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JH News and Guide: Trappers React to Wyoming Untrapped’s Proposal

Read the full Article: Jackson Hole News and Guide

WYOMING SPORTSMEN: REFORMS WOULD END TRAPPING

“Proposal to eliminate it in 20 places frequented by people and dogs goes too far, opponents say.” “Trappers and advocacy groups are blasting a valley nonprofit’s proposal to reform Teton County’s trapping regulations, labeling it an overreach that would eliminate opportunities to practice the sport in the valley.” “Released late last month, Wyoming Untrapped’s proposal would prohibit furbearer trapping within 500 feet of 20 trails and roads throughout the county that are heavily used by people, often with dogs.”

 

Posted: Wednesday, January 7, 2015 4:30 am

Released late last month, Wyoming Untrapped’s proposal would prohibit furbearer trapping within 500 feet of 20 trails and roads throughout the county that are heavily used by people, often with dogs.

It would also ban the practice altogether in the greater Snow King and Munger Mountain areas.

Mike Beres, a Jackson resident and active trapper, said the proposed reform would push him out of a number of areas where he has run trap-lines for the past 15 years.

“It would shut down everything,” Beres said. “It’s basically proposing to shut down every trail in Teton County. … Anybody that traps in Teton County would be affected.

“In places where a setback may be reasonable they want a complete closure,” he said. “They need to figure out how to do this with smaller bites.”

Headed by Jackson Hole resident Lisa Robertson, Wyoming Untrapped has reached out to the trapping community in the process of crafting the recommendations it is submitting to the state.

“We have worked a little bit with Wyoming Untrapped,” said Tom Krause, a regional director of the Wyoming State Trappers Association, “because we think we have some common ground, which is to see if there’s some way to reduce conflicts.

“However, that being said, we’re also aware of their agenda,” he said, “which is to eliminate trapping.”

Krause distributed to his members the 10-page document containing Wyoming Untrapped’s “requests, recommendations and a plan” for trapping regulations in Teton County. The association’s local members — Krause declined to disclose their names — didn’t take to the proposal warmly, he said.

“What we received back from them is that it’s essentially all the areas in the valley that are not in the park,” Krause said. “Essentially that would eliminate trapping in the whole valley there.

“For that reason it’s unlikely to be accepted by the Wyoming State Trappers Association,” he said.

The 20 places where Wyoming Untrapped aims to establish setbacks include heavily used trails and roads, such as those at Game and Cache creeks and Old Pass Road.

The proposal also covers more backcountry destinations, such as Jackson Peak, Sleeping Indian and Grizzly Lake.

Beres and Krause contended that Wyoming trappers are good about policing themselves and are self-imposing reforms intended to reduce conflicts with people’s pets.

The association, for instance, is advocating that the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission ban larger “Conibear 330” body traps on “dry” public land, Krause said.

Designed to catch beaver, coyotes, bobcat and otter, the Conibears can be lethal to domestic dogs.

A setback in an area such as Cache Creek is unneeded, Beres said, because pet dogs are not being accidentally caught there. He dismissed the peace of mind a pet owner may gain from knowing traps cannot be legally set.

“Trapping isn’t a problem up there,” Beres said. “The perception [of there being traps] isn’t an issue, it’s responsible use. And the only issue we’ve had in the valley is illegal trapping.”

The incident Beres refers to dates to fall 2013, when two dogs on a walk were trapped less than 30 feet off the shoulder of Fall Creek Road near Red Top Meadows. Two Alpine men involved were heavily fined, and one served five days in jail.

No dogs have been killed by trappers’ sets in Jackson Hole in recent history.

Krause said the November killing of three St. Bernard dogs in legal snare traps near Casper is not an indication that trapping regulations need reform.

“That is such an unreasonable, unexpected fluke that it just defies our understanding,” he said.

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