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Thread: Gun Dogs and Traplines

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    Member Armymark's Avatar
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    Default Gun Dogs and Traplines

    So I'll have a new pup here soon and it will be the first gundog in many years. I have been trying to get out as much as possible as I know with a 9 week old pup I'm not going to be out shooting birds for awhile. I have an area I have been doing some recon in for a couple weekends and have been seeing, flushing or seeing signs of birds.

    I found a couple unamed trails that could lead to some terrain I wanted to get at. There is about 4 inches of snow on the ground here and a lot of canine and bear tracks. One trail was named on the map and the other was not. I started up the first trail, which was pretty thick and narrow and not really easy to find, and as soon as I got on to the trail I ran into numerous snares. They were the size and set, perfect for wolves and coyotes, one of which was closed smaller with fur caught in the cinch of the snare.

    I didn't follow this trail very far and reversed my way out of there and when I got out and back onto the main trail, which is actually what I would describe as a fire road which was closed, I ran into a trapper and a kid with him. We chatted for a minute and he said he had snares all they way up the trail, directly on the trail, set for wolves and coyotes. We we standing and talking in a small clearing just off the fire road at the head of the hidden trail I had just backed off of. There was a short log about 4 inches in diameter under the few inches of snow. The trapper starts to gingerly scrap the snow away from the 3 foot log and rebaited the trap that was hidden there. I had originally thought perhaps a few months down the road, I could bring the pup up here to hunt grouse and use the trails to perhaps get up high and see about some ptarmigan. I'm rethinking that. The trap at the trail head would have been bad news with no warning as it was under the snow.

    I think I'll steer clear of such trails with the dog in the future. I'm not against trappers, it's just I was nieve to the idea in my search for birds and places to work the dog I hadn't thought of that. As a retired Infantryman, I had to chew my own ***** for not considering that where they might be wolves and bears to watch out for, there might be traps and snares! Not anything new either, the **** trail was boobie trapped! Do any of you all have some experience to share on the subject? I don't want to start a trapper bash, I'd just like to hear what some you have as experience sharing the woods with trappers.

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    Hey Armymark;

    Its a problem after trapping season starts. Keep your dog under control. Learn to loosen a snare and carry a wire cutter that can cut a snare. A trapping supply store will have that kind of cutter. In an area where conibear traps are used you need to know how to open them quick. My little 30 # Brittany probably wouldn't survive a conibear or other kill trap.... I am not sure she would survive a snare. She wears a bell when in the field that helps me keep track of her. Some folks use a GPS unit on their dog. Some breeds like pointers range a long way and keeping track of them can be problematic.

    I had a dog trapped. Some bunny hunters found him and the puppy he was running with. The puppy lost it's leg. My dog had two pinched feet. The set had 3 traps near Hunter Creek off the Knik River the fall of 1982. The hunters and I were lucky. The dogs were gone 5-days. My dog eventually healed w/out a limp. We had posters everywhere and radio ads we were fortunate. The trapper was legal I suppose. I don't know if there is a regulation about checking your traps in Alaska. The dogs were 5 miles from home. Soon after, I moved to the bush and trapped. It was fun and I looked forward to trapping each year for marten and beaver. I was far enough away from everyone to trap trails etc but in those days there were almost no wolf or wolverine and few canines, anyway I chose not to try for them.

    I moved back to town in 1989 and met "subsistence" hunters and trappers that lived in town. Motorhomes, gut piles on the road and traps & snares everywhere. When I was a boy growing up in Wisconsin I trapped muskrats, mink and racoons till I was 13 and we moved. In the mid-1960's we were required to use trap tags. Here, we mustn't infringe on any trappers rights.

    You need to be careful. Pay attention to those trapping signs and don't let your new puppy run down side trails. I like alpine areas this time of year but who knows where traps are set. I always look forward to the end of trapping season, when there are a few weeks of ptarmigan to hunt in the open spaces and no steel.
    That country was so hungry even the ravens were packin' a lunch.... HUNGRY I tell ya'!!

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    Member bnkwnto's Avatar
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    I understand your fears completely. While out last weekend hunting for ptarmigan off some very popular trails just outside of Palmer, we came across some lynx traps baited with bird wings. I was really surprised to find traps within 20 yards of a maintained trail. Thankfully our labs didn't bother with them. I've never trapped before so I wouldn't know how to release the traps if our dogs got caught in them. I guess I should trade some wings for some lessons on traps.

    I have nothing against trappers and I would probably trap if I lived remote but there is no way I'd ever trap off of a heavly used trail.

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    Member Tearbear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bnkwnto View Post
    I have nothing against trappers and I would probably trap if I lived remote but there is no way I'd ever trap off of a heavly used trail.
    And I don't think there should be trapping allowed within a certain distance of an occupied home, or near residential areas. Though most places have regulations for your dog being on a leash, they will sometimes escape and run off, sometimes for miles...most dogs would probably not be able to resist a baited trap.
    "Grin and Bear It"

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Consider training your dogs to stay away from traps. Trappers do this with their own dogs and it is just like any other dog training.

    Learn how to release your dog from a trap. You can view any number of articles with pictures on this subject and there are videos on you tube and even an ATA video posted right on the ADF&G website's trapping page.

    Here's a couple to get you started...

    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm...apping.sharing

    http://www.gundoghousedoor.com/artic...d_trapping.php

    http://www.trapfreeoregon.org/page3.html

    http://trapfreeoregon.org/TFO%20pet-...20brochure.pdf

    http://www.terrierman.com/traprelease.htm
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

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    Member Armymark's Avatar
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    JOAT, that is some good information there. I actually perused the ADF&G Trapping site and found the information about the "Sharing the Trail" DVD. I appreciate your attaching links on releasing a trapped dog as well. I had no idea what a connibear trap is or how to release it. I am going to study up on the trapping and the season and consider this when planning outings. I have nothing against ethical trapping and I'm a bit sheepish at my lack of awareness, so I appreciate everyones input.

