Kim, let me see if I can answer your questions.
Yes, the animals must be dispatched and yes my method is with a handgun.
But stop and think about the meat you get in the supermarket, do you think they died of old age?
The remains of an animal after it is skinned, well it depends.
Beaver, coon and bobcat are quite edible. I have eaten all 3.
Coyotes and fox are edible but not commonly eaten.
What is not used by me for bait etc is buried. If I am in a really remote area I will also leave the body for the birds of pey etc.
As for income. Well that to depends. A person running a few traps can make a little money. Those who depend on it for a large part of their winter income don't run a few traps. Not at all uncommon to run a hundred or more.
If a person is only catching a few coyotes every 3 days then they are doing something wrong.
As for easier work, you are right. Trapping is TOUGH, but there are not alot of jobs that will keep you in shape, healthy and outdoors full time.
You have to have a particular type of personality to do this job or any other number of jobs that I can imagine.
Like I tell folks, if ya can't run with the big dogs they ya better stay under the porch!
While I can't speak for everyone, taxes must be paid.
ANd yes I have my own dogs, a golden lab and a siberian husky.
As for the rancher that allows his dogs to run with him, while that is the custom it is no more legal then anyone else letting their dogs run loose.
My dogs are contained unless they are running on my land. When they go out with me they stay on a leash.
I'm sure that things will change in NM over the years. I would also be willing to bet that alot WON'T change also.
In 1910 the population of NM was about 327,296 the population today is about 1,954,599
A big jump of the last 98 years. Yup, some of the laws have changed since then. Some for the better and some not. NM became a state on Jan. 6, 1912 by the way.
I think that you will find that alot of the laws that related to the "oldways" are still pretty close to being the same.
I.E, the right to trap to start with, the fact that it is legal to carry a firearm in most places, the right to use that firearm to defend yourself and your property and alot of other rights that people in other states don't enjoy.
As the Senior District Court Judge told me one time over coffee.
"The nice thing about NM is that we have the right to be let alone"
Kim, I have a challenge for ya. In June of every year there is a gathering here in the Sacramento mountains.
No, it's not a gathering of trappers. It runs over a Saturday and Sunday, not sure of this years dates yet.
It is designed to educate the kids and young people of our area about the great outdoors.
The people that attend get a touch of a wide variety of activities in the outdoors and get to see first hand what it is all about.
We already have 140 people signed up to attend this year.
This is put on and run by the Game and Fish Dept, Forest Service, NWTF and a few other related organizations.
You should grab your tent and join us and see first hand what it is all about.
If you are seriously concerned about the outdoors I ask you to let me know and I will keep you advised of dates, times etc.
YOu will have the chance to meet alot of good people and will I'm sure come to realize that they are not the horrible, cruel people that they are made out to be.
Oh, food, drinks etc. are provided and the cost is $0.00 to the people who attend. You can also bring your RV if ya don't want to sleep in a tent