Farmers and trappers say limiting animal trapping threatens a way of life

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By Phil McCausland

An illegally-set steel cable trap likely intended for bobcats caught David Clark’s dog Roxy around the neck while they were on a walk on public land near Santa Cruz Lake in New Mexico. Clark said he couldn’t figure out how to release Roxy and had to watch his best friend suffocate in his arms.

Nearly 225 miles to the southwest near Roswell, New Mexico, Mike Corn expects to lose at least a third of his sheep herd again this year because of increasingly audacious coyotes that are also beginning to attack his cattle. Traps are one of the key tools to protect his herd and livelihood in an increasingly challenging market, he said.

The two men, who have never met, are in some ways the faces of the two sides of trapping in the United States that fundamentally disagree about the use of land and the impact of trapping on wildlife.

Farmers and trappers say that an increasing number of bills that would further regulate the practice across the country is putting their way of life in jeopardy.

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