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Well, I just went through this...

    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...photo-in-Kenai

    And have an article that will be published in our monthly newsletter at the end of December. I obtained a 220 conibear and have spent quite a bit of time playing with it. If you've never played with traps (which I hadn't), then it would be harder to do a quick release in an emergency if you've only looked at some pictures online. And if you've never seen one or looked at online video or photo articles about how to release it, I venture that most people would be completely unable to release a conibear at all.
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    I would guess most small narrow trails are built by the trappers using them over the years. Around here trapper place signs stateing trapping in area on logging roads.Trap should have tags per regs.
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Actually, the regs were changed so that trappers no longer have to place any signage on a trap line. They argued that the signage was causing them to lose traps to vandals and thieves, so the state no longer mandates any signage in most areas (there are still a couple places away from civilization that require trapline signs).

    I'd argue that most small trails were built by animals. A few of those happen to have trappers using them, but most certainly after the fact.
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

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    Member Armymark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JOAT View Post
    Well, I just went through this...

    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...photo-in-Kenai

    And have an article that will be published in our monthly newsletter at the end of December. I obtained a 220 conibear and have spent quite a bit of time playing with it. If you've never played with traps (which I hadn't), then it would be harder to do a quick release in an emergency if you've only looked at some pictures online. And if you've never seen one or looked at online video or photo articles about how to release it, I venture that most people would be completely unable to release a conibear at all.
    Outstanding information, where would a person find the news letter? Geocachealaska? Please send up a flare when you publish. with a link.

  11. #11
    Member Armymark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JOAT View Post
    Well, I just went through this...

    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...photo-in-Kenai

    And have an article that will be published in our monthly newsletter at the end of December. I obtained a 220 conibear and have spent quite a bit of time playing with it. If you've never played with traps (which I hadn't), then it would be harder to do a quick release in an emergency if you've only looked at some pictures online. And if you've never seen one or looked at online video or photo articles about how to release it, I venture that most people would be completely unable to release a conibear at all.
    I found these links on how the traps work and a tool to help.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRQxdvT0J8I
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3UQQ3SZQeE&feature=related


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    This is a very tough topic for all hunting dog folks and trappers alike. I've been struggling with this issue for decades, and I've had a pointing dog in a snare once, and a leg hold another time. I've seen some terrible injuries to dogs from traps and know of other gun dog folks who have had harrowing incidents with their dogs. I still remain neutral toward trapping.

    I voluntarily quit hunting forest grouse around mid-October each year, partly becasue I think winter is tough enough on the birds without me chivvying them around more, and also because of trapping. I do everything I can to keep my dogs as far away from traps as I can. I turn to hunting ptarmigan in the high country until the end of the upland season, but this hasn't been without problem either. Suffice to say how someone actually trapped the very top of Murphy Dome, a most popular place for skiers with dogs, hikers with dogs, and bird hunters with dogs.

    There is no easy answer to any of this. Hunt smart. If it looks like someone might be trapping the area go somewhere else. I have beeper collars on each of my dogs so I know when they are on point. The beeper will also allow me to find them when caught in a trap. Hopefully I can save the dog from serious harm or death.

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Armymark View Post
    Outstanding information, where would a person find the news letter? Geocachealaska? Please send up a flare when you publish. with a link.
    We post our newsletters in an online archive shortly after publishing and sending by direct email to our membership. This particular article is pretty much finished up, but it won't be published until the January edition which should go out the last week of December. Our archive is located here- http://www.geocachealaska.org/newsletters.htm

    I'll post a note to that thread in the trapping forum when it goes out, since I got some excellent help from those folks. I can see if I can find this thread and post here as well.
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

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    Member Armymark's Avatar
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    Joat, I look forward to it. Thanks for the perspective...

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    Quote Originally Posted by JOAT View Post
    We post our newsletters in an online archive shortly after publishing and sending by direct email to our membership. This particular article is pretty much finished up, but it won't be published until the January edition which should go out the last week of December. Our archive is located here- http://www.geocachealaska.org/newsletters.htm

    I'll post a note to that thread in the trapping forum when it goes out, since I got some excellent help from those folks. I can see if I can find this thread and post here as well.
    Hey JOAT that is a mighty goodthing you are doing.I followed this other thread too... as a dog owner I say thankyou for this info...

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    In units 1-5 must have tag on trap or trap within fifty foot of sign
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    Member FishGod's Avatar
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    I wish they would put a tag or sign along the Kenai River when trapping. I walked in to do some fishing two winters ago along the Kenai. We were walking on the main trail on top of the river bank. Keep in mind, this is the only trail to access this particular part of the river. In a span of thirty minutes I got stuck in 7 snares. We moved down to the rivers edge to avoid the snares and I got stuck in three more. When then went deeper into the woods to avoid them and as I was crawling under a fallen tree my eyes focused on a snare about to go around my head. We ended up leaving since we could not find a safe route of passage and I ended up twisting my ankle on one of the snares. I have many friends that trap and it's something I want to get into, but setting traps on a main trail that humans frequent without tags or signs was a little nerve racking. I no longer bring my dog on this section of the river.
    Your bait stinks and your boat is ugly

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    Member Tearbear's Avatar
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    Just something that all trappers should do...
    Trapper Ethics.jpg
    "Grin and Bear It"

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    FG... what section of the KR was that? For what it's worth, traps set in the middle of a public trail are illegal sets. You could have called F&G on that one.
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

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    Member FishGod's Avatar
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    The Middle Kenai
    Your bait stinks and your boat is ugly

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