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Learn How Traps Work: It Could Save Your Dog's Life

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February 02, 2012

Learn How Traps Work: It Could Save Your Dog's Life

By Chad Love

There are any number of things that can go wrong, sometimes horribly, when we take our dogs into the field. They can run through a fence and get torn up, run through a cattle guard or hole and break a leg, run into a porcupine or skunk, inhale dangerous seeds, get bitten by a snake, trampled by a cow, run over by a car, get overheated, dehydrated or completely lost, the list is pretty much endless in terms of potential dangers.

All you can do is take it on faith that those things won't happen while hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. That's why most of us do things like carry first-aid kits on all our hunting trips and plugging the phone numbers of local vets into our cell phones.

But here's one more thing that every one of us should familiarize ourselves with: what to do if one of our dogs gets caught in a body-gripping trap. Here's an absolutely heartbreaking story from last week's Minneapolis Star-Tribune about a rash of dogs dying in traps.

From the story:

Doug Snyder won't forget the day he loaded a .22 rifle and shot his dog at point-blank range. He and his two teenage sons were walking along a forest road near their cabin east of Hinckley in late December when Polka Dot, their 9-year-old setter-Lab mix, suddenly howled in distress. Bolting headlong into the woods, Snyder found his dog 60 yards away with its head and neck caught in a deadly body-gripping trap. "She was standing there, bleeding from the snout," he said. Frantically, Snyder and his 16-year-old son struggled to free their pet before it suffocated. But two powerful springs held the trap's jaws tightly closed. "We fought like hell to get it off, and we couldn't," he said. "She was melting away."

Desperate to end Polka Dot's suffering, he sent his son to the cabin for his .22. "I sat and petted her," said Snyder, 48, of St. Anthony. Then he loaded the gun and shot his dog. "There was nothing else to do," he said. "It was devastating. She was a great dog. I loved to walk in the woods with her." Polka Dot is among at least six hunting dogs that have been killed in traps in Minnesota since last fall.

That number could be higher because some pet owners don't report the losses and others might never find their dogs, and the Department of Natural Resources doesn't track such cases. Body-gripping traps such as 220 Conibears -- with 7-inch openings, large enough for most dogs to fit their heads into -- have been around for 50 years. But the recent rash of dog deaths has spurred some hunters to call for stricter regulations, and the DNR will hold public meetings this winter on the topic. The traps usually are baited with meat, and when an animal pokes its head in to get the bait, the trap springs.

I've been lucky in that I've never run across a trap while out hunting with my dogs, but of course that doesn't mean it can't or won't ever happen. If you have hunting dogs you owe it to yourself to familiarize yourself with traps and how to get your dog out of them. You probably know how to get a dog out of a leg-hold or a snare, but the Conibear traps require some specialized knowledge. You can either purchase a setting tool for about ten bucks (just Google "conibear setting tool", they're sold everywhere) or you can learn how to do it with your hands or a strap to compress the springs.

Here's a very good breakdown on trap extraction from "Terrier Man" Patrick Burns and here's an excellent instructional video from Scott Linden at Scott Linden Outdoors.

I'm even considering buying a Conibear 220 just to practice getting it open quickly. That may sound foolish, but the $15 or so the trap will cost me is a small price to pay for the knowledge that may save my dog's life. Has anyone ever had their dog caught in a Conibear-type trap? Ever encountered one?

Comments (40)

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

This is an area of "hunting" that sure doesn't get my support. I witnessed a guy setting a number of traps within my city limits!..along the river I was fishing. Saw this guy with a ball bat, and wondered what he was up to? I told the guy for his sake, I hope my dog never gets in one of his traps! Fortunately I didn't bring my lab along as I often do. I investigated it, and found out there are few places these trappers aren't allowed to set their traps!..no school yards or public parks was about it!! The authorities told me when a public hearing meeting was to be held, and I should attend...pretty incredible.

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from Travis wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

A conibear isnt a very good site on your 14 year old irish setter. When its dead winter 2 years ago when we had the extreme cold weather. My golden lab had brought my dog home that night with the trap and the stake dragging behind it. My dad and brother both had to grab on to the conibear to release my dogs head out of it. That night we stayed up and didnt think the dog was going to make it through another day. She lived a couple more months before she passed of old age. She was a family friend in all my hunting pics she would always be in the pictures with me.

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from abiddle013 wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

This is very similar to a case that recently happened in my neck of the woods. A guy set multiple traps all over the city parks and creeks. Needless to say, after killing a few innocent pets the guy is awaiting criminal charges.

I may be stepping on a few toes here, but to me if you don't have the time to spend out in the woods waiting on your quarry you probably shouldn't be trying to kill it. A baited trap is incapable of making that crucial decision of what falls and what walks.

If ever the case arose, I pity the man whose trap claims my best friend.

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from mutt wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

more so I think this is a case of now where your walking. the few dogs that I have heard of getting trapped have been on privet property that the dog owner doesn't own. so don't let your dog go running in some field you don't now the details about. for the trappers that are in urban or public areas that is just asking for trouble.

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from larson014 wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

abiddle013, trappers spend hundreds of hours of time in the woods, trapping is heavily regulated already, and there are many rules that you might not be aware of that are designed to minimize the chance of catching dogs, here in michigan, 220's on public lands have to either be in the water, 4 feet up above the ground, or in a conibox designed to prevent dogs from getting to the trap... if only the dog owner in question would have known how the trap operated, he would have never needed to shoot his own dog... also hunting is hunting, please dont try to demonize trappers because we are "passive hunters" instead of "active"hunting...

we have enough opposition from antihunters already...

also its important to note that we help control all those egg and bird predators like raccoons, possums, foxes, coyotes etc, so bird hunters have better population of birds to hunt

a 220 is only 7inches wide, simple knowledge of a conibear could have prevented this tragedy in the first place...

knowledge is power people

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from philbourjaily wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

I freed my parents' King Charles spaniel from a conibear. I didn't know how to open it but stuck my hand inside to hold it a little way open and dismantled it with my Swiss Army knife.

Since then I have learned to open them as shown in the video but thankfully have never had to. Many states regulate the larger sizes and require them to be set underwater.

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from Dcast wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

Here in Ohio you are not allowed to trap on public lands. Also I want to echo Larsons comments. Hunters shouldn't be angry with trappers and vice versa. trappers have rights also and should be supported by the hunting community because one day it may be returned. This is xbow vs. bow debate! Everyone should support everyone!

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from chadlove wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

Certainly don't want this to devolve into a debate over trapping. I have absolutely no issues with trapping at all, and in fact would love to see more of it. Our gamebirds need more of it.

And as others have pointed out, many states have rules about the placement and setting of conibears to avoid this very thing. And I think most trappers, like most hunters, absolutely follow the law. But you still need to know how to react if a dog of yours ever does happen to find itself in a trap, one set legally or otherwise.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

DCAST..They get NO support from me where I live. Not until their RIGHTS! are changed. This guy I quoted put his traps right along a trail where folks came down to the river, and off a parking lot next to a main paved road. And he had a perfect right to do so. But I would NEVER support his rights!!

