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Thread: Do Dog Owners Trump Trappers?

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    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Default Do Dog Owners Trump Trappers?

    I'm sure some of you have seen the articles in ADN about wolverine trapping in Chugach State Park. The state (ADF&G) opposed the proposal partially due to conflicts with dog owners in the areas the proposal would open up. Conflict between dog owners and trappers is commen in many areas of Alaska, and all over this country.
    My question is: Are dog owners the preferred user? Should trappers always back off, or never go, where dog use is present. Do dog owners have more right to the use of Alaska's country side?
    One big question in my mind is: Should the state give preferrance to one user group over another?
    I think the states testimony at the BoG meeting sets a dangerous precedent for trappers. If trapping shouldn't be allowed in the back country of Chugach park,because of dog conflicts, why should it be allowed in other areas. Why not a trapping ban within 1 mile of all state maintained roads? How about "regularly" used trails?
    I also think it is a mistake for the state to encourage, thru preferred user status, dog use in the back country. There are tales of dogs harassing wildlife in parts of this state. Dogs carry diseases and parasites that are transferrable to wildlife. I've seen wild dogs living in and around village dumps. In my mind, if any user group needs more regulation to use our wild areas, it's dog owners.
    Anyway, what's your folks take on the subject?
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    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    I think it might be smart to put some signs on local trailheads in trapping areas explaining when the trapping season is and even some trap marking requirements. I think quite a few states have rules that say that traplines must be marked at the trailhead and I totally agree with that notion in urban areas really trappers need to do their best to minimize their impacts on non trappers this includes giving them heads up so they can keep their dogs out of coyote sets.

    Clearly people who don't have very well trained dogs shouldn't take them into areas open to trapping unless on a leash.

    Also everyone is very misinformed about trapping in CSP where it is not open pretty much anywhere that dog owners go in midwinter.
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  3. #3
    Mark
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    Quote Originally Posted by ak_powder_monkey View Post
    I think it might be smart to put some signs on local trailheads in trapping areas explaining when the trapping season is and even some trap marking requirements. I think quite a few states have rules that say that traplines must be marked at the trailhead and I totally agree with that notion in urban areas really trappers need to do their best to minimize their impacts on non trappers this includes giving them heads up so they can keep their dogs out of coyote sets.
    I agree. Bear baiters are required to put up warning signage. This wouldn't be difficult for trappers in areas where people walk their dogs.

    As a sidenote, dogs are legally required to be leashed. Even though it is widely ignored, this general requirement isn't likely to go away because unrestrained dogs are a liability in many ways. So, in the end, if a dog gets in a trap, the dog was unrestrained.

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default No, dog owners don't trump trappers...

    ...but trappers need to better educate the public about things. I've posted this link before Mike:
    http://www.wc.adfg.state.ak.us/index...rticles_id=195

    I think in areas where trappers and pet owners coexist that trappers should make a point to have a public meeting and show this video that Buist narrates. Rather than allow bad feelings to arise, and skew the perception and validity of trapping, trappers should seek to educate the public.

    Not all places have leash laws, either, far as I know. Certainly we know pet owners often don't obey leash laws, but when a dog gets caught in a trap the public is more likely to blame the trapper than the pet owner. Regardless, when pets get caught, it is bad for trapping, and we should try to help the public avoid such a thing if possible, to include the marking of some traplines.

    Hey Mike, you asked if the state should give preference to one user group over another. You tell me, should the state give preference to hunters and trappers over wildlife viewers? Hmmm. Seems like we already do that. You saying you have a problem with it <grin>?

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    Member AKMarmot's Avatar
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    Default apples to oranges

    MT,
    Here is the issues I have with your post. I don't think dog owners are getting prefered treatment. One thought on not opening the park to trapping is because there are only a small number of wolverines to be trapped to start with.

