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Trapper: International Cabal Working with “Urban People” to Shut Down Trapping, Hunting, Ranching

In the middle of my hurried lunch yesterday, I heard some guy on SDPB’s In the Moment complaining about “urban” people moving to the Black Hills and working with some unnamed international cabal to shut down all hunting and ranching.

In the Moment host Lori Walsh, who was in the studio interviewing this individual, said “that’s not what he said.”

CAH + Lori Walsh, Twitter exchange, 2019.08.06.
CAH + Lori Walsh, Twitter exchange, 2019.08.06.

Well.

Walsh tweeted that reply at 4 p.m., three-plus hours after the interview. The folks at the awesome downtown Sioux Falls SDPB studio have lots on their minds, so they may not keep in their heads an exact record of everything every honyocker says to them (and all of South Dakota’s smartest audiophiles). Heck, I sometimes forget by suppertime the exact words I blogged or tweeted myself at lunch.

So I figured I’d better go back to the audio and remind myself and Walsh what was actually said at her mic Tuesday. Walsh interviewed Mark Steck, who sells all sorts of trapping gear and DVDs through Dakota Line Snares of Lennox. At about 9:40 in the posted audio, this exchange takes place:

Mark Steck: Trapping has faced, from city dwellers and urban dwellers and people coming in from California and bringing their beliefs with them—it’s faced pressure now in South Dakota. And there’s constant pressure to eliminate trapping. So that’s—that’s something that we’re seeing more and more, and it’s not the landowners. It’s not the small cities. It’s—it’s these urban people moving into the Black Hills and Sioux Falls.

Lori Walsh: What is their opposition as you see it? What do you mostly hear? Are they concerned about just the killing itself? Are they concerned about the ecosystem? What are some of the arguments that you hear from some of those urban dwellers?

Steck: By and large, they do not want killing of any animals. And so trapping is the first target, because we’re a small fraternity compared to hunting, but they’re after everything, right down to ranching. There is no limits with these people. Some are small groups, but they have connections and attorneys with large international groups. So recently there was some legislation—excuse me, some proposed regulation going to the Game Fish and Parks Commission, and there is clear evidence that attorneys over in the U.K. wrote this legislation. I mean, there’s a direct link. It’s a never-ending pressure, and I don’t know the future of how much they can change the world, but they aren’t going to give up [transcribed from audio; Lori Walsh, “Steck Shares His Life as a Trapper,” SDPB Radio: In the Moment, 2019.08.06].

Trappers' Nightmare: Urban People (probably tweeting pictures back to Soros and the Open Society Foundations....
The trapper’s nightmare: Urban People (probably tweeting pictures back to Soros and the Open Society Foundations….

Walsh did not follow up by asking what legislation/regulation Steck was talking about, what evidence he had that it came from the U.K., who these purported international groups are, or who these interloping out-of-state urban enemies of South Dakotans’ God-given right to kill and skin and eat and wear whatever mammals we want may be. She followed the above statement immediately with “What do they not understand about trapping in South Dakota that you wish you could explain to them?” using they with no irony, no doubt, thus affirming the existence of that unquestioning pronoun’s antecedent.

Steck said what I said he said and more: he asserted that international groups are working with urban outsiders who move to South Dakota and want to shut down “everything” that involves killing critters.

Perhaps Walsh will track down and interview some of those urban people (probably walking by that beautiful downtown studio right now, enjoying the bandshell and the river and the Falls stroll to Smithfield Foods to throw their Tevas in the conveyor belts) to ask them what international groups they are working with to destroy South Dakota’s trapping, fishing, hunting, ranching, and farming. They may be nefarious outsiders… but they deserve equal time… and SDPB listeners deserve a little substantiation for what Trapper Steck really said.

