Insufficient protection from bullets and traps

Letter to the editor

Posted: Sunday, November 07, 2004

It is my understanding that there has been little public opposition to approval of a three wolf trapping law for Douglas Island. I have read the proposal and cannot believe that any rational adult would condone any trapping near any trail that is used by men, women, children, and dogs.

Are any of Alaska Game Board members members of the alpine club, skiing club, avid hikers, or outdoorsmen? Do they ever go off the trail to see what is there?

Last summer there was a steel trap baited with a deer head, within viewing distance of Davies Creek Trail. It was definitely less than a quarter of a mile away, in easy access of children or dogs. Either could have lost a limb or life.

Alaska Game stated the area was a legal trapping site. Why have a Sheep Creek or Mount Roberts trail? Are they maintained for trappers at the potential expense of the community? If trapping is a viable form of making a living in Juneau, there are certainly large tracts of land that are not used by the general public. If north Douglas is overrun with wolves, I would suggest that the Alaska Fish and Game rangers take care of the problem without using traps.

I support hunting, but I fail to see how a quarter-mile zone around residential areas is an effective no-hunting limit. Bullets travel farther than a quarter of a mile. I walk the Outer Point/Rainforest Trail almost every day and on several occasions have seen drunken men shooting toward the water. Were they trying to shoot a whale or a seagull? In their state, what was to keep them from accidentally turning the weapon in my direction? Discharging firearms at that site is legal. I walk at Eaglecrest and have had "something" (a bullet?) smash into a tree near me. I had no idea where it came from, but it wasn't a tree squirrel.

It is time for the board to realize, there are more non-hunting, non-trapping younger and older residents using the listed hunting and trapping trail areas (Outer Point, Perseverance, Glacier). We and our animals prefer not being shot or encountering a steel leg trap. There are vast areas to hunt within boating, driving or walking distance that are not public trail areas.

I encourage Juneauites to request banning trapping in and around all Juneau, north Douglas and Mendenhall trails.

Mary B. Goode

Juneau



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