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Thread: Chena Flood Control Traps

  1. #1

    Default Chena Flood Control Traps

    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.

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    Default who's the illegal one

    Were your dogs on leashes? If not, then you are the illegal one and should get the fine. Sounds to me like the trapper is trying to do a public service and catch the dog eating wolves. How do you expect him to catch wolves with a big banner posted to keep people who dont have there dogs on leashes out of his sets. I hope you didn't take any of his traps or snares. The trapper is not the bad guy here.

  3. #3

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    Wow! Aren't you the rude one!
    If you read the post, the letter was written by a person whose sled dog team got caught in that mess.
    If you have ever been to the Flood Control, you know that the traps were set too close to a road/trail/walking path.
    Most people I know, do go to the Flood Control for the specific purpose of giving their dogs some off-lead time, but it is used heavily by recreational dog mushers and skijourers.
    I hope other trappers are more considerate than you seem to be.

  4. #4
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    Default don't know the area but

    Tony,
    Hate to break it to you but hunting with dogs is allowed & the dogs aren't leashed.
    Not sure on the laws there but here in the Anch. muni the law reads one acceptable way of controling your dog is by visual or audible command. So a leash is not mandatory.
    There are off leash dog areas...

    We are having a few wolfe issues here as well, & I am all for having trappers have at them. All I would ask is that YES THE PUBLIC BE MADE AWARE THAT THERE IS ACTIVE TRAPPING GOING ON IN THIS AREA, & I will gladly stay out & go somewhere else with my dogs
    We can all get along with a little courtesy & common sense.

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    Member mit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TonyH View Post
    Were your dogs on leashes? If not, then you are the illegal one and should get the fine. Sounds to me like the trapper is trying to do a public service and catch the dog eating wolves. How do you expect him to catch wolves with a big banner posted to keep people who dont have there dogs on leashes out of his sets. I hope you didn't take any of his traps or snares. The trapper is not the bad guy here.
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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default Guys

    This is a serious topic. No need to bash others and call names. It is a problem that has to be worked out and fair to all parties. Without knowing all the circumstances, calling names and pointing fingers is unjustified.

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  7. #7

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    The reason I posted the e-mail was just so that trappers would be aware of the problem of setting traps too near trails in the Flood Control. I fully support the trapper's endeavors to catch the wolves, but don't want to see dogs or people hurt in the process.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TonyH View Post
    Were your dogs on leashes? If not, then you are the illegal one and should get the fine. Sounds to me like the trapper is trying to do a public service and catch the dog eating wolves. How do you expect him to catch wolves with a big banner posted to keep people who dont have there dogs on leashes out of his sets. I hope you didn't take any of his traps or snares. The trapper is not the bad guy here.
    This is one of the most uninformed responses I have read. This area is a public area used by thousands of dog enthusiasts and other recreational users throughout the year. It is legal to let your dogs off the leash and the area has been maintained with that as one of the specific uses. There are numerous dog activities in the area throughout the year to include, mushing, training, exercise, hunt tests, field trials, tracking, and much more. It is technically legal to trap in the area but putting them on heavily used trails is not a good idea and common sense would go a long ways - trapping gets enough bad press without feeding the anti's the ammunition. Simply moving off the trails and into the woods a hundred yards would have cured the problem.

    I hardly think the "Trapper" if you choose to call them that is doing anyone a public service. He was misguided in his thoughts at best. I will take my chances with the wolves and don't need someone looking out for my dogs.

    I believe the original post was relaying some valuable information that was aimed at helping the public protect their dogs. I for one frequent the area and appreciate the information.

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    Chena Lakes Recreation Area/Flood Control Project, is where many of us go to ply around with our dogs, snow machines, and kids. Dog mushers and horses are also used in the area. And a horse can very easily get caught in a snare set for a wolf. This could be disasterous for the horse and rider. The flood plan is not the area to set traps. There is all kinds of areas behind the flood plan that is condusive to trapping. I have seen and followed the wolves in that area. I have just not been able to get close enough for a shot.

