By Joe Miele

Got a question for Uncle Joe? You can e-mail it to .

Would you rather snail mail your question? Send it to:

Ask Uncle Joe, c/o Wildlife Watch, Box 562, New Paltz, NY 12561.

Uncle Joe gets a lot of mail so don’t be offended if he cannot answer your question in the Courier. Heck, he’s gotta work a day job, too.


Dear Uncle Joe,

Trapping is an important wildlife management tool that takes the best interests of the animals into consideration. As a trapper, I’m proud to continue the tradition that made America what it is today. How can you say what we’re doing is wrong?

Roy – Nacogdoches, TX

Dear Roy:

Far from doing what is in the best interests of animals, trapping does what’s in *your* best interest – namely, to put a few dollars in your pocket so you can buy another can of Skoal. Trappers attempt to kill only animals whose fur has marketable value (though many others die in the traps). Pick up any trapping magazine and you will see trappers posing for pictures with their trophies. If you truly cared about the health of the species, you’d leave the largest and healthiest animals alone to reproduce stronger, healthier offspring. Instead of doing that, you kill these animals and sell their skins at auction or to a fur buyer. Where is the conservation value in that?

You are right that trapping once played a part in making America what it is today. But slavery also helped to build America, and I doubt (or at least, I hope) that you would not like to see that tradition revived. Traditions need not continue just because they have been practiced for millennia. American Indians no longer send their elders off to die alone in the mountains, English Kings no longer behead their wives when they “fail” to give birth to male children, and local law enforcement no longer locks people in stocks and pillories for punishment. Trapping, while definitely a “tradition,” is a violent practice that should be relegated to the history books.


Uncle Joe

Dear Uncle Joe:

Give me a break! Massachusetts outlawed trapping and now they are having terrible trouble with beavers chopping down trees, flooding roads and causing disease. If you allow trappers to manage this natural resource, these problems would vanish.

Clem – Pittsfield, MA


Dear Clem:

Give *me* a break! Don’t you have the ingenuity to solve a problem without resorting to killing? I guess not, because if you did, you would not be a trapper. In any case, there are plenty of ways to solve the problems associated with beavers without having to revert to your inner Neanderthal.

If you want beavers to stop gnawing on trees, you can very easily and inexpensively put “cages” around the trees made of sturdy 2 x 4 inch welded wire fencing. Place the fencing around the circumference of the trees so that there is about five to six inches between the wire and the tree bark. Make sure the wire extends three to four feet higher than ground level. You can bury the wire about 5 inches into the ground, or you can anchor it with camping spikes.

There are several different kinds of enclosures and drainage devices that are relatively easy to build and serve the purpose of preventing beavers from causing problems around roads that are likely to flood. The materials needed for these contraptions are often little more than some welded wire fencing, some wooden posts and a PVC pipe or two.

Beavers, Wetlands and Wildlife are experts in the art of humane beaver control. Their website lists excellent solutions for beaver problems. Check out .

With a little ingenuity and a little common sense, most, if not all wildlife associated issues can be solved without violence and bloodshed. Give it a try one day Clem – you may be surprised by how effective humane techniques can be – and be prepared to give up your outmoded “tradition.”


Uncle Joe


Contact Us

Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting / C.A.S.H.
P.O. Box 562
New Paltz, NY 12561