In today's Anchorage Daily News there was an article on some of the predator control measures the state of Alaska is looking at. It seemed that the article was saying that some of this is ready for launch and that we're just dotting the i's and crossing t's at this point.
One thing that stood out to me was the idea of trapping bears as a measure of predator control. I would assume this also means that the hides could be sold as a fur, but the article didn't say.
I'm interested in a good discussion of this issue, because I don't fully understand the details. Here's a question I have:
Do we really need to do this?
This is not an easy question, because it goes to the motives behind the measure. For example, should we be doing "predator" control at all? I like what Mark said a while back; how come we call bear hunting "predator control", and moose hunting "moose hunting"? See the difference? It's as if in some way we're still living in the days when predators were considered vermin.
Semantics, perhaps, but sometimes our choce of words expresses our motives. Have there ever been areas where we needed to do "caribou control" or "moose control"? Why just "predator control"?
So what I'm asking here is actually several questions in one. Is it appropriate for us to try to manipulate predator numbers to grow more ungulates, or should we just let nature take it's course, knowing that nature rarely strikes a balance within itself. Knowing that years ago much of Alaska had little or no game. Including, in many cases, predators. Thirty years ago (not very long) there were places nearly devoid of bears, and now to hear the reports, the places are crawling with 'em. Should we mess with this at all?
Another aspect is the question of whether this METHOD is a good idea. If we're going to do control measures, is trapping the way we want to go? Do we really want to bring back bear traps? Personally, I don't. I'm a hunter, but I cannot condone something that causes that kind of pain and suffering to an animal. I know that makes me somewhat inconsistent because I don't really think too much about other kinds of trapping, but there it is. This is another little nuance that perhaps should be considered. If the trappers in our midst are against trapping bears on grounds of pain and suffering, are you consistent in how you trap other animals? If not, is there a good reason that I'm not seeing?
I have other questions, but this is enough for now. What are your thoughts about this?