Trapping Reform in Wyoming

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Traps and Trails Just Don’t Mix

Our new informational ad in 2016 summer issue of the Jackson Hole Magazine is a reminder to be aware that traps are legal directly on thousands of miles of public trails in Wyoming.  Traps and trails just don’t mix!



In Wyoming there are no setbacks required from trails and no warning whatsoever required to warn of traps are in an area.  A trap or snare may be set directly on a trail at any time of year.  It’s time to change these archaic laws and regulations and make it so people and their pets can feel safe when recreating on public lands.

One of the primary concerns Wyoming Untrapped has heard from the community is that traps pose a danger to dogs accompanying their owners on public lands.  There is responsibility posed on dog owners – they must have control of their pets and remain watchful of them while hiking on trails. However, there is no leash law for dogs on United States Forest Service lands or state lands.  Thus, a dog owner whose pet is off leash but within reasonable range for voice-command is acting within the law.  It is here that the pet safety issue lies, and where small setback distances do not satisfy the needs of the community.  For example, a dog could easily become ensnared in a trap 30 feet from a trail, especially if that trap were baited. Indeed, the scent of a baited trap may draw a dog to it from a hundred or more feet away.  Pet owners acting within the law on public lands deserve safe areas to recreate.

It is worth considering the potential for 300-foot setbacks to serve as both safety corridors and areas with improved opportunities for wildlife watching along trails.  Wildlife has been shown to modify behavior in response to trapping activities (Banci and Proulx, 1999).  Trapping may decrease the amount of wildlife along trails, both because of removal and modified behavior in response to traps.  Many people enjoy seeing wildlife while hiking, and consider any sighting a highlight of their excursion.  Not having traps along trails may increase the probability that hikers and non-consumptive wildlife users could see wildlife.  While a “tangential benefit” of setbacks, wildlife watchers are a demographic of photographers actually outnumber hunters and trappers in Wyoming (USFWS,2011).  This might also benefit the general tourism economy of Jackson Hole, as many visitors to the area seek out opportunities for viewing wildlife.

Non-consumptive uses of wildlife and public lands are a major driver for both tourism and recreation in Jackson Hole, and all of Wyoming.  Users, organizations, and businesses relating to non-consumptive uses of wildlife and public lands deserve a reasonable expectation of safety while using trails in the local area.

If your pet is caught in a trap, know what to do by reviewing our UnTrapYourPet brochure, also available for download to your smartphone.

Watch our video: “How to Release Your Pet From a Trap

Review our Trapping Incident Database.

If you are aware of any trapping incidents, please
call: 307-201-2422, or


Ad by Brown Earth.

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