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from redfishunter wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

Larson....I see you call trapping "passive hunting." If you consider trapping hunting, then you need to read the definition of hunting. It is not. It is a lazy man's "hunting" if anything. If a trapper ever caught my dog I don't know if I'd just straight up shoot him or if I'd put his d**k in the trap and leave him for dead. Either way, trapping is not hunting, nor is there any sport involved.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

Yes, under the right regulations (off the ground and in boxes), there is no excuse for a dog to be caught in a conibear trap. If your jurisdicton doesn't have any regulations, the hunters and trappers should lobby for them. It will only bode well for us ... and our pets. Usually a conibear crushes the dog's skull so the folks in the above examples should count themselves VERY lucky. As for the story in the blog, that fella just plain panicked. It happens too often. In my opinion, if a person can't figure out how to open a conibear just looking at it, then he/she probably couldn't figure out how to change a diaper. My dad's brother was like that. And it didn't help to give him instructions either. He simply did not have the aptitude to figure out how to close a cereal box. Some folks are just like that (kinda scary to think they, like my uncle, are out there operating firearms!)

Dogs in the field are always going to be at risk and any handler has to expect the unexpected. I noted the calamaties Chad listed above. I have run into most of them - and quite a few just this year alone! For those who hunt around cattle be especially aware that cows have usually just been separated from their calves about the time upland season gets underway. If you own a black lab, expect those old angus bossies will try to adopt it! A cow may be ready to run you over trying to get to your dog but don't panic and shoot her! Gad, I have seen that happen too many times! A cow will respond well to getting thumped on the head with a stick or even gunstock. And cows aren't real maneuverable - just step out of the way at the last second and whack her. If you turn and try to run away, both you and the dog are going to get stomped. The landowner will permanently not respond well to future hunters if his cattle have been shot! By the way, Pearl was run over end to end by a pickup at age 11 months. She sustained a skull fracture and was snarling and snapping at everything and everyone. Pretty scary! I hate to think what the guy above would have done. By the way, I also once managed to diffuse a situation involving my lab, my horse, and a grizzly. Any one of those ingredients could have gone haywire leading to a disaster. Stayed cool and everything worked out. Remember, all animals recognize instinctively that you are the alpha species and they look to you first to see what you're going to do.

The most important thing to be gleaned from this blog is keep your head on your shoulders when faced with a dog emergency (or any emergency), especially in the field. Your best friend is counting on you.

Thanks for bringing this to our attention, Chad!

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from basman wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

as stated above trapping is not hunting. in hunting a person makes the conscious decision to terminate the life of what ever it is you are hunting. trapping just catches anything that comes along and puts itself into the trap. trapping has no rational or reason just certain death. we owe it to our hunting and personal pets to police this a little bit closer. also it is ultimately the responsibility of the trapper as to where and when he sets his traps. a little common sense will go a long way.

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from hal herring wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

Almost lost my wonderful best friend pit to a cam-lock snare once- a truly ugly experience. Used to set her free from leg hold traps on a monthly basis in the winter. If there are snares around, you have to have wire cutters, and be fast with them.

You have to know how to do this: the video and this post are so valuable! Thanks, Chad, thanks!

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from Mibasshunter wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

Trapping with conibears is dangerous if you dont know what your doing. In my opinion conibears should only be used in dog proof or somewhat dogproof sets. for example- in a box set where coons can get in but dogs cant get there snout in or in a box on a tree set. other wise you could catch anything that comes along looking for a snack.

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from mbuching wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

I believe that traps should be treated like tip ups....Have to have your name and phone number on it. Here on Kodiak, it doesn't make any sense to me that a trapper can get an unlimited number of foxes, but a hunter can only get two. Seems that the ratio is a bit off in my mind...

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

Hal has brought up an excellent point! Snares are really scary. You'll need a leatherman or a good sturdy knife handy and be johnny on the spot or the dog is done for. And snares have to be set at head level to be effective. No boxes either. The upside is that they usually don't involve bait. A dog would only wind up in one more or less by coincidence. Snares should flat out be banned in any areas where there is bird hunting and season is open or if a suburban development is nearby.

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from Walt Smith wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

A trapper has just as much right to set their trap line as hunters have to run their dogs. As someone said earlier it would be wise of a dog hunter to familiarize themselves with traps and snares instead of pointing a crooked finger at trappers and bad mouthing them in general. The trapper surely didn't mean to catch a hunting dog and they probably feel just as bad about it as you do. Condibears are very simple traps all you have to do is squeeze the V together and then fold the squares open. I used to set them and stick my fist through them to scare my girlfriends when I was in H.S. just don't do it with your hand flat!

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from denver_long wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

I would like to say I am a hunter and a trapper. I have a lab and a Brittany that I hunt with but also accompany me on the trap line. A trap can be a selective if the trapper sets it to be so. Snares are only lethal if they are set to be lethal. Trapping is just as important for controlling wildlife populations as hunting is. Hunters and trappers should work together not bad mouth each other. A trapper not following regulations isn't a trapper he is a poacher. A hunter not following the regs isn't a hunter but also a poacher. I trap on public and private property and put my name and address on the trap. Not once have I caught a dog or cat. It's not the trap it's the person who sets it.

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from ITHACASXS wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

This whole topic is, as I see it, to be prepared to help your dog if it gets caught in a trap. That people use this to trash trapping is just terrible. The huge explosion of foxes, skunks and raccoons, as well as the lack of game birds should show us how much we unknowingly benefited from the work of the now vanishing trapper. There was a time in our country when most rural folks trapped. Hunters being aware of traps is NOT a new thing, its something many have forgotten. The trapper is our unsung brother. Stand by him or lose it all someday soon.

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from Jeff Bowers wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

I do not consider trapping in any area where other pets, or especially children, could find them.

There is no judgement involved. And since they like to put smelly meat, etc., as bait, it is designed to attract the hungry or curious.

It is NOT a valid form of hunting at all in any civilized area. Arctic wastes? Yes.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

Ithaca, I don't see anyone trashing trapping, just bad trappers. No ethical trapper would set snares (except possibly rabbit snares) in places where there's bird hunting going on. Box/live traps on the ground or conibears off the ground and in boxes should be the rule in those situations. And any trapper worth his salt would act accordingly. It's the lazy and unknowledgeable that cause the problem. There's slob trappers just as there are slob hunters. I won't make excuses for either of them. And you shouldn't either.

Walt, it won't do the hunter with a dog much good to familiarize himself with killer traps and snares when they kill the dog outright. As I said, the hunter who finds his dog still alive in a conibear trap is very lucky indeed. If the trapper isn't setting his killer traps/snares to avoid dogs (which is easily done), then he obviously really doesn't care if a dog winds up in one. Please don't tell me how bad the poor trapper would feel who just throws a conibear with a chunk of meat on the ground and winds up killing dogs. He's just a lazy, inconsiderate SLOB. And I would gladly destroy every trap/snare I find that's a hazard (or with a rotted fur-bearing animal left stuck in it - as a trapper you better be tending your traps!). There's no excuse for that. Fortunately, up here the trapping business is heavily regulated. Any of the above offenses will cause the trapper to lose his government alloted trapline. And he won't be getting it back either. I did turn a trapper in for not tending his traps, he was evicted, and the trapper's cabin burned down (cabins are authorized at the pleasure of the crown on crown land). The guy had a drinking problem. This is rare, however. Traplines are like liquor licenses up here. Too valuable to abuse.