27 Comments

  1. Richard Schriever 2019-08-07

    I would like to remind Mr. Steck that when he was granted the conditional use [permit to locate his business in Lennox, he promised as a condition (a condition of the use of the property being allowed) that he would remove a fence that had been installed next to his property, ON CITY PROPERY – in the R.O.W. To date (5 years later) he has not met that condition. Should he be taken at his word?

  2. Certain Inflatable Recreational Devices 2019-08-07

    Hold her little feet to the fire, Cory.

  3. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-08-07

    Richard, that sounds like rumor spread by urban people being all fussy about their urban regulations, or something some London lawyer would bring up. That’s not how we do things in South Dakota.

  4. Debbo 2019-08-07

    Those “urban people” are always involved in mysterious “international cabals.” On the other hand, all rural people always like all forms of hunting, trapping and ranching. Both groups are completely monolithic, with zero variations.

  5. jerry 2019-08-07

    Probably not a lot of trumpists that listen to Public Broadcasting so that will be that and maybe that was Walsh’s intent. Maybe she was using yellow journalism to try to bring in more rabid listeners.

  6. Certain Inflatable Recreational Devices 2019-08-07

    In SoDak, since there are so few people who actually discriminate between their kneejerk admiration of Trump, because “he speaks his mind,” and a literate observation of what a “mind” consists of, there are actually a lot of Trumpists who listen to public broadcasting. They just don’t understand that much of what they hear refutes Trump’s lies.

    In this case, Steck probably represents most Trumpists in two ways. One; he’s a moron. Two; he doesn’t understand that much of his audience will understand that. Three; (yes I get it) he knows that some will.

  7. Rep. Otten 2019-08-07

    I agree 100% with Walsh. Its death by 1000 paper cuts. The anti hunting, fishing, trapping and ranching people keep nibbling away at the rights until they are gone. Look at what’s happened in New Jersey with the black bears and trapping in California is now close to nonexistent. Heck the Los Angels school district has a member of PETA on its nutritional program and they have a meatless day for lunch. They tried that to instill a meatless day at USD a few years back. I believe what Walsh is talking about is a proposal that has been summited to the Game Commission (by the Sierra Club I believe) about the time frame to check traps. It goes on and on and they will not quit…

    Rep. Herman Otten
    District 6
    Member of the South Dakota Trappers Association

  8. JW 2019-08-07

    I’m an urban people that has lived in the Black Hills for over 55 of my 72 years and a professional in the wildlife field for going on 40+ years and I’ll flat out tell Mr. Steck that he’s got an overactive and corrupt imagination. And he lies a lot too. There ought to be criminal penalties for spreading false rumors and slanderous idiocy. Laurie Walsh, please come and interview me. I know stuff. Steck doesn’t know jack.

  9. Debbo 2019-08-07

    JW, this is perfect:

    “I know stuff. Steck doesn’t know jack.”

    😄😄😄

  10. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-08-07

    Lori Walsh responds via Twitter:

    “Thank you for being such an engaged listener. While we realize not every segment will resonate with every listener, we strive to provide thoughtful conversation on a variety of topics. In the Moment airs M-F at 11 CT. Find full conversations at (link: http://listen.sdpb.org) listen.sdpb.org.”

    I feel like Walsh misses the point.

  11. JW 2019-08-07

    Misses the point??? She missed the whole light rail.

  12. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-08-07

    Rep. Otten, you mean you agree with Steck, not Walsh, right? Walsh expressed no opinion on Steck’s claims of an internationally backed effort by urban invaders to shut down all trapping, hunting, and ranching in South Dakota.

    Can you send us a link to this purported proposal to the GF&P and the language the shows its UK origins?

