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Thread: Need to borrow a trapper with a conibear for a photo in Kenai

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Default Need to borrow a trapper with a conibear for a photo in Kenai

    Looking for a trapper in the Soldotna/Kenai area who I can meet with next week to go over the process for releasing a conibear trap. I'm writing an article for our club newsletter (GeocacheAlaska!) and I'd like some good detail photos of using a dog leash to free these types of traps in the event that a hiker gets a dog caught in one. The photos I've been able to find online are of poor quality, so I figured I'd just take my own if I can find a trap to use for a few minutes. Rather than muddling through figuring out the best technique myself, I'd really like to have someone who is intimately familiar with traps show me the ropes.

    Also, there is a segment of the folks involved in the hiking sports who just do not understand trapping or the rules about where traplines can be placed. I intend to try and clear that up a little bit (realize this is a newsletter article with a readership of a couple hundred - we're not changing the world). My intent is to talk about recognition of a trap or trapline for avoidance purposes, an emphasis on "do not touch" respect for a trapline (noting that it is illegal to mess with a trap), as well as what to do if a pet is caught in a trap.

    Any other thoughts from the group on information that you would want shared with hikers and skiers who are using the same chunk of wilderness as you?

    Thanks in advance.

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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Sounds like a great project. Best of luck.

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    The first thing to be aware of is that there is no "quick" way to release a pet caught in a coniber. The method to employ (using a leash would be: 1. Put toe of boot through the hand loop (if loop is too small for toe, make a larger loop by running hook end through hand loop to create larger loop for toe. 2. Run hook end of leash up through both spring holes (on same side of trap), going from bottom to top (as trap is oriented), then run leash hook end around & up through the bottom to top spring loops again. 3. With foot holding hand loop end of leash, pull hook end upward (to compress spring). 4. Attach spring keeper over spring. 5. Now repeat steps 1-4 on other spring.
    Its good knowledge to pass along to your friends, but (IMO) may be an exercise in frustration. I'd expect a small to medimum sized dog that's caught on its throat to have a crushed windpipe (at the best). A big dog may fare better. Another idea may be to get ahold of a 330 coniber - do whatever you have to do to weaken or disable the springs and have your friends (fellow club members) bring their dogs to a training session. Set up the weakened trap with some appropiate bait and have the dogs introduced to it one at a time. I would imagine that a dog caught once would remember it for a while. That's what I'd do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gary View Post
    another idea may be to get ahold of a 330 coniber - do whatever you have to do to weaken or disable the springs and have your friends (fellow club members) bring their dogs to a training session. Set up the weakened trap with some appropiate bait and have the dogs introduced to it one at a time. I would imagine that a dog caught once would remember it for a while. That's what i'd do.
    Whoa! Do not try to have a dog go into any 330!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by extrema View Post
    Whoa! Do not try to have a dog go into any 330!!
    You obviously didn't read the part about "weakening or disabeling" the springs.
    You're right - I don't want to kill ANY dog, but still feel that trap proofing a dog would work better than trying to get a full strength conni off a trapped dog. You don't want the springs to have any more power than to snap shut. You want to be able to compress the springs with one hand - I'd cut one spring off altogether and just use one (very) weak spring. You do want to scare the crap out of the dog and make it very leery of going near a baited trap. I might even start with a baited 110 (with the spring having no more power than to spring shut). Let it snap shut on the dog's muzzle, then see if it will go near a baited 330.
    Check it with your hand, before using it on a dog - If it breaks a finger, its got too much "snap" to it, yet.

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary View Post
    Let it snap shut on the dog's muzzle, then see if it will go near a baited 330.
    Check it with your hand, before using it on a dog - If it breaks a finger, its got too much "snap" to it, yet.
    Brilliant! My boss had to come in and see why I was laughing so hard.

    It is a very interesting idea you have there. I'll have to look around and see if I can get an old conibear to modify in such a manner.

    My questions...

