The day Scooter, a shorthair pup, died senselessly in a trapper’s snare on a steep Idaho chukar mountain my friend, Terry, lost not only a rising star but a considerable investment in time and, of course, money.
The day before on the same mountain, in the same drainage (off a county road, public land and a popular chukar spot, by the way, just a couple miles outside Salmon and less than a couple hundred yards from an occupied house with dogs) Terry and his oldest son, Brian had been thrilled to witness yet another of Scooter’s increasingly flawless performances—trailing, pointing and fetching up wild chukar—bird savvy and steady way beyond her young age.
Since I’d been in awe of her development since the beginning Terry made a point keep me apprised and, though I really didn’t have a nickel in it, I hung up the phone that night fairly giddy with excitement—like can’t imagine how she could possibly raise the bar higher but…
All that came crashing down next day when the phone rang and I heard the gruesome news. Starting in the exact same spot as day before Terry and Brian rigged Scooter and Smoke (a talented 2 year old pointer) with Garman Astros, and sent the pair up canyon.
Barely underway, Terry spied Smoke stopped dead still just a short ways downhill but…Smoke points in typical pointer fashion, ramrod straight high tail and…Sensing something was not right Terry sprinted down, found Smoke caught in a snare and knowing how—quickly relieved the pressure, slipped the noose off and set him free.
Fearing the worst, Terry hit the transmitter button, yelled to Brian (above) “Scooter’s right below you, not moving, just found Smoke in a snare…” The GPS had Scooter just 47 yards from Terry and less distance from Brian. Both raced to her aid and got there “just as she was kicking her last.” Despite Brian giving mouth to mouth, while Terry did his best to help…
What do you say? What can you say? Sorrow, helplessness, outrage, I wasn’t even there yet could barely constrain my emotions. How Terry and Brian kept from losing it entirely is more than I can fathom. Especially after getting blown off by both Idaho Fish and Game “as one of those things” and “sorry for your loss but I got my rights too” by the remorseless, sorry ass trapper.
Anyway since then we have been trying to convince Idaho and Montana Fish and Game, state legislators and such to at least make trappers mark trap sites—hang a plastic ribbon for cripes sake—during bird season. So far the silence has been nothing short of deafening. Stay tuned for the rest of the story—meantime wherever snares (or ground set Connibears) are legal best keep a sharp eye peeled.