Trapping Reform in Wyoming

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Dog caught in 330 Conibear quick-kill trap in Laramie, WY

“Two weeks ago (circa Feb 1, 2020) I was hiking with my dog on one of the north side hill trails of the BLM section of Roger Canyon (about 8 mi NE of Laramie). About 300 feet from the county road and maybe 40 feet from the obvious trail a 10″ quick kill trap had been set and baited with a feathered dead chicken. My 70 lb Old English Sheepdog went for the bait and the trap’s bars pinched his neck on the sides.  Fortunately, the bars did not pinch him across the throat as it took me some time to get this beast of a trap off him.

Having never seen a trap like this before it took a little time to figure out how to release it. The dog would not lie down during this episode so I might steep on one of the two springs and hook it to the safe state. I am a rock climber and have a grip somewhat stronger than most men but compressing a spring took all the strength I could muster to get the first spring out of the state that pinches the bars across the dog’s neck. I could not disengage the second spring but then realized I had an 18v cordless grinder in my car not far away. I made a grinding cut on the spring coil as far away from the dog’s head as I could and he soon was free.  Cutting the spring likely rendered this trap unrepairable.

The trap had a name and cell number on paper attached to it so I took it to the local  Game & Fish office. The investigating warden had me point out on a map as to where on this BLM land the trap had been set. It is illegal to set a 10″ quick-kill trap on public land unless it is in water & mud. This trap was set on dry land. The registered trapper was served paper ( a citation)  according to Laramie Warden Kelly Todd for not setting the trap in mud as required when used on public lands.

The Game & Fish told me they were advising the Game Commission that there should be more buffer between a road and the zone where trapping is permitted. If the commission approves the recommended changes the changes are forwarded to the State Legislature — and who knows how they will vote?

The Bottom line is that the 10″ quick kill trap when holding a live big dog across the neck is extremely difficult to release.  If the trap had sprung 90 degrees from crosswise ( against the neck’s sides) to where it was crushing the windpipe I doubt whether I could have got it off before the dog would be strangled/suffocated  by the pinching bars.”  Dingus McGee

Wyoming Untrapped is requesting a copy of the citation and the sentencing as of 3.20.20.  We will update as we learn more.


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