Our retriever club got this e-mail today.
Just a reminder to all to be very careful of traps this year. Due to the
wolf activity of late there are a lot of uneducated folks placing traps in areas who have no idea what they are doing. I ran into a nightmare of trap activity today on my run. Ive reported the incident to Fish and Game and I hope they can get it taken care of and give the person who set them a fine... at the very least.
There was what seemed to be two bait stations with moose carcass' and meat waiting to catch what seemed like a pack of wolves. All snares were set at wolf/dog height and the leg hold traps were just enough to keep each of my dogs firmly in the spot where they were trapped.
My dogs were caught in four leg hold traps (each trap on a different dog) and two snares, six dogs total caught in an area roughly 10'x10'. Looking around and trying to free everyone was a nightmare and even when we left there were many, many more snares on the trees and possible leg hold traps still hidden in the snow. We didn't stay long to find more...
All my dogs are fine, though sore... any bad run that all can come away with only minor injuries is a good one... I am very grateful that it wasn't any worse... though as I sit here I'm unsure how it could have been... the whole incident was a complete nightmare.
I'm very, very surprised that some of the dogs caught didn't not suffer swelling or even came away with a limp. My vet suggested this was because I was right there and was able to get it off of them right away. My experience with traps has all been in an emergency situation, snares too. If I was thinking correctly I would have practiced on traps at the hardware store to get a feel for how to remove them instead of learning in that type of situation.
Please, please everyone be very careful running their teams and when you see traps or snares in the store give them a good look over, try to release them and get a good feel on how they work. Ive had snare experience when my shepherd was caught years and years ago and then I was wishing I could have had more practice. This time around the snares were a bit easy as I worked
them throughly at the hardware shop but the leg hold traps I had to learn right then and there.
The only thing I wish I would have had was wire cutters, I know, not
something we think about bringing with us on the sled. One of the snares was very difficult to loosen, the only way I was able to free my dog from tightening it more around her neck was to release it from the tree. So take note of this also... follow the line back to the tree, it will usually be set with an easy release. Some dogs will let you work with them and save their leg if they can get away from the tension or even away from just that spot.
That being said I have run many trap lines countless times with no injury or mishap. I believe wholeheartedly in trapping if it is done RESPONSIBLY. This bait station was set way too close to the trail and in an area where the general public normally free runs their dogs. The traps in the trail were only noted by a 3"x2" tag stating "Trapline" and a phone number.
I'll be the first to tell you that I want the wolves trapped, but please remember people and pets use the flood control area for recreation too.