    This dog musher was lucky non of his dogs were hurt. Back in the late 60s I ran a trapline in the same area. Back then part if it was private property, owned by Leo Morris. Leo gave me permission to set traps out on his land. I spent several days opening up Leo's old trail to the river. The trail had not been used for 15 years or so. I set traps in the trail to act as triggers, with snares all around it. I also put up signs down at the river that there was traps in the trail, to warn off dog mushers. Well several weeks went by after I had set out my traps, and I had taken several animals. Then one Saturday morning I was out checking my line when I heard dogs start yelping, I could tell something was in pain. I headed out that way and found a musher trying to untangle his dogs, He was mad, screaming, and trying to get one dog out from under his sled, as many more were fighting the snares on their necks. The dogs fighting the snares were only making things worse, and chocking them selves. I went up to attempt to help, but several of the dogs that were not snared tried to reach me with barred teeth, and acting very aggressive. I backed off, I did not want to get bit. These dogs would not let me help, and I stood there and watched several dogs fighting the snares choke them selves down and collapse. The dog under the sled was already dead. The musher lost half of his team right there before he could get them out of the snares, and I could do nothing to help him due to his aggressive dogs.

    This musher started screaming at me about putting traps in the trail. He was tearing snares down and throwing them into the woods, he picked up the trap and threw it at me, as he was cursing me for all he was worth. So I left.

    A little while after I got back to the house this musher came to the house and started yelling at Leo. He demanded Leo go into the house and get me, then he pulled a pistol. Leo grabbed his shotgun and ran him off.

    The next day a Trooper came out to check what had happened. The musher had claimed he had been using that trail for over ten years. That all the mushers used it. And that I owed him for the dogs that I had caused to get killed and for the ones that were injured. Leo got hot and told the trooper a lot about them mushers, Leo had no love for dog mushers. I took the trooper out and showed him the trail, explained how I had cut the trail in during the summer. Trooper said it was obvious that no one had used the trail for years, so appearantly the guy had misled him. I also showed him the signs that I had put up, and the musher had ignored.

    The Trooper told me to forget it. I never heard anything about it again.

    But today it is a whole differant game out there. Heavily used public land. Used by all types. We all need to think about what we do, and how it may affect others.
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    I agree with what everyone has said on this issue. This area is a public use area, hence the word public. It was bad judgement to put a bait site, snares and foothold that close to the trail but it is not illegal. The site was marked but could have been marked with something bigger than a 3x2 sign. We can all get worked up over this matter but the big picture is that the trapline/site is legal and its unfortunate that there was bad judgement used in placing this site and that the dogs had to feel the repercussions of someones judgement.

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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default Not isolated

    This is not an isolated problem. In Valdez it happens too. A trapper cuts a trail and someone comes along and thinks they should ski it or walk their dogs on it. Then a dog gets hurt and it is the trappers fault. We had a big meeting two years ago to try to work together with people and come up with some sort of plan conducive to all. So now there is a Valdez municipal code with additional trapping regulations.

    The population is getting bigger and more areas are being opened. Problems are going to happen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daveinthebush View Post
    This is not an isolated problem. In Valdez it happens too. A trapper cuts a trail and someone comes along and thinks they should ski it or walk their dogs on it. Then a dog gets hurt and it is the trappers fault. We had a big meeting two years ago to try to work together with people and come up with some sort of plan conducive to all. So now there is a Valdez municipal code with additional trapping regulations.

    The population is getting bigger and more areas are being opened. Problems are going to happen.
    Hello Dave - It is not a similar situation in this case to what you mentioned. This is a public area which was cleared and maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers as part of the flood control project designed to keep Fairbanks from flooding again. They plant crops specifically for attracting birds, groom parts of the area specifically for dog trianing and trials, etc. Many other organized groups apply and obtain permits for using the area as well as the general public. The Yukon Quest has a permit and runs through the area as well. This is an extremely high use public area both in the summer and winter. The area is off limits to motorized vehicles in the summer just to assure there is no conflict with the animal activities. Take a look at the areas web site to help you form your own opinion - Here is one page of it - http://www.poa.usace.army.mil/co/che...des/sld001.htm

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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default Actually Raven

    Actually it is much the same. Cross country skiers, trappers, hunters, snowmachiners, runners and ATV users; different user groups all looking to use a limited resources for recreation. The city of Valdez is 256 square miles and encompases many public use areas that belong to the pipeline and the State.

    I know very well the area that you are talking about as I hunted it all this fall and the fall of 05 for the DM788 moose permit. I know the trappers trails over on the south east boundary and even saw the two guys that trapped it this fall. I know all the moose trails that come from Chena Lakes State Park and within the archery hunting area. The ATV trail that the kids use on the north side to run around the State Park at night. Dan in AK, has taken me all over the park in O5 as he worked for the park. So I have walked the entire archery hunting area within the park and much outside of it on many a weekend. Even run the dike access to look for moose all the way to the small arms range.

