Wyoming Untrapped celebrates TEN years
of our commitment to reforming trapping policy
Ten years ago, a small group of Teton County citizens responded to several domestic dogs being injured ‘by-catch’ of trapping activities and set out to establish a new organization, Wyoming Untrapped. This organization has become the voice for pets, people and wildlife that are exposed to the jaws of trapping and snaring on our public landscapes.
Wyoming Untrapped started our first year with a “Traps and Trails Don’t Mix” campaign, seeking trap setbacks off many of our busy public trails. Although this still remains a desired reform statewide, we made progress elsewhere:
- Secured the right for the public to legally free a pet or domestic animal from a trap or snare.
- Wyoming Untrapped collects incident reports of people encountering traps on public lands as a way to grow awareness and an outlet for people to voice their stories.
- Large 330 Conibears, one of the deadliest quick-kill traps, were banned for use on dry ground.
- Large ram-powered snares were banned from use in Wyoming.
- The Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) seasonal furbearer trapping brochure was revamped into full-page color descriptions of regulations and added to a dedicated trapping page on their website.
- In several bird-hunting areas on WGFD Wildlife Habitat Management Areas (WHMA), trapping and snaring are seasonally restricted.
- WGFD established an internal trapping committee to help facilitate and address future trapping regulation reform.
- Contributed to a beaver holding facility for relocation rather than termination and supported shifting public and agency perspectives on managing beavers as value-added rather than a nuisance when habitat is suitable.
From that first campaign, we continue to grow public awareness of the brutality and archaic practice of recreational trapping. Wyoming Untrapped even commissioned two scientific publications, one showing the economic value of a living bobcat. Early on, we began hosting in-person Trap Release Workshops that teach the public how to release their pets and livestock from a body grip trap, foothold trap or snare. Currently, we have virtual training available for more immediate access year-round.
Although our work is still unfinished, “UNtrapped” is now a common word used throughout our community, the state and the nation. It is used in a literal as well as metaphorical situation. Covid made it clearer than ever that we all face being trapped, and we didn’t like it! Our next step toward modernizing regulations of recreational wildlife trapping in Wyoming is to require mandatory daily checks of traps and snares. This decreases animal suffering and increases the potential survival of non-target animals, from pets to pronghorn.
Last year, a public vote of confidence earned Wyoming Untrapped a bronze medal in the community Best Nonprofit of JH 2022. Our hard work paid off! We can only remain resilient and strong with your continued loyalty and support.
As we celebrate our 10th anniversary, the Wyoming Untrapped Team thanks our community of supporters and activists from the bottom of our hearts.