    What size is a conibear that has an opening of "no more than 7 inches" as specified in the regs for Chugach State Park? This is the region of the highest concern to the members I've talked to. I don't see too many hikers with chihuahua's, so we're generally talking full sized dogs like labs and such. A 7-inch trap might grab a nose or a foot, but not be a "kill" as you'd have with traps intended for other canis.

    I've had a couple members claim that they've run into traps set right next to major trials in the CSP around Indian and such. The regs seem to indicate this is illegal. So my gut says that if someone is at least vaguely familiar with the regs and sees a possibly illegal set, they should just call the game violation reporting number at ADF&G with the location to report it. Then let the the authorities investigate and work it out. A key point being, even if they think it is illegal, they still should not touch the set. Note that all of our members carry GPS (it's part of the game) and would be able to mark and report the exact location of anything they find.

    Now, something for the trappers to note about Geocachers... we are good at looking for hidden objects. That's the nature of our game. So, while you might have the majority of trail users just fly by with their noses in the air, you can be certain that someone who is geocaching is constantly looking around at the details. They can spot a 1-inch long camouflaged pill capsule hanging on the branch of a tree from across the clearing. If you happen to have a trap set and a geocache within 50 feet of each other, your trap is going to be found by geocachers as they arrive to search for the geocache. If you have a side trail through the snow that you use to get off a main trail to access your line, and there is a geocache nearby, our folks are going to use your trail thinking it leads to the geocache.

    My reason for putting this together for our December newsletter is due to one member who kinda freaked out when told that trapping season is starting. The reaction and then shared concerns coming from other members (several of whom are clearly anti-trapping minded individuals) made me realize that the whole club needs to have some real-world info about traps and some general idea of where and how trapping takes place. I may take this a step further and try to arrange for some hands-on trap opening demonstrations at one of our monthly meetings down the road.

    I also watched that video the ATA put out. Got some good ideas out of that including the makeshift trap setter. Though the video showed the wiring together of a couple sticks, my first thought was to take your 2 ski poles, place the hand loops over the handle of the other pole to form the hinge point, and then use the poles to compress the spring. The question is whether a typical glass or aluminum ski pole can apply enough side force to compress the trap spring without breaking or bending the ski pole. Would take some field testing to sort that one out.

    I have a PM from a trapper in Kenai who is willing to hook me up with the photo op, so that piece may be taken care of and is much appreciated.
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    Member dkwarthog's Avatar
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    Here is a link to a demonstration I did a couple of years ago at a musher symposium. If I was closer I'd stop by and see you.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVTyT...e_gdata_player

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    JOAT, i doubt sticks (as in the video) or your ski poles would open a 220 or 330, which is what I worry about MY dogs getting into. A 110, 120 or 160 it may work on, but it wouldn't be my first choice, those should be fairly easy to handle with a leash and their going to be on paws or a nose which may be ugly, but not fatal. A good pair of wire cutters, compound cutters are best, always accompany me and my dogs on hikes during trapping season, most of the year actually.

    If your other contact doesn't work out I have some 110s that would work for your photos.

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    Quote Originally Posted by limon32 View Post
    JOAT, i doubt sticks (as in the video) or your ski poles would open a 220 or 330, which is what I worry about MY dogs getting into. A 110, 120 or 160 it may work on, but it wouldn't be my first choice, those should be fairly easy to handle with a leash and their going to be on paws or a nose which may be ugly, but not fatal. A good pair of wire cutters, compound cutters are best, always accompany me and my dogs on hikes during trapping season, most of the year actually.
    .
    Agree completely. The smaller traps mentioned are also in the 7" catagory. 110's also have the advantage of only having one spring.
    My thoughts on "trap proofing" are similar to what I read years ago regarding hunters that "snake proofed" their dogs by wiring shut the jaws on their pet rattler, hiding it under a bush, then working the dog into it. The snake scent is (apppearently) attractive to dogs. The dog gets close & the snake strikes, usually hitting the dog in the face. A few experinces usually cured the dog(s) of wanting to get close to snakes.