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from jamesti wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

here's what i don't get: when a bunch of traps are set and they catch and kill an animal that they weren't supposed to, it's collateral damage. when we are hunting and shoot something we didn't intend to, it's a crime and time for the chair. trappers are not regulated as much as they should be IMO. if my dog gets caught in your trap on public land, wether it is legal for you to trap there or not, i pray that your name and address is on it so i can return it to you! i may be wrong but i feel trappers are not held to high enough standards. i also am a bit biased because i am a dog owner and not a trapper. i feel like trappers have their place in the taking of animals, just not on public land with a weapon with no soul or decision making ability. isn't there a way to put up a flag or some kind of warning to let people who are walking or working their dogs know it is there. i hardly think it would tip off the animals they are trapping. JMO.

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from larson014 wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

I dont know about other states but in my state, all snares have a stop at 4.5 in diameter making them non lethal

All of our traps have to have our name and address on them

Our foothold live restraining traps have to be checked every day...

Flagging would only make it easier for trap thieves, which we already have a huge problem with these days...

It only takes a few illegal or careless trappers to ruin it for all of us, just like in hunting and fishing; but they certainly do not represent all of us out there, and dont blanket us as being stupid or lazy, trapping even part time most people check their traps before work at like 5 am then go to work, come home and spend the rest of the night putting up their fur, trapping takes hundreds of hours every season, Please dont call us lazy, because you have no idea...

And yes this article does have good info that all dog owners should know...

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from Dcast wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

Sayfu, Thats unfortunate, because you may need trappers on your side some day. Another way of looking at it is the conceal carry laws. Many people have the right to carry, and many don't feel you should have the right to do so. So where do you fall? How do you justify you decision if you agree to being allowed to carry? Yes, it is the samething.

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from dogwood wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

Chad,
Thanks for publishing this. I have spread it around to as many places I know.

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from redfishunter wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

Ontario...I hate to tell you that you are wrong but I am bashing trappers. Legal or Not. They are not sportsmen. A sportsman seeks to put his game down as quickly and as painless as possible. And is selective about what game it puts down. I personally believe trappers are going to have to answer to what they do at the gates of heaven.

And Dcast, you can't possibly compare trapping to concealed carry. I carry a concealed weapon, and you are right, many people feel I shouldn't (damn hippies). The difference is, I'm in complete control of my weapon and decide when to use it and what to use it on. Trappers have no control.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

Colateral damage is part of trapping. Has been for the last five million years. With history like that it's safe to say it is part of the "natural" scheme of things. We should be thankful that some technological developments such as killer traps set in boxes have minimized the pain and suffering and the colateral damage. I spend many days every year helping my buddy check his trapline. He and I both own dogs and sometimes take them with us. We do everything we can to ensure that the traps are ethically and safely set and checked appropriately. I am not lumping all trappers with slobs in that profession. Almost all that I have encountered are very industrious and ethical individuals. With fur prices what they are, even a good trapline will hardly pay the fuel costs to maintain it. These guys do it mostly because they need to be out there.

Up here every trapper has a quota of beaver that he MUST take from his trapline. If he doesn't get his quota, he will lose the trapline to someone who will. Redfish, the reason for that is it's critical to maintain the beaver population - and I'm sorry but that job is not going to get done with guys hunting them. Every couple of years we have a gully-washer early spring storm that takes out a couple of beaver dams which causes a couple more downstream to fail which causes all below them to fail, etc. End result is walls of water shooting down watersheds. Bridges, culverts, highways, homes, all washed away in the blink of an eye. Now, when we trap for beaver, generally ONLY beaver are taken. No dog or fisher or bobcat is going to be crawling around where those traps are set! Similarly, I have yet to see anything but otters in our otter sets. The martin boxes are the most "indiscriminate". Besides martin they take, mink, quite a few ermine (weasles), and the occassional fisher. All but the fisher are found in abundance. Oh, and the martin sets also take literally hundreds of flying squirrels. But those things are the scroungy vermin of the boreal forest. I hate to even touch them! No shortage of those critters and thinning their numbers only helps them. Our big double trap open-ended tunnel boxes set up off the ground will take fishers, bobcat, and also mink and martin.

I don't agree with leg-hold traps, even if they are checked everyday. And I certainly DO NOT agree with setting snares that ARE NOT designed to kill the animal. Any animal that winds up spending hours or days in one of those will wish it was dead by the time the trapper comes around. If it hasn't froze to death first (such a nice way to go!). An animal stuck in a box/live trap is more likely to settle down after a minute or so, preserve its energy, and stay alive till the trap is checked. And it won't be mangled if the trapper decides to release it. A snared animal, however, will likely continue to struggle until it's done for (except bobcat/lynx - they're total whimps).

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

And, by the way, I have yet to find a live animal in any of our traps. This fall I found an ermine in the trap that was still warm and trap was still swinging on its chain. I can assure you that critter was dead instantly.

Again, the point here is conibear killer traps are a very good thing, perhaps one of the best and most humane developments in the history of trapping ... AS LONG AS THEY ARE SET PROPERLY. Idiots who don't know what they are doing or don't care to do it right have no business even touching one (for one thing those traps easily have the ability to permanently mame the trapper).

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

Gees, Redfish, who said trappers were "sportsmen"? They're harvesters, much the same as berry pickers.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

Here, I'll tell you what; the mofo that sets a trap and catches my dawg like this one did better hope his soul is in God's hands because I will arrange the meeting. Trappers aren't sportsmen. They are a bunch of sadistic skunks that kill and maim non-targeted species all the time. This middle finger is for you! mlm

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from Walt Smith wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

I can remember when I was a teenager rabbit hunting with some family friends and their dogs when one of the beagles started running a deer its owner shot the dog dead. He said that if the dog won't hunt rabbits and leave deer alone it wasn't worth having. At first I thought he was crazy but then I seen what he meant, once his dog started it would never be broke from it. So if your bird dog is hunting for birds in fox dens and muskrat holes and more worried about finding some stinky bait you might not have a well trained bird dog in the first place.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

DCAST I have never been of that pursuation on ANYTHING! I know my sense of morals, ethics, principles, and I don't EVER want a bunch of folks I don't see eye to eye with as having to be on my side...fishing, hunting, or how to raise one's kids. BS to your big melting pot thinking. The pot stinks when I have to include trappers. It's the rotten apple theory for me on that one.

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from jamesti wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

OHH, your defense of collateral damage doesn't fly. my dog deserves to be on our hunting grounds as much as anyone else when we are hunting public land! trust me, if he gets caught in a trap of ANY kind, that trapper best not be of this earth or i will be going to see him!
walt, dogs are attracted to certain smells. it's their nature, not their fault.

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from Walt Smith wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

If "dogs are attracted to certain smells, its their nature, not their fault" then why is it the trappers fault? Is it because its easier to blame them than your dog or how you trained it???

