Trapping Reform in Wyoming

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Wyoming Untrapped: Letter to the Editor

Wyoming Untrapped’s recent Letter to the Editor was published in the Jackson Hole News and Guide.

See the LTE here

Trapping reform

Imagine you and a friend are out on a bluebird winter day, walking your dog on a Forest Service trail near Jackson. Your well-behaved dog is wandering along the trail, wagging her tail as she follows each scent she finds. You get caught up in your conversation and your attention wavers from your dog for just a few moments. Suddenly, your dog yelps from just a few feet off the trail — she’s been caught in a trap. If you’re lucky, it is a leg-hold trap that your dog will suffer from, but hopefully survive. If you’re unlucky, your dog’s neck has just been snapped by a quick-kill conibear or slowly squeezed by a snare. Either way, the trap was completely legal and the person who set it is not liable in any way.

Gruesome? Yes. Possible? Absolutely. A scenario not unlike the above became reality for one family in Casper only weeks ago. It has happened here, too, and could happen again at any time. Should this be the reality of recreating in Jackson Hole?

As compassionate people we don’t want to imagine a dog being trapped, don’t want to think about trapping and don’t want to see images of trapped pets and wildlife — but as community, we must not look away. Trapping regulations are antiquated, and the trapping status quo endures because it remains off the radar of nonconsumptive public land and wildlife users.

Trapping season is in full swing, and traps of all varieties can be found almost anywhere on public land — even on your favorite hiking trails. Thousands of furbearers including bobcats, American martens, weasels and many others are trapped without limit. Nontarget species regularly caught in traps include not only pets but also threatened species like Canada lynx. Dog owners, hikers, wildlife watchers, photographers and the rest of the nontrapping public deserve a reasonable expectation of safety while recreating on public lands and deserve to be considered in wildlife management decisions.

We need to put trapping reform on the radar. Wyoming Untrapped is working on establishing trapping setbacks along trails in Teton County through its “Traps and Trails Campaign.” Setbacks are a step forward, and you can help affect change — visit WyomingUntrapped.orgfor information on taking action. It is time for this community to take a hard look at trapping reform.

Katy Canetta
Program Director
Wyoming Untrapped

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