Question about ethics: I was fishing this last weekend, and I came across a beaver with its foot caught in a trap. I felt bad for the bugger. It just looked a little sad to see his futile efforts to try and get out away and not be able to. He looked pretty beat and broken like he had been in it for a while.
I'm a lifelong hunter, and I own a few snares myself, so I'm not trashing trapping at all. I'm just curious - would it have been okay for me to go over and shoot the animal in the head? I had a .22 with me (for grouse and hare), so I don't think it would have had any detrimental effect on the pelt. (Don't a lot of trappers use the same method when collecting live animals from their traps?) My instinct to not mess with other people's things led me to do nothing, but I was just wondering what the standard operating procedure is. I would have preferred to put the thing out of its misery.
Note that I would not consider doing this during warmer times of the year, but I don't think too many people trap in the summer. I would have done it neatly and taken any steps to aid in optimal pelt preservation.
So what are your thoughts? As a trapper, how would you react to finding a beaver in your trap that someone else had dispatched neatly? Looking for your input in case I come across this situation again.