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

WAM, your dogs are safe around the trapline I help work. Unless, of course, you have trained them to climb trees. As to indiscriminate killing and maiming, I am quite sure every bird that absorbed shot from you this past season hit the ground dead? Of course, not a single one flew away to die someplace else later, right? And it is okay for us to go out and blow away hundreds of gophers with fancy varmint guns but trappers who inadvertantly take out some squirrels with a simple piece of spring steel deserve the finger? The way I see it, we're all in the same glass house.

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from dogwood wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

“one of the beagles started running a deer its owner shot the dog dead. He said that if the dog won't hunt rabbits and leave deer alone it wasn't worth having. At first I thought he was crazy but then I seen what he meant, once his dog started it would never be broke from it.”
Your first impression was the correct impression.
“If "dogs are attracted to certain smells, it’s their nature, not their fault" then why is it the trappers fault? Is it because its easier to blame them than your dog or how you trained it???”
Dogs can and have been trained not to chase deer, far easier than they can be trained not to eat.
Fortunately where I hunt, trapping is not allowed on WMA’s and other areas where I would take my dog.

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from jamesti wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

it has nothing to do with the dog's training. dogs are going to smell meat and they WILL investigate it. my dog is very well trained but he is not always in my sight while hunting. he does not chase deer, but meat is another thing. he will want to know what it is and will go find it. if it is in your trap, there will be repercussions. i hunt mostly public lands, a place where traps don't need to be. keep them on your own land or your buddie's land!

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

When I was doing my first post-grad work at U of Mont back in the early 1980s we had a problem with the local dog catcher. He called my black lab out of the yard and impounded her one Sunday. He had tried to grab her the previous weekend but my four year-old daughter caught him in time for my ex to intervene. Ethyl was like a guided missile in every respect. She'd never leave the yard but like every lab, she was very sociable. Turns out animal control got a complaint about dogs in the garbage on a street about a half mile from our apartment. It was Sunday and the dog-catcher knew where he could catch a dog quick and get back home. When I went to court the jerk claimed he had caught her in the garbage. I called him a liar and said I could prove it. Said I'd go across the street and pick up the most expensive steak at Safeways, bring it back, throw it in the judge's waste basket, and we'd leave Ethyl in his chambers overnight without even feeding her an evening meal. That steak would still be in the trash can the next morning. He laughed. I said, "Wanna bet your job on that?" His gufaw was met with a similar challenge from the crusty old country judge: "Put up or shut up!" The guy was stunned. Judge challenged him a second time. He waved his hand and stormed out, Case dismissed. Now, Ethyl was an extraordinary dog. I would NEVER worry about her getting in a slob trapper's baited set. But she was extraordinary. If I happened to see any of my current dogs approaching a trap set on the ground I have no doubt I could call them back (well, the pup is just about there). Chasing deer? That is something that can be fixed with any hunting dog worth a pinch of poop. It requires exposure and persistence and maybe some heavy-handed discipline but I have never had much trouble breaking any of my dogs. Now mine usually don't even bat an eye when we kick up a deer. The labs can usually even be called off a rabbit almost immidiately but that dang Brittany pup is proving hard to break. One of the problems is it was a bad year for jack rabbits back in Montana (presumably the terrible winter took out most of them) and therefore the pup didn't get enough consistent exposure to work up a successful pattern of discipline. On the up side, the winter and subsequent blue tongue epidemic left deer carcasses EVERYWHERE and I got in tons of good training opportunities restraining them from bothering that stuff. That has likely gone a long ways towards helping minimize problems with any traps we might encounter (which is very unlikely). I would also encourage handlers to work their dogs in fields where farm animals have been disposed of for exactly the same reason. It's a pain in the butt hauling dogs off bone piles but in the end it is very productive training excersize. Another good training excercize is raising the dogs in the house where they have the run of the place including the kitchen. My dogs know they cannot get their noses anywhere close to the counter or table or garbage can. If they can learn that, I cannot see why they cannot learn to stay out of stuff in the field. The thing is they need to be trained, i.e. presented with situations in the field where meat or bait is left where they can get to it.

As far as trapping on public land: trappers pay their taxes too just like hunters. It is their land as much as it belongs to us hunters. Having said that, I will be the first to go after the source of any trap my dog gets caught in because I know it was something that could have been avoided had the trap been set properly. That slob trapper will be wearing a conibear necktie, at the very least. I also don't have any use for slob hunters on public land who shoot owls, turtles, blackbirds, or a deer in the arse. But I don't condemn all hunters because of the actions of a few. That would make it pretty hard for me to shave in the morning! Frankly, I see a lot of the trapping condemnation above from folks who really don't know much about modern trapping.

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from birddemon wrote 2 years 9 weeks ago

Enough with the arguing please. Most of you live in states that have regulations on the conibear traps. Whether they have to be set 4" off the ground, set only in water, in boxes that have small openings or are banned outright. I live in MN, we've had 6 dogs killed since the fall in these traps. As previous posters have stated, if your dog isn't killed instantly, you MIGHT be able to save your dog. Only if you're close by. I have experimented with one, they're not as easy as people say to release, especially if your dog is struggling and you are panicked. MN grouse season starts mid Sept, trapping season starts Oct 20th. That means we hunt hard for one month and sit the next two and half months out. The small towns up north receive not a penny from us those months because I will not risk my dogs. I always took this as something I had to accept but thru researching other states regs on conibear traps, I have found that other states have found compromise between bird hunters and trappers. this is all most of us want. If you want to help MN dog owners and bird hunters please sign the petition at
http://signon.org/sign/safe-public-lands?source=c.em.mt&r_by=1905165
To ban GROUND SETS of the conibear, most of your states have this reg. The petition was started by a trapper who's dog was killed by another trapper's ground set conibear trap. Thanks for listening and just remember, if you're in MN grouse hunting in late Oct the traps are there too

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from Trapper John wrote 2 years 9 weeks ago

Let me start out by saying that those who think that trapping is a "lazy" man's sport have never done it and have no idea what's involved. I lost seventeen pounds in the first three weeks of our 2010-2011 season. This year I decided to take it easy so I only lost 13 pounds.

Which is more work- sitting on a stump for hours waiting for a deer to walk by? Or carrying 40lbs of equipment 1/4 mile in to a beaver pond so I can carry it and a 50lb beaver or two back out? (And doing it a half dozen times each day.) I'm not knocking deer hunting- I enjoy it too. Just putting things in perspective.

I'll be the first to say that the dogs that were lost were tragedies. My sincere sympathy to the owners. But the actions of a few irresponsible people should not be the basis for restricting an entire group.

I have a nice peppering of 7 1/2 shot in my back and shoulder put there by a bird hunter I never saw when I was about 20 years old. (And yes- I had a hunter orange hat and vest on). When I yelled after getting hit, I heard him run off. I guess he figured if I could yell he hadn't injured me seriously. Fortunately the pellets are just under the skin and the doctor said there was no real reason to dig them out. I figure there's about 30 of them there. The reason I know they are 7 1/2s is my Dad dug a few out before he decided we'd better go to the doctor. Now is that a reason to ban bird hunting? After all, HUMANS die every year from getting shot. Others are more fortunate in that they are only injured. Some are really lucky (like me) and only get a sore shoulder and a messed up shirt and vest. Obviously not. The appropriate solution is more education and prosecution of those that break existing laws.

