Teton County Public Supporting Trail Setbacks….A Slippery Slope?
The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission on July 10 rejected the efforts to address the adverse effects of trapping on the safety of people, pets and wildlife in Teton County by such means as trail setbacks, signage and the closure of a single heavily traveled trail, Cache Creek, on the outskirts of Jackson.
The changes to Chapter 4 Furbearer Trapping Regulations proposed by Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) were supported by Wyoming Untrapped (WU), the Teton County Commission, Bridger Teton National Forest, and many Jackson residents for whom Representative Ruth Ann Petroff spoke. An additional 5700 positive public comments were submitted, including 600 from Wyoming residents, overwhelmingly in favor of the new regulations for Teton County.
Commissioner Carrie Little, when making the motion to remove the closure of Cache Creek from the draft, commented that she believed agreeing to WU’s proposal was the beginning of the slippery slope intended to disenfranchise the rights and heritage of Wyoming’s trappers. Efforts by conservation and advocacy organizations do not pre-empt the slippery slope. Sustainable funding is the main threat to game agencies and hunters today. Even Governor Mead has acknowledged that a solution to long-term funding must be found. The slippery slope is the reduction occurring among the hunting and trapping community due to cultural change. Finding a way to accommodate ALL users whether hunting or non-hunting will be the answer to collaborative management and sustainability.
Even though WU was hugely successful in bringing extensive support to the table and also offered to take financial responsibility for trail use data collection, signage and trap-release education, the Commission decided that the ‘need’ for reform had not been established. However, numerical substantiation of damage and injury to non-target animals, including dogs, is impossible to establish because of the very limited requirement to report.
Furbearer species regulation should be managed using the “best scientific information”. More science is required to justify not only the existing liberal trapping regulations, but also the impact on other wildlife species and the general public. Without the population numbers and grounded scientific research and only basing regulations and seasons on self-reporting harvest trends, WGFD will continue to be challenged in the future. WGFD should require trappers to report all non-target species not under their jurisdiction, including domestic pets.
Wyoming Untrapped has been dedicated over the last year to increasing knowledge about the dangers posed when traditional practices and social use of trails coincide.
We are disappointed, but not discouraged at the Commission decision. WU has gained thousands of supporters who care about trapping reform in Wyoming. We will continue our work to raise trapping awareness throughout the state, that over 85% of our public lands allow legal trapping on trails, and for the need for trapping regulation reform.
Wyoming Game and Fish Commission vote to reject trap setbacks off Cache Creek, a highly used trail in Teton County:
Vice President Carrie Little(Leiter) – NO
David Rael (Cowley) – NO
Mark Anselmi (Rock Springs) – NO
Patrick Crank (Cheyenne) – NO
Keith Culver (Newcastle) – NO
Richard Klouda (Lander) – YES
President Charlies Price (Daniel/Jackson) – No vote
**It should be noted that Wyoming Untrapped does not advocate for a ban of trapping in Wyoming.
Wyoming Untrapped is dedicated to creating a safe and humane environment for people, pets and wildlife through education and trapping regulation reform.