  13. JW 2019-08-08

    The proposal Rep Otten speaks to is a formal proposal introduced by Commissioners in response to a petition by an individual from Rapid City that has been formally recognized by the City of Rapid City and Mayor for work with rescue animals. The person is both a hunter and a conservationist. The Commission did not have to accept the petition but they did and it will be heard in regular sequence like any other rule change proposal. The proposal proposes to change the required time period to check traps from 3 days West of the Missouri River and 2 days East of the Missouri River to 24 hours statewide………… The proposal is a far cry from shutting down trapping, hunting and ranching in South Dakota and anyone who infers that that is the eventual goal of the proposal is a fear monger. A little history is in order here. Trap Check rules have been modified and changed back and forth in this state since the 1980’s and there was a time, in the not to distant past, when Commission rule required a 24 hour trap check. The SD Trappers Association has been a perpetual special interest lobby that has effected changes to the trap check rules for at least 25-30 years and that lobby managed to convince the Commission to change the trap check rules to what they are today strictly on the basis that it was “too difficult for longliners to get to their traps every 24 hours. There was no factual data, no biological consideration and no thought of ethics or outdoor morality presented to justify the changes. I’ll state, unequivocally, that most of the GFP field enforcement staff and many administrative staff opposed the change but the Commission bought the ruse lock stock and barrel. All this proposal does is change the rule back to the way it used to be and restore some ethical responsibility back to the trapping community that covers it’s lack of ethics, stretch of lawful behavior and outdoor morality by demonizing members of the general public that This proposal doesn’t chip away at the trapping privilege (I’ll remind Rep Otten that trapping, just like hunting and fishing is a priviledge not a right) and the notion that it is similar to what happened with bear baiting in NJ or trapping in California is just plain political groping. Colorado banned bear baiting long before New Jersey, they did it by referendum and Colorado is better off as are the bear hunters who actually have to hunt in the spring just like they do in the fall. And it’s limp-wristed political trash talk to infer that the Sierra Club is somehow a second class, subversive organization that shouldn’t meddle in the public’s business. If we knew anything about the Sierra Club, we’d know that the organization has a full contingent of members that hunt and fish and support ethical hunting and exploitation of wildlife. They even have their own advocacy group within the organization. Demonizing environmental organizations for conservation and ethics in the outdoors is just cheap bigotry. The conspiracy theory assertion is just plain garbage. I’ll remind Rep Otten and Steck that by statutory law, the wildlife of this state are held in trust by the state for the benefit of all it’s citizens and all those citizens are equal in their interests in property held in trust for them. This issue isn’t about somebody’s rights. It’s about reasonable, responsible and humane trapping behavior. Leaving an animal in a leg hold trap for more than 24 hours is not only inhumane but it is unethical and impractical. It takes a coyote, fox, racoon etc less than 2 hours to chew it’s own leg off to escape a trap. Muskrats caught in traps are easy prey for mink; hawks and eagles die as unintended targets in unchecked traps. The realities and possibilities are endless and it is of great benefit to both the resource and the trapper if his equipment is tended to in a timely and careful manner. The 24 hour rule is in the best interests of the trapper but apparently Steck’s laziness and lack of respect for wildlife gives him incentive to promote tall tails and conspiracy theories. As a retired wildlife professional and seasoned wildlife manager that has a great deal of experience with this issue, (I also trapped extensively as a younger person and I checked traps every day and when I wasn’t able to check them, I had two friends that did it for me) I fully support this rule change and so should any person who honestly cares about and respects wildlife and the outdoor heritage that we have in SD.

  14. Bob Rademacher 2019-08-08

    My father was a trapper and the traps were checked every day. At the same time i had my own little trap line and i was required by my father that my trap line was checked every day before going to school.

    . We walked the trap lines. With todays transportation i can’t believe you can’t check traps every 24 hours. They want to leave trapped animals in a trap for three days and complain when someone says something. If you can’t check your traps in 24 hours you maybe should not be trapping.

  15. Porter Lansing 2019-08-08

    I like this fellow or lady, JW. Hoping he/she has some political aspirations.
    I trapped as a teen and checked daily. If you didn’t the mink and muskrat got stolen or chewed their way out. I had a good friend here in CO who baited bears in the spring. Bear does taste a lot better in the spring. He had a connection with the main bakery at Kroger who saved him all the unsold donuts and pastries. Not sporting at all. Glad it went away.