I've trapped for 38 seasons and have never caught a dog. I have taken close to 1000 raccoons over the years (most in bodygripping traps) so I suspect I've done a lot more for the upland bird and duck hunters than they have ever done for me. Then, of course, there are the foxes, coyotes, mink, opossums, and skunks I've also taken. With the exception of the canines, most of the others were also taken in bodygripping traps. That's changed now. With the restrictions recently placed on bodygrippers here in Michigan, I've pretty much stopped trapping raccoons (and therefore won't be taking the associated skunks and opossums). We have a daily check requirement on non-lethal sets (which I personally support). Therefore, since I can't lethally take raccoons with any reasonable effectiveness, I focus my trapping on muskrats and beaver now. Maybe the coonhound hunters will increase their take to help protect the upland birds and ducks- but I wouldn't count on it.

All sportsmen need to stick together. It's as simple as that. A bird hunter has no more right to be in the woods than a trapper. Education of both groups can reduce, and hopefully eliminate, conflicts. When bear hunting with hounds was on the ballot in Michigan in 1996, the Michigan Trappers were right there fighting along with the Michigan Bear Hunters. Because as Ben Franklin said,

"Gentlemen, if we don't hang together we shall most assuredly hang separately."

Also in Michigan, if you are not actively hunting, all dogs on public land are required by law to be on a leash. People don't follow this law, and therefore we had a bunch of additional restrictions placed on trappers. Please help me understand the logic in this.

Thanks! Be safe out there!

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from larson014 wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

abiddle013, trappers spend hundreds of hours of time in the woods, trapping is heavily regulated already, and there are many rules that you might not be aware of that are designed to minimize the chance of catching dogs, here in michigan, 220's on public lands have to either be in the water, 4 feet up above the ground, or in a conibox designed to prevent dogs from getting to the trap... if only the dog owner in question would have known how the trap operated, he would have never needed to shoot his own dog... also hunting is hunting, please dont try to demonize trappers because we are "passive hunters" instead of "active"hunting...

we have enough opposition from antihunters already...

also its important to note that we help control all those egg and bird predators like raccoons, possums, foxes, coyotes etc, so bird hunters have better population of birds to hunt

a 220 is only 7inches wide, simple knowledge of a conibear could have prevented this tragedy in the first place...

knowledge is power people

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

This is an area of "hunting" that sure doesn't get my support. I witnessed a guy setting a number of traps within my city limits!..along the river I was fishing. Saw this guy with a ball bat, and wondered what he was up to? I told the guy for his sake, I hope my dog never gets in one of his traps! Fortunately I didn't bring my lab along as I often do. I investigated it, and found out there are few places these trappers aren't allowed to set their traps!..no school yards or public parks was about it!! The authorities told me when a public hearing meeting was to be held, and I should attend...pretty incredible.

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from Travis wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

A conibear isnt a very good site on your 14 year old irish setter. When its dead winter 2 years ago when we had the extreme cold weather. My golden lab had brought my dog home that night with the trap and the stake dragging behind it. My dad and brother both had to grab on to the conibear to release my dogs head out of it. That night we stayed up and didnt think the dog was going to make it through another day. She lived a couple more months before she passed of old age. She was a family friend in all my hunting pics she would always be in the pictures with me.

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from abiddle013 wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

This is very similar to a case that recently happened in my neck of the woods. A guy set multiple traps all over the city parks and creeks. Needless to say, after killing a few innocent pets the guy is awaiting criminal charges.

I may be stepping on a few toes here, but to me if you don't have the time to spend out in the woods waiting on your quarry you probably shouldn't be trying to kill it. A baited trap is incapable of making that crucial decision of what falls and what walks.

If ever the case arose, I pity the man whose trap claims my best friend.

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from philbourjaily wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

I freed my parents' King Charles spaniel from a conibear. I didn't know how to open it but stuck my hand inside to hold it a little way open and dismantled it with my Swiss Army knife.

Since then I have learned to open them as shown in the video but thankfully have never had to. Many states regulate the larger sizes and require them to be set underwater.

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from chadlove wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

Certainly don't want this to devolve into a debate over trapping. I have absolutely no issues with trapping at all, and in fact would love to see more of it. Our gamebirds need more of it.

And as others have pointed out, many states have rules about the placement and setting of conibears to avoid this very thing. And I think most trappers, like most hunters, absolutely follow the law. But you still need to know how to react if a dog of yours ever does happen to find itself in a trap, one set legally or otherwise.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

DCAST..They get NO support from me where I live. Not until their RIGHTS! are changed. This guy I quoted put his traps right along a trail where folks came down to the river, and off a parking lot next to a main paved road. And he had a perfect right to do so. But I would NEVER support his rights!!

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from denver_long wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

I would like to say I am a hunter and a trapper. I have a lab and a Brittany that I hunt with but also accompany me on the trap line. A trap can be a selective if the trapper sets it to be so. Snares are only lethal if they are set to be lethal. Trapping is just as important for controlling wildlife populations as hunting is. Hunters and trappers should work together not bad mouth each other. A trapper not following regulations isn't a trapper he is a poacher. A hunter not following the regs isn't a hunter but also a poacher. I trap on public and private property and put my name and address on the trap. Not once have I caught a dog or cat. It's not the trap it's the person who sets it.

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from larson014 wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

I dont know about other states but in my state, all snares have a stop at 4.5 in diameter making them non lethal

All of our traps have to have our name and address on them

Our foothold live restraining traps have to be checked every day...

Flagging would only make it easier for trap thieves, which we already have a huge problem with these days...

It only takes a few illegal or careless trappers to ruin it for all of us, just like in hunting and fishing; but they certainly do not represent all of us out there, and dont blanket us as being stupid or lazy, trapping even part time most people check their traps before work at like 5 am then go to work, come home and spend the rest of the night putting up their fur, trapping takes hundreds of hours every season, Please dont call us lazy, because you have no idea...

And yes this article does have good info that all dog owners should know...

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

Colateral damage is part of trapping. Has been for the last five million years. With history like that it's safe to say it is part of the "natural" scheme of things. We should be thankful that some technological developments such as killer traps set in boxes have minimized the pain and suffering and the colateral damage. I spend many days every year helping my buddy check his trapline. He and I both own dogs and sometimes take them with us. We do everything we can to ensure that the traps are ethically and safely set and checked appropriately. I am not lumping all trappers with slobs in that profession. Almost all that I have encountered are very industrious and ethical individuals. With fur prices what they are, even a good trapline will hardly pay the fuel costs to maintain it. These guys do it mostly because they need to be out there.

