Went out to run my lab w/ a machine I've been working on. Headed out the Chena to the Tanana, crossed over to the south side, headed downriver to the lower end of the islands way across from Chena Pump Campground. I spotted what I thought was a black wolf 400 odd yards out heading upriver and into the island. Cool. No gun, but still, cool.
I put Roca on the machine and we headed that way through powder and I realized not a wolf, but a dog trotting. Couple hundred yards out I realized it was carrying something, at 100 yards I recognized what it was.
We got up on the same trail and followed it onto the island. Got close, and saw a small double spring conibear and it was around the upper jaw/nose. I pursued it until Roca and I were able to get close, and when it decided Roca was not going to hurt her, I was able to get her collar.
The collar had a Kennel name and number, I called post haste, telling the woman that answered what was going on and to meet me at the campground. I was able to load her on my lap in a death grip, afraid she was going to bolt, but bless her scared self, she just laid there.
Got to the campground and found some people. Told the man I needed help, he came over, saw the problem, and believe it or not he had bolt cutters in the truck. Another mushers truck was there so I found a rope to secure her with, and we were able to cut the coni off. Yes guys, I tried to open it, but moving the springs was hurting her. So yes, I cut it.
The owners showed up pretty quick. They had loaned her to friends to use, and she escaped from them. She had been gone a week. I realized just how much it meant for them when the young lady started to cry. Some days you just don't know how a thing will turn out. The trap had caught her where the skin of the nose and hair meet, just where the skull ends, crushing it pretty good. The other jaw was behind her canines. I did not look in the mouth. At that point I had gotten away unscathed, no way was I going to push it.
So if you are trapping on the Tanana, likely downriver from Chena Pump Campground, or in the Rosie Creek Hills, and you find a trap broken free with dog sign around it, now you know the story. Wish I did not have to cut that trap, but there was no way it came first here.
Nobody gets to cast dispersion on either side here folks. The dogs owners most assuredly did not find fault. There was no way to know when she got caught, or how long she was hung up before breaking free. And I don't think in this case we get to blame an irresponsible dog owner. Simply, it seemed a good idea to share the story so the trapper might know what happened.
For me, this reminds me if I trap close in, to check the traps often. I'd hate like heck to come across a dog frozen down. I love it when a story has a happy ending,