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    Good luck on your story.. I remember having my friend run my trapline with me years ago.. I heated up a #2 longspring to the point where it was just enough to snap loosely. i baited it in the yard with the same bait i was using on the line...only took one time and would not come within 10ft of any set after that..unless of course there was something in it..

    It would almost take a seminar at your GeocacheAlaska level to educate all dogs or parties interested in this. Seems like a great way to educate the people and dogs..although the set is going to determine that..some will be blind sets, leg holds, conibers, snares etc...might end up being a lengthy process. Possible..but extensive. Thanks for doing it though..never heard of an article like this. Good awareness is key. I also agree with the smaller dog under the size of a lab is probably going to die or at least have his trachea crushed if caught straight on. Have not heard many stories of guys out walking and had their dogs caught..but sure it happens in Alaska more than we think. Most trappers try to get away from common used areas. Trapper ethics plays a big part in this as well.
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    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...ote-quot/page2

    See post # 23 - 2nd photo. It might be something you'd want to include in your seminar. A final demonstration of the coniber style trap.
    I really don't see any dog walking away from being caught in a large coniber (I have no idea what size trap is in the photo - evidently quite a bit larger than a 330). Even if you were standing next to it when the trap was sprung & had a large bolt cutter in hand, it would probably be too late.

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    It is going to totally depend on where the dog gets caught, snout/head versus neck/chest. Also the quality of the trap. Those belisles are super stout and have the extra bends in them to make them rigid and very tight closing. The duke traps are alot weaker. I wouldnt say that a dog caught in a 330 is a lost cause. Plenty of dogs have lived after being released from conibears.

    I also wouldnt recommend showing that photo to people who are anti trapping. You will not make any friends or sway them in the least. I probably shouldnt have even posted it. But you have to admit that was one heck of a quick, humane kill. That yote hardly even struggle, never even made it out of the cubby.

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Just to clarify, we're not doing a "seminar" at this point. Strictly a newsletter article with photos.

    And no, there is no way I'll be including any photos of animals in traps. For the audience we're talking about, that would detract from the overall point.

    As to releasing a dog, we're going into this with the assumption that it is a large breed dog and a 7" trap (the max size allowed in Chugach State Park). Obvious fatalities are just that (but they are still going to want to get the body out, aren't they?).
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    It is not as likely that a large dog will get its entire head in a 7x7 conibear. That is a 220 size trap. Not saying its doesnt happen but maybe not as likely as with a 330 which is 10x10.

    Maybe the trap snaps across its muzzle or it sticks a front leg thru and gets caught which are probably not fatal strikes. Just knowing how to release a conibear is the important thing I think, doesnt matter what size trap, because they all work the same.

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    Joat,
    Usually falls on deaf ears, but you might want to remind folks in your article, that there are leash laws (at least in the Mat-Su Borough), which may be especially important during trapping seasons. JMO!

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    Something to think about . Most 220 conis are 7x7 not sure if that would make them legal or not but a fox and even coyote can get into them without a problem
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    Joat,
    Usually falls on deaf ears, but you might want to remind folks in your article, that there are leash laws (at least in the Mat-Su Borough), which may be especially important during trapping seasons. JMO!

    Took the words right out of my mouth!!! knowing how is a good thing, needing it is an entirely different issue!

    a 7" trap could easily grab some peoples smaller breeds or adolescents....but again if they're leashed this class wouldnt be needed!

    Thanks for the video DK, that loop method is much easier than the one I'm messing with (an old pull cord from a ice auger with handle, though the handle is nice, the rope leaves something to be desired).

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    Newsletter published today if anyone is interested in seeing the results. Starts on page 6 of the January 2013 edition.

    http://www.geocachealaska.org/newsletters.htm
    Winter is Coming...

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    Quote Originally Posted by JOAT View Post
    Newsletter published today if anyone is interested in seeing the results. Starts on page 6 of the January 2013 edition.

    http://www.geocachealaska.org/newsletters.htm
    Very nice write-up. It would be nice if there was some way to get the info to all dog owners, who walk their dogs off-leash.

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    Well written, even-handed write-up. Good job JOAT.

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