    When you talk about wild dogs these arent' the ones getting people to speak out against trappers. In fact most wild dogs if they are truly that, are usually shot. I know a few years back on the K.P. there were a lot of complaints these harrasing moose & I know of troppers that would be called to dispatch the dogs. I don't think anyone has a problem with this, but were not talking about wild dogs here.

    "Why not a trapping ban within 1 mile of all state maintained roads?"
    Good idea, I don't have a problem with that in some areas but not state wide. Unfortunatley common sense must come into play. Down here in South central where the population base is much higher it wouldnt' be a bad thing to move things a mile off the road. Besides trappers just like hunters can usually find more sucess if they get away from the heavly trafficed areas. However it can be harder work & we all get lazy at times. It can be much easeier to check a set by a culvert that goes under the highway than to get off the road a mile.

    "How about "regularly" used trails?"
    If we can't hunt there should we trap there? I know someone who took a moose in a wolf trap that was put to in a less than ideal location. If its a regulary used trail by the public why not be courteous enough to post warining signs, or find a different areas. If its used by hikers, skiers, & the like you know some will have dogs that go with them.
    Its pretty hard to hike up a trail like falls creek with your dog on a leash, or ski down backcountry hill, or hunt ptarmigan & snowshoe hares with the trained dog leashed so should they be forced to leave the dog at home?

    "In my mind, if any user group needs more regulation to use our wild areas, it's dog owners"
    Hmmm very interesting.... why would this be ? Not all places have leash laws. Infact the muni of Anchorage law states the animal must be in control at all times & lists 5 types of control... this being one of them. Control by command means to control an animal by visual or audible commands, or a combination thereof, to which the animal responds promptly and accurately.
    I know a lot of people with dogs that listen & behave better than other peoples kids. So why wage war with the dog owners. Just like any other group there are good & bad. However, if we can't all get along both will probably loose in the long run.

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    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Bushrat, I can see the benefit of signs in certain places announcing trapping MAY take place. Signs saying trapping IS taking place invite mischief from anti trappers. Maybe the state should periodically take out ads in the paper reminding folks trapping season is open.
    I seriously doubt a public meeting would be of much good. It's hard enough to get trappers to attend meetings. Getting non trappers to one seems unlikely, at least in any number that would do good.
    As to the preferance issue, I disagree the state gives preferance to hunters and trappers over wildlife viewers. Hunters and trappers must purchase a license and only operate during open seasons. Wildlife viewers pay nothing and are free to pursue their activity year round. I'm not talking about the BoG process which many think is skewed towards consumptive users, tho they are the ones who pay for the largest share of management.

    Marmot: I see the words "get along" to mean each side giving in a little. Since trappers only operate during legal seasons, and dogs are allowed anywhere, year round, what do you see that dog owners are "giving" in order to "get along"
    My point about wild dogs concerns poor pet owners who abandon, or take poor care of and are the cause of wild domestics. These same poor pet owners are often the owners of dogs caught in traps.
    If we allow trapping bans along roads and trails, some places will be heavily off limits to trappers due to the large number of roads and trails. Should we trap if we can't hunt? Most definately. Hunting involves danerous weapons that can kill at a distance. Trapping involves tools that are of no danger to humans.
    If dogs were always under control of the owner, as the example from the Anch muni laws you provided, we wouldn't need to have this discussion.

    At no time in this state, that I am aware of, have any trappers asked for a "no dog" season. No where in this state have trappers said, "no dogs allowed". We merely wish to be recognized as a legitimate user of this states lands, and given the same respect any other user should have. We are only present, in most cases, for 3 to 4 months a year.

    As to the number of wolverine in the park, the state used a 12 year old aerial tracking survey, done in an area that is mostly, either forested, or steeply mountainous. What was in truth, just a rough estimate of wolverine numbers in unit 14C, was offered as hard fact.
    The only, let me repeat, ONLY, hard facts this state has on ANY wolverine population in this state is harvest data from trappers and hunters. Even that is not good enough to be used as a basis for support or opposition to any proposal.
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    MT, great post, great reply.