Up here every trapper has a quota of beaver that he MUST take from his trapline. If he doesn't get his quota, he will lose the trapline to someone who will. Redfish, the reason for that is it's critical to maintain the beaver population - and I'm sorry but that job is not going to get done with guys hunting them. Every couple of years we have a gully-washer early spring storm that takes out a couple of beaver dams which causes a couple more downstream to fail which causes all below them to fail, etc. End result is walls of water shooting down watersheds. Bridges, culverts, highways, homes, all washed away in the blink of an eye. Now, when we trap for beaver, generally ONLY beaver are taken. No dog or fisher or bobcat is going to be crawling around where those traps are set! Similarly, I have yet to see anything but otters in our otter sets. The martin boxes are the most "indiscriminate". Besides martin they take, mink, quite a few ermine (weasles), and the occassional fisher. All but the fisher are found in abundance. Oh, and the martin sets also take literally hundreds of flying squirrels. But those things are the scroungy vermin of the boreal forest. I hate to even touch them! No shortage of those critters and thinning their numbers only helps them. Our big double trap open-ended tunnel boxes set up off the ground will take fishers, bobcat, and also mink and martin.

I don't agree with leg-hold traps, even if they are checked everyday. And I certainly DO NOT agree with setting snares that ARE NOT designed to kill the animal. Any animal that winds up spending hours or days in one of those will wish it was dead by the time the trapper comes around. If it hasn't froze to death first (such a nice way to go!). An animal stuck in a box/live trap is more likely to settle down after a minute or so, preserve its energy, and stay alive till the trap is checked. And it won't be mangled if the trapper decides to release it. A snared animal, however, will likely continue to struggle until it's done for (except bobcat/lynx - they're total whimps).

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

WAM, your dogs are safe around the trapline I help work. Unless, of course, you have trained them to climb trees. As to indiscriminate killing and maiming, I am quite sure every bird that absorbed shot from you this past season hit the ground dead? Of course, not a single one flew away to die someplace else later, right? And it is okay for us to go out and blow away hundreds of gophers with fancy varmint guns but trappers who inadvertantly take out some squirrels with a simple piece of spring steel deserve the finger? The way I see it, we're all in the same glass house.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

When I was doing my first post-grad work at U of Mont back in the early 1980s we had a problem with the local dog catcher. He called my black lab out of the yard and impounded her one Sunday. He had tried to grab her the previous weekend but my four year-old daughter caught him in time for my ex to intervene. Ethyl was like a guided missile in every respect. She'd never leave the yard but like every lab, she was very sociable. Turns out animal control got a complaint about dogs in the garbage on a street about a half mile from our apartment. It was Sunday and the dog-catcher knew where he could catch a dog quick and get back home. When I went to court the jerk claimed he had caught her in the garbage. I called him a liar and said I could prove it. Said I'd go across the street and pick up the most expensive steak at Safeways, bring it back, throw it in the judge's waste basket, and we'd leave Ethyl in his chambers overnight without even feeding her an evening meal. That steak would still be in the trash can the next morning. He laughed. I said, "Wanna bet your job on that?" His gufaw was met with a similar challenge from the crusty old country judge: "Put up or shut up!" The guy was stunned. Judge challenged him a second time. He waved his hand and stormed out, Case dismissed. Now, Ethyl was an extraordinary dog. I would NEVER worry about her getting in a slob trapper's baited set. But she was extraordinary. If I happened to see any of my current dogs approaching a trap set on the ground I have no doubt I could call them back (well, the pup is just about there). Chasing deer? That is something that can be fixed with any hunting dog worth a pinch of poop. It requires exposure and persistence and maybe some heavy-handed discipline but I have never had much trouble breaking any of my dogs. Now mine usually don't even bat an eye when we kick up a deer. The labs can usually even be called off a rabbit almost immidiately but that dang Brittany pup is proving hard to break. One of the problems is it was a bad year for jack rabbits back in Montana (presumably the terrible winter took out most of them) and therefore the pup didn't get enough consistent exposure to work up a successful pattern of discipline. On the up side, the winter and subsequent blue tongue epidemic left deer carcasses EVERYWHERE and I got in tons of good training opportunities restraining them from bothering that stuff. That has likely gone a long ways towards helping minimize problems with any traps we might encounter (which is very unlikely). I would also encourage handlers to work their dogs in fields where farm animals have been disposed of for exactly the same reason. It's a pain in the butt hauling dogs off bone piles but in the end it is very productive training excersize. Another good training excercize is raising the dogs in the house where they have the run of the place including the kitchen. My dogs know they cannot get their noses anywhere close to the counter or table or garbage can. If they can learn that, I cannot see why they cannot learn to stay out of stuff in the field. The thing is they need to be trained, i.e. presented with situations in the field where meat or bait is left where they can get to it.

As far as trapping on public land: trappers pay their taxes too just like hunters. It is their land as much as it belongs to us hunters. Having said that, I will be the first to go after the source of any trap my dog gets caught in because I know it was something that could have been avoided had the trap been set properly. That slob trapper will be wearing a conibear necktie, at the very least. I also don't have any use for slob hunters on public land who shoot owls, turtles, blackbirds, or a deer in the arse. But I don't condemn all hunters because of the actions of a few. That would make it pretty hard for me to shave in the morning! Frankly, I see a lot of the trapping condemnation above from folks who really don't know much about modern trapping.

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from mutt wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

more so I think this is a case of now where your walking. the few dogs that I have heard of getting trapped have been on privet property that the dog owner doesn't own. so don't let your dog go running in some field you don't now the details about. for the trappers that are in urban or public areas that is just asking for trouble.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

Yes, under the right regulations (off the ground and in boxes), there is no excuse for a dog to be caught in a conibear trap. If your jurisdicton doesn't have any regulations, the hunters and trappers should lobby for them. It will only bode well for us ... and our pets. Usually a conibear crushes the dog's skull so the folks in the above examples should count themselves VERY lucky. As for the story in the blog, that fella just plain panicked. It happens too often. In my opinion, if a person can't figure out how to open a conibear just looking at it, then he/she probably couldn't figure out how to change a diaper. My dad's brother was like that. And it didn't help to give him instructions either. He simply did not have the aptitude to figure out how to close a cereal box. Some folks are just like that (kinda scary to think they, like my uncle, are out there operating firearms!)

Dogs in the field are always going to be at risk and any handler has to expect the unexpected. I noted the calamaties Chad listed above. I have run into most of them - and quite a few just this year alone! For those who hunt around cattle be especially aware that cows have usually just been separated from their calves about the time upland season gets underway. If you own a black lab, expect those old angus bossies will try to adopt it! A cow may be ready to run you over trying to get to your dog but don't panic and shoot her! Gad, I have seen that happen too many times! A cow will respond well to getting thumped on the head with a stick or even gunstock. And cows aren't real maneuverable - just step out of the way at the last second and whack her. If you turn and try to run away, both you and the dog are going to get stomped. The landowner will permanently not respond well to future hunters if his cattle have been shot! By the way, Pearl was run over end to end by a pickup at age 11 months. She sustained a skull fracture and was snarling and snapping at everything and everyone. Pretty scary! I hate to think what the guy above would have done. By the way, I also once managed to diffuse a situation involving my lab, my horse, and a grizzly. Any one of those ingredients could have gone haywire leading to a disaster. Stayed cool and everything worked out. Remember, all animals recognize instinctively that you are the alpha species and they look to you first to see what you're going to do.

