, oh hell, LIE to make your point then your cause is seriously flawed. If, what you say is true about the traps and the laws (I have no doubt it is) then…that should be the basis for the conversation, the cause, the whatever.

    I worked in a large, western county to try to reduce unwanted dog/cat population and reduce euthanasias. So you’d think I’d be right up there with all the animal rights stuff, right? I started out there, until I witnessed, first hand, the willful out-right lying and deceit used by some of the biggest animal rights organizations. I no longer claim any affinity for animal rights. Animal welfare, yes, rights and those organizations — no.

    To call for the maiming of people who trap (and hunt) is abhorrent. It is more than just hypocrisy.

    (I’m not anti-hunting, although I won’t do it. But I have been around both kinds of hunters, those that do it responsibly and near spiritually and those that are sadistic jerks.)

    I also have been pointing out the bullying aspect of the Ice Bucket thing and others of its ilk. Plus, yes, it is just stupid.

    Good luck on the novel.


    • Thank you for the well wishes and the thoughtful comments.
      When I worked in Public Health, I saw similar things that you point out in the animal rights field. I do not look down on those who do not hunt. If it’s not your thing, it isn’t your thing. I often refer to myself as a “gun-toting hippie” because I think I strive for a lot of the same things they do; just without the all the dope and the navel gazing.
      Thanks again, and I hope visit again soon.


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