  16. mike from iowa 2019-08-08

    Dog proof coon traps have eliminated bonus catches of anybody’s dogs and prevent coons from chewing their legs. Win/win.

    Steel traps have been modified to provide higher leg grips to prevent coyotes from chewing their legs and to hold firmly without breaking skin or bones with swivels and shock springs.

    Large Conibear traps capable of killing coons, otters and beavers are not supposed to be set above water on dry land to prevent accidently snagging Fido or children or even careless trappers.

    Snares can be prevented from tightening too much and strangling unwanted catches and have break away capabilities if a deer or other large mammal gets caught. And they can effectively kill targeted animals in short order when properly equipped and maintained.

    Killer Conibear traps were a humane breakthrough in dispatching animals, for the most part. They kill most animals immediately or shortly there after. I will say there are probably numerous beavers, badgers and some possums that will dispute my last statement.

  17. jerry 2019-08-08

    When I was a kid, I had a trap line that stretched for over 70 traps. I checked the traps every morning walking and the muskrat traps, twice a day. I did this before school and after school. My Dad and I checked on the coyote traps every other day (I sucked at coyote trapping) as the only thing I ever caught was a neighbor’s dog. I quit coyote trapping after that.

    If you cannot check your traps every day, you should do something else with your time, like looking at your belly button.

  18. Porter Lansing 2019-08-08

    Looking at your belly button? What would Jesus do? JK

  19. JW 2019-08-08

    All well and good Mike from Iowa… I was there for all of those changes that trappers didn’t like but were forced into. Does it demonstrate much intelligence to leave a trapped critter in a trap for over 72 hours (the rule says 3 days but that time period often translates to 80 hours + depending upon when the trapper actually checked the trap or says he checked it) (The rule, as is, is nearly unenforceable.) making the trap inoperative and ineligible to catch another critter) None of that addresses trap checking. It isn’t even a close band-aid. Let’s understand something here. The current trap check rule was implemented for one reason and one reason only. Coyote and fox trappers (primarily) were traveling long distances setting traps in fence lines, under road bridges, all over public lands and occasionally getting permission from ranchers to trap “their coyotes”. All that during a period when coyote and fox fur brought an average price approaching $50.00. Most of the time, all that trapping involved snares just set and left, checked with binoculars whenever they got around to it and if they didn’t see anything of note, they drove on. Animals died and rotted in place due to this practice. They never bothered to check to make sure the set was still operational. The notion that all trappers get out and check their wares on foot like responsible outdoorsmen is a fallacy. It might be true for a person who traps beaver or muskrats and mink. Whats the fur price market for those hides? If fur prices were even close to historically high prices today, the state wouldn’t be paying $10.00 a tail for primary furbearers that these folks are supposed to value. Due to the number of snares (snares are cheap and expendable- particularly if you make them yourself), some of these folks were distributing hundreds of the devices across the countryside that would take sometimes over two weeks to set. You don’t check that many devices in 24 hours. Factually, you don’t check that many devices in 80 hours. But, the entire point doesn’t just revolve around ethics. A trapper that isn’t energetic and responsible enough to check snares, traps, and conibears in a timely, regular manner to determine, at a minimum, that the trap set is still viable, animals trapped are quickly and humanely killed and removed from the trap, and the trap reset or moved to improve opportunities to catch another one is insulting his own demand for efficiency. And politicians that support that sort of behavior are the reason why efforts at conservation of natural resources in SD are in tatters and disgrace. Heres another thing to consider. The state use to have a contingent of ADC Trappers that worked 24/7/365 to address furbearer and coyote misbehavior. The State Policy for trappers included the requirement that any traps or M-44’s set must be checked regularly within 24 hours by either the employee or the rancher whose property the devices were set on… What was good for professional trappers under government employment is also good for all those other trappers that hold themselves out to be professional and ethically responsible.