    You can clearly see that the testimony by ADF&G on the wolverine population has everyone fooled.

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Mike, good point on signage/markers inviting mischief from antis. Don't want to belabor the point, but I don't think ATA really spent 7 grand for nothing. I know your mind was likely already made up prior to asking about this, but I agree with what ATA had to say:
    We want to be proactive and constructive about this...The video grew out of trapping-awareness seminars the ATA has delivered in various Alaska communities. As time progressed, it became apparent that more outreach was needed.

    It's a bit foolhardy imo to just write off public meetings or being proactive.

    As to the other stuff, preference and all that, no sense going into that here. On another note, your explanation about what (if any) reliable wolverine data we had is similar to the arguments I make about other ADFG data. We agree! We can't use rough estimates to make decisions about any proposals.
    Take it easy, enjoyed your walrus hunt story and envy you that experience. Must've really been something.

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    Default use it.

    I think that trapping and Dogs can get along. I think a sign saying Trapping is going on Right HERE (with an x) would't be good as people would disarm or ruin the trap. But a notice at the trailhead that trapping occurs here would be great. In remote areas or anywhere Bears could be shouldn't dogs be on a leash? (unless they are truly voice trained. Many people THINK that thier dog is but in reality it isn't) I know some dogs that won't go more than 20 foot from the owner. others that will run about a quarter of a mile away from the owner. I think if a trap is legally set, and a dog gets into it then the dog owner is at fault. Kinda like if a dog runs in front of your car.

    Also (I'm not a trapper) wasn't the main reason the CSP was opened for wolverines was because occasionaly they would be killed in a trap and the trapper had to waste it as they couldn't legally retain it? I doubt anyone is going to try to target these animals as they are to hard to catch/trap/kill/see.

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    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Bushrat, I'm not at all against being proactive. It is definately in our(trappers) best interest. However, the methods and means we use to be proactive should be accomplished in a manner to give us the most bang for our buck. If you lived somewhere that had public meetings, maybe you'd understand my sentiment on them better. I'm all for passing out ATA's DVD on sharing the trails. I just think there are better ways to get it out than a voluntarily attended meeting.
    If trappers have to be proactive, without any support from the state, we are in big trouble. If the state takes the attitude that trappers should back off where dogs appear, we have very little future.

    We do not agree on ADF&G data, Mark. Moose, wolf, bear surveys are far different than a wolverine track survey. Especially a 12 year old track survey. If F&G came to the AC that I sit on, with a 12 year old moose survey, and used it to justify or protest, any sort of change to hunting regs, I'm quite sure they would be roundly criticised. I don't think the F&G people in the Nome office would even consider using 12 year old data to support or not support any proposal before the BoG.
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    Member AKMarmot's Avatar
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    MT,
    I completely agree with you that they don't have even close to enough data to support or oppose trapping them in CSP. That is why I think the dog thing was just thrown out there to support & come up with longer list of reasons to keep it closed. At the same time there is not enough data to open it yet.
    Back to the dogs, the point about pets abandoned & turned wild is a societal issue. We both know there are people who don't take the responsibility to take proper care of animals. The same can be said for having to many kids when they don't get proper care.
    However, you brought up the issues of dogs owners being a user group having to many rights over other groups.
    How would you determine equality? A lot has to do with majority of users? Because of this there will always be a specific group getting preferential treatment over another group; the minority will always feel slighted.
    For example you say trapping has no danger to humans. Under the trapping laws/lics. can't you shoot the animal if you have a gun with even if it's not currently in the trap? Don't you usually shoot an animal in a leg hold?
    Why can't I hunt these areas with an air rifle, or a recurve bow? Used correctly these also would not cause danger to others.
    I understand your legitimate complaint of trappers wanting to be recognized, but how do you to create more positive awareness & support? Accidentally killing a dog & saying it deserved it because it was off a leash doesn't help the cause.
    There are a lot of trails in the Anchorage area that are winter time "ski only" trails, no dogs allowed. Other areas are closed to dogs during waterfowl nesting seaons. There are others who greatly oppose the "dog parks" because of over use. So here are a couple examples of dog owners being pushed to go elsewhere.
    Now if there were productive areas that are known to be heavily used for trapping during the season, I would have no problem staying out of them.
    Infact like others have stated general signs posted at a trailhead or parking area stating this area is frequently used by trappers would cause me to steer clear & I know a lot of other dog owners that would as well. The only question is how wide spread would this become. If this started happening at a lot of the popular trail heads I can see where frustrations would mount quickly. Like Bushrat said the two can coexist its just going to take some work. And being a small group present only 3-4 months a year make it hard to justify equal usage in some areas when compared to a lot larger group that is present year round.
    Possibly being a half mile off state maintained roads idea in "populated" areas might help with the general public. Look at the haul road bou hunt, a lot of people both hunters & nonhunters were happier when the 1/4 mile restriction was in place. Honestly with as big as the state is & the small amount of state roads this wouldn't that detrimental.
    Last edited by AKMarmot; 04-17-2007 at 23:11. Reason: in a hurry