The most important thing to be gleaned from this blog is keep your head on your shoulders when faced with a dog emergency (or any emergency), especially in the field. Your best friend is counting on you.

Thanks for bringing this to our attention, Chad!

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from Mibasshunter wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

Trapping with conibears is dangerous if you dont know what your doing. In my opinion conibears should only be used in dog proof or somewhat dogproof sets. for example- in a box set where coons can get in but dogs cant get there snout in or in a box on a tree set. other wise you could catch anything that comes along looking for a snack.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

Hal has brought up an excellent point! Snares are really scary. You'll need a leatherman or a good sturdy knife handy and be johnny on the spot or the dog is done for. And snares have to be set at head level to be effective. No boxes either. The upside is that they usually don't involve bait. A dog would only wind up in one more or less by coincidence. Snares should flat out be banned in any areas where there is bird hunting and season is open or if a suburban development is nearby.

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from ITHACASXS wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

This whole topic is, as I see it, to be prepared to help your dog if it gets caught in a trap. That people use this to trash trapping is just terrible. The huge explosion of foxes, skunks and raccoons, as well as the lack of game birds should show us how much we unknowingly benefited from the work of the now vanishing trapper. There was a time in our country when most rural folks trapped. Hunters being aware of traps is NOT a new thing, its something many have forgotten. The trapper is our unsung brother. Stand by him or lose it all someday soon.

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from jamesti wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

here's what i don't get: when a bunch of traps are set and they catch and kill an animal that they weren't supposed to, it's collateral damage. when we are hunting and shoot something we didn't intend to, it's a crime and time for the chair. trappers are not regulated as much as they should be IMO. if my dog gets caught in your trap on public land, wether it is legal for you to trap there or not, i pray that your name and address is on it so i can return it to you! i may be wrong but i feel trappers are not held to high enough standards. i also am a bit biased because i am a dog owner and not a trapper. i feel like trappers have their place in the taking of animals, just not on public land with a weapon with no soul or decision making ability. isn't there a way to put up a flag or some kind of warning to let people who are walking or working their dogs know it is there. i hardly think it would tip off the animals they are trapping. JMO.

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from Dcast wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

Sayfu, Thats unfortunate, because you may need trappers on your side some day. Another way of looking at it is the conceal carry laws. Many people have the right to carry, and many don't feel you should have the right to do so. So where do you fall? How do you justify you decision if you agree to being allowed to carry? Yes, it is the samething.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

And, by the way, I have yet to find a live animal in any of our traps. This fall I found an ermine in the trap that was still warm and trap was still swinging on its chain. I can assure you that critter was dead instantly.

Again, the point here is conibear killer traps are a very good thing, perhaps one of the best and most humane developments in the history of trapping ... AS LONG AS THEY ARE SET PROPERLY. Idiots who don't know what they are doing or don't care to do it right have no business even touching one (for one thing those traps easily have the ability to permanently mame the trapper).

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

Gees, Redfish, who said trappers were "sportsmen"? They're harvesters, much the same as berry pickers.

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from Trapper John wrote 2 years 9 weeks ago

Let me start out by saying that those who think that trapping is a "lazy" man's sport have never done it and have no idea what's involved. I lost seventeen pounds in the first three weeks of our 2010-2011 season. This year I decided to take it easy so I only lost 13 pounds.

Which is more work- sitting on a stump for hours waiting for a deer to walk by? Or carrying 40lbs of equipment 1/4 mile in to a beaver pond so I can carry it and a 50lb beaver or two back out? (And doing it a half dozen times each day.) I'm not knocking deer hunting- I enjoy it too. Just putting things in perspective.

I'll be the first to say that the dogs that were lost were tragedies. My sincere sympathy to the owners. But the actions of a few irresponsible people should not be the basis for restricting an entire group.

I have a nice peppering of 7 1/2 shot in my back and shoulder put there by a bird hunter I never saw when I was about 20 years old. (And yes- I had a hunter orange hat and vest on). When I yelled after getting hit, I heard him run off. I guess he figured if I could yell he hadn't injured me seriously. Fortunately the pellets are just under the skin and the doctor said there was no real reason to dig them out. I figure there's about 30 of them there. The reason I know they are 7 1/2s is my Dad dug a few out before he decided we'd better go to the doctor. Now is that a reason to ban bird hunting? After all, HUMANS die every year from getting shot. Others are more fortunate in that they are only injured. Some are really lucky (like me) and only get a sore shoulder and a messed up shirt and vest. Obviously not. The appropriate solution is more education and prosecution of those that break existing laws.

I've trapped for 38 seasons and have never caught a dog. I have taken close to 1000 raccoons over the years (most in bodygripping traps) so I suspect I've done a lot more for the upland bird and duck hunters than they have ever done for me. Then, of course, there are the foxes, coyotes, mink, opossums, and skunks I've also taken. With the exception of the canines, most of the others were also taken in bodygripping traps. That's changed now. With the restrictions recently placed on bodygrippers here in Michigan, I've pretty much stopped trapping raccoons (and therefore won't be taking the associated skunks and opossums). We have a daily check requirement on non-lethal sets (which I personally support). Therefore, since I can't lethally take raccoons with any reasonable effectiveness, I focus my trapping on muskrats and beaver now. Maybe the coonhound hunters will increase their take to help protect the upland birds and ducks- but I wouldn't count on it.

All sportsmen need to stick together. It's as simple as that. A bird hunter has no more right to be in the woods than a trapper. Education of both groups can reduce, and hopefully eliminate, conflicts. When bear hunting with hounds was on the ballot in Michigan in 1996, the Michigan Trappers were right there fighting along with the Michigan Bear Hunters. Because as Ben Franklin said,

"Gentlemen, if we don't hang together we shall most assuredly hang separately."

Also in Michigan, if you are not actively hunting, all dogs on public land are required by law to be on a leash. People don't follow this law, and therefore we had a bunch of additional restrictions placed on trappers. Please help me understand the logic in this.

Thanks! Be safe out there!

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from Dcast wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

Here in Ohio you are not allowed to trap on public lands. Also I want to echo Larsons comments. Hunters shouldn't be angry with trappers and vice versa. trappers have rights also and should be supported by the hunting community because one day it may be returned. This is xbow vs. bow debate! Everyone should support everyone!

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from basman wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

as stated above trapping is not hunting. in hunting a person makes the conscious decision to terminate the life of what ever it is you are hunting. trapping just catches anything that comes along and puts itself into the trap. trapping has no rational or reason just certain death. we owe it to our hunting and personal pets to police this a little bit closer. also it is ultimately the responsibility of the trapper as to where and when he sets his traps. a little common sense will go a long way.

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from hal herring wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

Almost lost my wonderful best friend pit to a cam-lock snare once- a truly ugly experience. Used to set her free from leg hold traps on a monthly basis in the winter. If there are snares around, you have to have wire cutters, and be fast with them.

You have to know how to do this: the video and this post are so valuable! Thanks, Chad, thanks!

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from mbuching wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

I believe that traps should be treated like tip ups....Have to have your name and phone number on it. Here on Kodiak, it doesn't make any sense to me that a trapper can get an unlimited number of foxes, but a hunter can only get two. Seems that the ratio is a bit off in my mind...