  20. JW 2019-08-08

    And I post this for Representative Otten’s digestion; along with the suggestion that specific familiarity with an issue and all of its nuance is preferable to a subscription to the baseless logic of rural gossip. There is no political solution for an ecological or biological related issue. If we returned to the historically successful practice of wildlife and natural resource stewardship instead of political patronization of servile special interests, we wouldn’t have Tails for Tots scams and convenience store operators whining about sharp declines in pheasant hunting revenue.

    https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=45902&inline

  21. jerry 2019-08-08

    JW, when I trapped, I didn’t know there were rules. I only knew when the buyer’s in Mission or Philip said they were buying before any traps were set. My Dad was the boss man on when you should check your traps and it was his boot that made me a trapper that respected what I took. His boot said every day.

    Common sense should tell you that if you do not check your traps in a day, what you may have caught will have chewed their leg away and left you with some toes. All mink trapping was done in the creeks and behind dams that were part live even in the winter time. Binoculars would have been just another burden to carry. The most I ever caught was 23 muskrats in a single day and that was a load to pull on my homemade sled contraption.

  22. Debbo 2019-08-08

    I’ve never trapped, but I came across this scene one day when I was out taking photos in rural Minnesota:

    It was an abandoned gravel pit with an old, rusted, front end loader that caught my attention. Then I smelled something rotted and awful. It was a big, red tail hawk, one leg in a rusty trap. I looked closer and saw the other leg was gone up to the knee. The hawk was still upright, flapping its wings, fierce glare in its eyes. But that leg was gangrenous and dripping pus. I just about vomited.

    I had nothing to kill that suffering creature with, and no cell reception, so I drove to the nearest farmhouse and asked them to dispatch it, or give me a gun and I’d do it. They knew whose trap it was and said they’d call him immediately.

    I went home. There was no more pleasure in that day.

  23. mike from iowa 2019-08-08

    You do not, under any circumstances, touch, harm, kill migratory birds of prey such as hawks and eagles, owls. That is a federal offense and it carries big fines and jail terms. You cannot even pick up eagle feathers and keep them, Ms Debbo.

    Legal Status. All hawks and owls are federally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (16 USC, 703-711). These laws strictly prohibit the capture, killing, or possession of hawks or owls without special permit.

    JW, i did not respond to trap check rules as South Dakota seems to be ass backwards on pretty much every rule they have. I have no problem with trappers who play by the rules and respect private property and fences, cattle gates and pets around occupied buildings
    where trappers aren’t supposed to set.

    F-F-G has always maintained western pale belly coyotes and Rocky MT Lynx Cats are the top furs who salability has never diminished like every other fur. Wild furs have rebounded slightly as the numbers of ranched mink hitting the market has dropped precipitously.

    I believe you and I can agree on pretty much everything you have written.

  24. mike from iowa 2019-08-08

    You do not, under any circumstances, touch, harm, kill migratory birds of prey such as hawks and eagles, owls. That is a federal offense and it carries big fines and jail terms. You cannot even pick up eagle feathers and keep them, Ms Debbo.

    Legal Status. All hawks and owls are federally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (16 USC, 703-711). These laws strictly prohibit the capture, killing, or possession of hawks or owls without special permit.

    JW, i did not respond to trap check rules as South Dakota seems to be ass backwards on pretty much every rule they have. I have no problem with trappers who play by the rules and respect private property and fences, cattle gates and pets around occupied buildings
    where trappers aren’t supposed to set.

    F-F-G has always maintained western pale belly coyotes and Rocky MT Lynx Cats are the top furs who saleability has never diminished like every other fur. Wild furs have rebounded slightly as the numbers of ranched mink hitting the market has dropped precipitously.

    I believe you and I can agree on pretty much everything you have written.