    Some of the trails in there were made by trappers. The one I saw the two trappers on I am sure was. There was another trail near the old homestead foundation in the park too, made before the project. I also know that the project was build in the wrong place as typical for the Army Corp of Engineers.

    I also lived in Fairbanks for the summers of 00 and 01 in my truck. When I travel up to the haul road I stay with friends off of Old Badger.

    But you probably would not of known any of that. Just letting you know that I am familiar with the area.

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    Hello Dave - I am glad you have enjoyed time in my local playground and I am glad we share the areas bounty. I know I enjoy playing in your back yard several times each summer as I frequent the sound. My point was (if you look at the original map of where the traps were) it is not a trappers trail, It is a road that we drive our trucks on in the summer and other uses in the winter. As I stated earlier just moving 100 yards off the road would have greatly reduced chances of this encounter and not given fuel to the anti trappers. I just don't think it was an appropriate place to trap.

    I have lived in the area for a lot longer than I like to admit and I used to do lots of things (including trapping) all over area that are no longer appropriate for those activities. They are still legal just not the best idea with the expanding population. Just my opinion and we all have them.

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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default Part of the problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by rambling raven View Post
    I have lived in the area for a lot longer than I like to admit and I used to do lots of things (including trapping) all over area that are no longer appropriate for those activities. They are still legal just not the best idea with the expanding population.
    Not pointing to you, but the "essence" of your statement. Many long time Alaskans I think feel that it is still the old Alaska. And, that, with the increase in population, why should they change to accommodate others because they were here first.

    Agreed we need to be wiser in our actions these days. And boy is that area expanding!! I could not believe it this fall when I was up there.

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    Dave, the area where the traps were located is an old trail dating back to the gold rush. I was out there a month ago with a fellow who was mapping it and surveying the area. That trail was there when I lived there back in the late 60s and early 70s. It is part of the horse trail, as well as road the dog trainers use during the summer. I ride my snow machine over that trail often myself. The area where those traps are located, while legal, are definately in the wrong location. Too high use area. On a trail that sees heavy use.

    If the trapper had did his homework, he would have found the trail the wolves are using about 1/4 mile north of his site. Their trail runs east west, and is nothing more than a game trail. He would have better luck setting there, and would not get interfered with by the local users. What he did was set where he found wolf tracks following the snow machine track in the snow. The problem is that right there is many snow machine tracks to follow, and they don't always follow the same one each time. They are out in the open there and pick the fastest way across.

    Dave as you may guess, I have followed them quite extensively out in the area, and up and down the Chena river. I've seen them several times, just unable to get a shot off at them. To begin with there was six of them in the pack. Then there was five, now there is three. And a single black one that I have seen twice.

    I also lived in the original homestead that sat out in the middle of the area. Leo Morris, and his wife Grace were the homesteaders that originally settled there, back during territorial days. I trapped the whole area back then, even out onto the army land. I trapped all the way up to the bridge across the Chena. The one that got washed out during the 68 flood, and is no longer there, just some old wooden timbers on the north side of the river is all that is left.
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  17. #17

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    I talked to the wife of the year round borough manager of Chena Lakes proper today. Their family lives out there near the Corps buildings. She told me not to bring my dogs out there right now...too many traps in bad locations. She was walking their lab on the bike trail that runs along side of the road. Her dog was not far off the bike trail and got caught up in a snare. She said if you do want to walk your dog there, be sure it is on lead.

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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default Graybeard

    Nice to hear from someone with so much experience of the area. The foundation I mentioned is off the end of the lake, towards the overflow ditch, off of a ski trail. Pretty neat if you once lived there. It is a really nice area. I love the learn of the old history of such places.

    From every ones comments, it sounds like a Sasquatch sighting took place and everyone is trying to capture it. Common sense usually goes out the window is such cases. Maybe the park should take the initiative to post a sign on the toll house warning dog owners temporally. Many people do jog and walk out there with the animals off leash even in the park.

    Good luck with the problem. Hopefully it does not get out of control any further.

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    I figured these problems would occur after all the publicity these wolves got. These wolves are slowly going away, one at a time and by next year will be forgotten.

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