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    New member AKDSLDOG's Avatar
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    My view, and it may be wrong, but, this is the way I see it. Leash law say's it all, dog gets nailed, sorry, the owner broke the law. If the speed limit is 65mph and you get pulled over for 75mph, do you deserve a ticket?

    Enough said.

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    Having your dog on a leash all the time is not just a quick and easy fix. It all boils down to common sense. Part of the reason I moved away from the lesser 48 is that everywhere you go you have to have you dog on a leash or it is not welcome at all down there. I am a dog lover, so I take my dogs everywhere I go (for the most part). So I love the fact that AK is a dog friendly state. I also have the utmost respect for trappers. I also know where typical trapping areas are, and when I know traps are set I just don't go there. If I do it's my own responsibility to take care of my dog (weather it be on a leash or not). It would be nice if there was a sign saying there was a trap line close by. In fact around most of the trails around Fairbanks the trappers let us know. This provides two things, if there is a trap in the area it allows me to steer clear so that I don't disturb the trap and if I have my dogs with me I go the other way. Pretty simple imo. I have sympathy for the fact that there are antis out there that will do bad things, and this is against the law so they should be dealt with accordingly. I think its a much larger injustice to mess with someone else's property (ie traps) than it is to let fido sniff around without a string attached to his neck. Again it all boils down to common sense.

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    Member AKMarmot's Avatar
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    Default akdsldog

    Not all areas have leash laws.
    What about the guys that have beagles to run rabbits in knick river area. What about hunting upland game birds with pointers or flushers?

  15. #15

    Default Dogs wil win this HAND

    While I don't really agree with the system and the restrictions that are sometimes placed on non-deserveing partys, the dogs will win this arguement. Read the national statistics there are more and more dog owners everyday. They spend billions of dollars each year on pet food and care. Trapping in AK doesn't generate near the income dog food sales do. There are as many if not more mushers in AK than there are trappers, then add all the other dog and cat owners and sheer numbers will win. If it comes BoG meeting trappers wouldn't be able to muster enough support to over throw a "DOGGIE COUPE" by non-trappers, nor would this not pass a vote on a public referendum; A little bad press will excite far more pet fanciers and bunny huggers than trappers.
    So, while I believe that dog owners should be responsable and control their animals; trappers in the near future will exist at the by-your-leave of
    pet owners (in highly populated areas). So the basics are we as trappers have to try to peacefully co-exist with pet owners if we intend to continue to exist at all.
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    I have seen signs around here marking traplines. I think it may be required in the Borough?? Not sure, anyway sign or no sign......

    As a dog owner and one who does NOT trap I say it is the dog owners responsibility to take care of his dog! Period, anywhere and everywhere, all the time! In town or in the woods.