  25. leslie 2019-08-12

    Herman:

    “Heck the Los Angels school district has a member of PETA on its nutritional program and they have a meatless day for lunch. They tried that to instill a meatless day at USD a few years back. I believe what Walsh is talking about is a proposal that has been summited to the Game Commission (by the Sierra Club I believe) about the time frame to check traps. It goes on and on and they will not quit…”

    “They”…unions, sierra clubs, those outsider people who gang up on us red necks. Is that it. Herman?

    jerry, I agree “Maybe she was … try[ing] to bring in more rabid listeners. I have noticed some other replacement commentators on sdpb that have a conservative slant, unconsciously or not that comes through. sdpb uses daily commentators who appear to have no background in journalism. Walsh, folksily annoying, however, has published several pieces of diversity that were very encouraging. Usually, however I just turn her off.

    I assume from the tone of her reply, Cory, she has gotten plenty of criticism in this current short career. Digging in?

  26. Porter Lansing 2019-08-12

    Now, besides “Meatless Monday” and “Taco Tuesday” many school districts are having “Trade Tariff Thursdays”. The food we can’t sell to China is being distributed to the schools. Things like a truckload of red kidney beans. A load of pulled pork. Oranges and apples. Schools are delighted that they’re getting it now instead of the poor, who used to get it.
    Amerika … du bist schoene.

  27. leslie 2019-08-15

    here is a “dead, skinned coyotes” photo taken out by new underwood a couple falls ago, I think. just off the side of a main county road dumped and obscured from view in a small water pocket or ancient silted-in stock/farm pond on the edge of an unfenced sunflower or cane field on the right of way. Doesn’t our main SD University call its students Coyotes?

    this isn’t trapping, but target shooting predators, likely from the driver’s seat of a pickup with a high power rifle and low education; or fur collecting. but it looks like how the buffalo were eliminated. sunday-drive out on any country road and you’ll see it happening.

    thanks JW for your skilled rebuttal of both Walsh’s guest and the blog apologist commenter. Facts are interesting servers of the truth. surprised grdz or whoever writes his swill hasn’t attacked out of staters. Weak minds, you know. Paranoia. And Soros…heh, heh, heh, Kristi, Kristi, Kristi…. Words matter.

    At least trump has a reason to say sheit like this with “his extraordinary ability to get Americans to talk about what he wants them to talk about.” He’s trying to distract us from something with Clinton again, and stay out of prison. Suppose Epstein had a sex trafficking source? Trump University? https://www.thenation.com/article/distraction-donald-trump/

    “The president of the United States is simultaneously a liar, a racist, an accused rapist, a con man, a tax cheat, a sadist, an egomaniac, a brownnoser of murderous dictators, quite possibly a traitor, and quite definitely a dunce who knows virtually nothing about history, politics, or economics. Because he has no filter or focus and does not listen to his advisers (except for those telling him how wonderful he is), Trump manifests all of these qualities all of the time. Every outrage or crime that he commits is, in this respect, a distraction from the previous one until the next one.”

    Otten: “keep nibbling away at the rights until they are gone …. It goes on and on and they will not quit….”

    Steck: “they’re after everything, right down to ranching. There is no limits with these people…. It’s a never-ending pressure,…they aren’t going to give up.”

    Pretty much trump’s “invasion” words as quoted in El Paso.

    A final point The Nation’s journalist Eric Alterman made. “We must demand more of our media and ourselves—more clarity, more balance, and more time focused on what the … administration is actually doing to our [state] than on [the] latest stupid, [bigoted]” ‘opinion’ from Kristi’s largely Republican base. “Democracy is not a reality show, and our [public broadcasting] media needs to stop treating” Trumpist politics of distraction and divusion as mere SD programing or entertainment content, “lest we end up … amusing ourselves to death.”

    (attachment)

    — How Trump kept tabs on Jeffrey Epstein. Vanity Fair

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