With trapping seasons underway in Oregon, dog owners need to be aware that there could be traps in areas where they are hiking with their dogs.
Dogs running loose have accidentally been captured in legally set traps, causing injury or even death to the dog.
Oregon’s Furbearer Trapping and Hunting Regulations set restrictions on where trappers may set traps and snares on state and federal lands. Traps may not be set within 50 feet of any designated public trail or within 300 feet of any designated trailhead, public campground or picnic area. Also, killing traps with a jaw spread between 7.5 and 9 inches set on public land cannot be placed more than 50 feet from a permanent or seasonal water source.
Dog owners share in the responsibility to keep their pets safe during trapping seasons. They can take the following steps to help keep their dogs safe:
• Keep dogs on a leash.
• Or, keep dogs in sight and under voice command—don’t let your dog wander off, especially out of sight.
• Remember lures and baits used by trappers can attract dogs too (another reason to keep your dog under your control).
• Be mindful of where and when trapping activities may occur—on public lands and on private lands by permission. Most trapping seasons and activities occur during the winter because pelts are in prime condition at this time.
• Carry the appropriate tools (wire cutter and length of rope) and know how to use them to release dogs from a trap.
Traps set for coyotes, bobcats and raccoons are the types of sets most likely to inadvertently capture a dog.
The organization UtahPAWS has tips on how to release pets from traps on their website.
It is illegal to disturb or remove the traps or snares of another person. Individuals that see traps they believe are illegally set should not disturb the trap, but contact Oregon State Police. OSP can identify the owner of a legally set trap through a unique branding number required on each trap.
Most trapping seasons opened Nov. 15 or Dec. 1 and end Feb. 28 or March 31. A few seasons are open the entire year, but winter is the most popular time to trap.
For more information, call the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife at (503) 947-6022.