It's laudable that the Divide Camp uses nature to heal the wounds of our veterans, but trapping has no place in this therapy.

Veterans, suffering from the effects of military deployment and all the pain, suffering and disorientation that can cause, will surely benefit from immersion in nature.

But veterans who have experienced physical and mental pain, anxiety, anguish, desperation and the fear of death are now being offered as therapy the infliction of these same experiences on others. How can this heal? Looking into the eyes of a victim they have trapped and seeing there the same awful feelings they themselves have felt, feelings that have caused the trauma for which they are now seeking healing, is that right? Is it effective? Ethical? Moral? I say no.

I expect trappers will say that it's a traditional pastime and that's true. But so many traditional pastimes are loathsome and have been rightly banned. Dog fighting, cock fighting, bear and bull baiting, bull fighting — all these traditional “sports” have been outlawed or simply abandoned in most of the USA and many other nations.

The skills trappers use — tracking, knowledge of wildlife behavior and habitat — can be taught without killing or abusing wildlife. Tracking and observing wildlife is incredibly satisfying. Camera traps will capture animals in the act of living their free lives.

For most, cruelty is no longer a spectator or participatory sport, and that the Divide Camp offers it as a therapy is a mistake.

Wally Sykes


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