    In the Fairbanks Northstar Borough there is a leash law. Actually I think it's something like the dog needs to be under the owners control. Anyway... If my dog gets caught in a trap in the Borough it's my fault. My dog was not under my control. If he was it wouldn't have happened.

    Whether I am in the Borough or not, if I choose to take my dog in the woods and choose to let him run loose or hunt birds or whatever, whatever happens to him be it getting caught in a trap, stomped by a moose, shot while being mistaken as a wolf, falling off a cliff, drowning in the river, etc. It's MY responsibility. He only goes where I allow him to go.

    UNLESS, traps are set illegaly. If a trapper is trapping legally it's not his fault if my dog gets in his trap. It's my fault, the dog owners fault. Anytime you cut a dog loose in the woods there is a potential for the dog to be injured or killed. I have hunted with dogs all my life and this to me is just plain common sense and good dog ownership.

    Keep on trapping and hopefully dog owners will take care of thier dogs like we should.

    Perry

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    New member AKDSLDOG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKMarmot View Post
    Not all areas have leash laws.
    What about the guys that have beagles to run rabbits in knick river area. What about hunting upland game birds with pointers or flushers?
    I can see your point there. What I should of said is, a trapper is not going to set a line in a well populated hiking trail, he will move of the main trail to keep his/her line secure (hopefully). Hopefully far enough that people/dogs will not be harmed. But, there is allways that one time. If you mark a trap line and the wrong person see's the sign, it's just a invite to trash the sets, seen/heard this many times. A guy wrote a letter to the ADN about how he set a wolverine free from a trap on the hillside back in the 70's, the way he wrote it was like he was a god in setting said animal free. What I see is he broke the law and depending on the animals leg injury, the wolverine could have (not likely) but could have died due to not being able to catch game for food, and hence he really did nothing good at all. Trappers need to be responsible and so do dog owners, plain and simple.

  18. #18
    Member AKMarmot's Avatar
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    Default agreed 100%

    AKDSL
    I fully agree, people caught interfering with a trap line, not matter what the degree should be treated no differently than someone breaking into your house & stealing or defacing property. I also don't think in the sceniro you described that it would be anyones fault if the trap line is not in the immediate vicinity of a trail head or well populated hiking area. People keeping talking about faut, its not about trying to blame anyone. Its not the dogs fault & its not the trappers fault. Its an accident, no different than people hitting a moose with their car when the mosse is crossing the hwy. However in a high moose crossing area signs are put up so people can take precautions & be warned to slow down. The same could be done with trapping popular areas. ( Now if a set is purposely placed in a heavy traffic area then of course people will want to blame someone. No different then a driver ignoring a warning sign & speeding through a posted zone.)
    The issue seems to be more with anti trapping folks searching out & possibly destroying sets anywhere sings are posted. It seems to me then we need to work together within the hunting / trapping community & with any local enforcement more to stop this behavior rather than split up between dog owners & tappers & say one group has unfair preferences.
    I don't know the best way but would do my part to try & help & I know a lot of other responsible dog owners would as well.

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    Default Trapping and dogs

    Personnaly I think the trapping for wolverines in Chugach State Park is stupid, there are to few and it is just bad press. I think everyone has a responsibility to control there dogs but, my hunting dogs as most will get on a scent and track it. If its thick I can see 25 to 100 feet, and my dogs will be on the traps before I could have a chance to react. This area is to close to town and has to many hikers and in the long run one incident will hurt all hunters and trappers, when the first greenie's poodle gets caught in a trap, can you say national news. I personnally loves my dogs, but would consider the odds of it actually happening very unlikely and press on if happened. Just my 2 cents

    Terry

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    New member AKDSLDOG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry View Post
    Personnaly I think the trapping for wolverines in Chugach State Park is stupid, there are to few.
    Terry
    A couple of questions.

    1. why do you think it is stupid?

    2. Do you have scientific proof of a low population in the area?

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