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from Walt Smith wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

A trapper has just as much right to set their trap line as hunters have to run their dogs. As someone said earlier it would be wise of a dog hunter to familiarize themselves with traps and snares instead of pointing a crooked finger at trappers and bad mouthing them in general. The trapper surely didn't mean to catch a hunting dog and they probably feel just as bad about it as you do. Condibears are very simple traps all you have to do is squeeze the V together and then fold the squares open. I used to set them and stick my fist through them to scare my girlfriends when I was in H.S. just don't do it with your hand flat!

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from Jeff Bowers wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

I do not consider trapping in any area where other pets, or especially children, could find them.

There is no judgement involved. And since they like to put smelly meat, etc., as bait, it is designed to attract the hungry or curious.

It is NOT a valid form of hunting at all in any civilized area. Arctic wastes? Yes.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

Ithaca, I don't see anyone trashing trapping, just bad trappers. No ethical trapper would set snares (except possibly rabbit snares) in places where there's bird hunting going on. Box/live traps on the ground or conibears off the ground and in boxes should be the rule in those situations. And any trapper worth his salt would act accordingly. It's the lazy and unknowledgeable that cause the problem. There's slob trappers just as there are slob hunters. I won't make excuses for either of them. And you shouldn't either.

Walt, it won't do the hunter with a dog much good to familiarize himself with killer traps and snares when they kill the dog outright. As I said, the hunter who finds his dog still alive in a conibear trap is very lucky indeed. If the trapper isn't setting his killer traps/snares to avoid dogs (which is easily done), then he obviously really doesn't care if a dog winds up in one. Please don't tell me how bad the poor trapper would feel who just throws a conibear with a chunk of meat on the ground and winds up killing dogs. He's just a lazy, inconsiderate SLOB. And I would gladly destroy every trap/snare I find that's a hazard (or with a rotted fur-bearing animal left stuck in it - as a trapper you better be tending your traps!). There's no excuse for that. Fortunately, up here the trapping business is heavily regulated. Any of the above offenses will cause the trapper to lose his government alloted trapline. And he won't be getting it back either. I did turn a trapper in for not tending his traps, he was evicted, and the trapper's cabin burned down (cabins are authorized at the pleasure of the crown on crown land). The guy had a drinking problem. This is rare, however. Traplines are like liquor licenses up here. Too valuable to abuse.

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from dogwood wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

Chad,
Thanks for publishing this. I have spread it around to as many places I know.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

DCAST I have never been of that pursuation on ANYTHING! I know my sense of morals, ethics, principles, and I don't EVER want a bunch of folks I don't see eye to eye with as having to be on my side...fishing, hunting, or how to raise one's kids. BS to your big melting pot thinking. The pot stinks when I have to include trappers. It's the rotten apple theory for me on that one.

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from jamesti wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

OHH, your defense of collateral damage doesn't fly. my dog deserves to be on our hunting grounds as much as anyone else when we are hunting public land! trust me, if he gets caught in a trap of ANY kind, that trapper best not be of this earth or i will be going to see him!
walt, dogs are attracted to certain smells. it's their nature, not their fault.

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from dogwood wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

“one of the beagles started running a deer its owner shot the dog dead. He said that if the dog won't hunt rabbits and leave deer alone it wasn't worth having. At first I thought he was crazy but then I seen what he meant, once his dog started it would never be broke from it.”
Your first impression was the correct impression.
“If "dogs are attracted to certain smells, it’s their nature, not their fault" then why is it the trappers fault? Is it because its easier to blame them than your dog or how you trained it???”
Dogs can and have been trained not to chase deer, far easier than they can be trained not to eat.
Fortunately where I hunt, trapping is not allowed on WMA’s and other areas where I would take my dog.

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from birddemon wrote 2 years 9 weeks ago

Enough with the arguing please. Most of you live in states that have regulations on the conibear traps. Whether they have to be set 4" off the ground, set only in water, in boxes that have small openings or are banned outright. I live in MN, we've had 6 dogs killed since the fall in these traps. As previous posters have stated, if your dog isn't killed instantly, you MIGHT be able to save your dog. Only if you're close by. I have experimented with one, they're not as easy as people say to release, especially if your dog is struggling and you are panicked. MN grouse season starts mid Sept, trapping season starts Oct 20th. That means we hunt hard for one month and sit the next two and half months out. The small towns up north receive not a penny from us those months because I will not risk my dogs. I always took this as something I had to accept but thru researching other states regs on conibear traps, I have found that other states have found compromise between bird hunters and trappers. this is all most of us want. If you want to help MN dog owners and bird hunters please sign the petition at
http://signon.org/sign/safe-public-lands?source=c.em.mt&r_by=1905165
To ban GROUND SETS of the conibear, most of your states have this reg. The petition was started by a trapper who's dog was killed by another trapper's ground set conibear trap. Thanks for listening and just remember, if you're in MN grouse hunting in late Oct the traps are there too

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from jamesti wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

it has nothing to do with the dog's training. dogs are going to smell meat and they WILL investigate it. my dog is very well trained but he is not always in my sight while hunting. he does not chase deer, but meat is another thing. he will want to know what it is and will go find it. if it is in your trap, there will be repercussions. i hunt mostly public lands, a place where traps don't need to be. keep them on your own land or your buddie's land!

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

Here, I'll tell you what; the mofo that sets a trap and catches my dawg like this one did better hope his soul is in God's hands because I will arrange the meeting. Trappers aren't sportsmen. They are a bunch of sadistic skunks that kill and maim non-targeted species all the time. This middle finger is for you! mlm

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from Walt Smith wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

I can remember when I was a teenager rabbit hunting with some family friends and their dogs when one of the beagles started running a deer its owner shot the dog dead. He said that if the dog won't hunt rabbits and leave deer alone it wasn't worth having. At first I thought he was crazy but then I seen what he meant, once his dog started it would never be broke from it. So if your bird dog is hunting for birds in fox dens and muskrat holes and more worried about finding some stinky bait you might not have a well trained bird dog in the first place.

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from Walt Smith wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

If "dogs are attracted to certain smells, its their nature, not their fault" then why is it the trappers fault? Is it because its easier to blame them than your dog or how you trained it???

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from redfishunter wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

Larson....I see you call trapping "passive hunting." If you consider trapping hunting, then you need to read the definition of hunting. It is not. It is a lazy man's "hunting" if anything. If a trapper ever caught my dog I don't know if I'd just straight up shoot him or if I'd put his d**k in the trap and leave him for dead. Either way, trapping is not hunting, nor is there any sport involved.

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from redfishunter wrote 2 years 10 weeks ago

Ontario...I hate to tell you that you are wrong but I am bashing trappers. Legal or Not. They are not sportsmen. A sportsman seeks to put his game down as quickly and as painless as possible. And is selective about what game it puts down. I personally believe trappers are going to have to answer to what they do at the gates of heaven.

And Dcast, you can't possibly compare trapping to concealed carry. I carry a concealed weapon, and you are right, many people feel I shouldn't (damn hippies). The difference is, I'm in complete control of my weapon and decide when to use it and what to use it on. Trappers have no control.

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