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Thread: Ethics Question - shoot another person's trapped animal?

  1. #1
    Member Gr is for Greg's Avatar
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    Default Ethics Question - shoot another person's trapped animal?

    Question about ethics: I was fishing this last weekend, and I came across a beaver with its foot caught in a trap. I felt bad for the bugger. It just looked a little sad to see his futile efforts to try and get out away and not be able to. He looked pretty beat and broken like he had been in it for a while.

    I'm a lifelong hunter, and I own a few snares myself, so I'm not trashing trapping at all. I'm just curious - would it have been okay for me to go over and shoot the animal in the head? I had a .22 with me (for grouse and hare), so I don't think it would have had any detrimental effect on the pelt. (Don't a lot of trappers use the same method when collecting live animals from their traps?) My instinct to not mess with other people's things led me to do nothing, but I was just wondering what the standard operating procedure is. I would have preferred to put the thing out of its misery.

    Note that I would not consider doing this during warmer times of the year, but I don't think too many people trap in the summer. I would have done it neatly and taken any steps to aid in optimal pelt preservation.

    So what are your thoughts? As a trapper, how would you react to finding a beaver in your trap that someone else had dispatched neatly? Looking for your input in case I come across this situation again.

    -Gr
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    Moderator hunt_ak's Avatar
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    The end result is the same...I'd say dispatch cleanly and no harm no foul...

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    A couple of trappers I associate with would much prefer to find a live critter in a trap. While caught, a live animal is generally not eaten by scavengers- a dead one is carrion and often consumed. I also don't like finding struggling critters in a trap but dispatching a critter and having it eaten makes its death pointless. Legally speaking- messing with other folk's sets and caught game is illegal.

    A couple of other trappers I know generally won't shoot trapped animals and instead either knock it in the head or suffocate it by kneeling on it. The few times I've removed critters from buddy's traps I wouldn't have dreamed of it- I shot them with a .22.

    Most guys I know after beavers will drown them to avoid pelt damage and several use drowning sets- where the animal flees to deeper water, can't resurface and drowns. Being submerged protects the animal from scavengers.

    Bottom line is (at least in my opinion) you're better off leaving it alone.

  4. #4

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    I would prefer a live beaver in the trap verses a neatly dispatched beaver by a passer by. The hide of a dead animal laying on the bank could start to slip and the hide could spoil depending on weather conditions, especially when direct sunlight beats on the carcass for a couple of days. Other animals could feast on the carcass as well, it's common for me to see eagles sitting on a tree above a drowned beaver in clear water.

    I have seen beavers actually drag a fully loaded sandbag at the end of a drowning wire to the shoreline. Sometimes it happens and that could be the scenario in this case.

    Personally, I wouldn't dispatch the animal and leave it for the trapper to take care of during the next trap check.

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    Member Bsj425's Avatar
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    Leave it although your intentions are good that trapper may not agree. And while you may try for minimal pelt damage they very well might use a "catch pole" with a snare on the end for dispatch ( thats what I use ) for ZERO pelt damage. While it might seem like you are doing the right thing and no big deal to you the difference between no pelt damage and minimal pelt damage could put its fur at a completely different grade because of it and the lower the grade the lower the $$. SO long story short leave it.

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    Member Gr is for Greg's Avatar
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    Thanks for your responses, guys. Looks like I did the right thing, and if I happen to come across this in the future, I'll leave it alone as well. Happy trapping.

    -Gr
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    Moderator hunt_ak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Water_Gremlin View Post
    I would prefer a live beaver in the trap verses a neatly dispatched beaver by a passer by. The hide of a dead animal laying on the bank could start to slip and the hide could spoil depending on weather conditions, especially when direct sunlight beats on the carcass for a couple of days. Other animals could feast on the carcass as well, it's common for me to see eagles sitting on a tree above a drowned beaver in clear water.

    I have seen beavers actually drag a fully loaded sandbag at the end of a drowning wire to the shoreline. Sometimes it happens and that could be the scenario in this case.

    Personally, I wouldn't dispatch the animal and leave it for the trapper to take care of during the next trap check.
    I hadn't thought of that, good points...

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    Member ironartist's Avatar
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    As I try to say with everything out in the woods or anywhere else for that matter if it's not your's don't touch it.
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    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Kinda tough decision in the case of a beaver. They are good at twisting off the foot when in a leghold. Drowners are preferred for foothold beaver trapping.
    First question would be is trapping open there.
    I bet the trapper won't be sad when he sees the successful catch.
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  10. #10

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    I agree if it's not yours don't touch it they might be on their way to get it.

  11. #11

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    First thing is you never shoot a trapped animal in the head. The point of trapping is to retain the hide. Also beaver trapping is an active trapping style. The traps should be checked daily if not more. If you happen to see a beaver in a trap for more than one day than I say take it out, but a quick smack to the head with a decent size stick will take out a beaver pretty easy.

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    Member dkwarthog's Avatar
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    I will respectfully disagree with akair on a couple things...head shots on beaver would be ok to me as alot of that head hide is not usable and a 22lr will only leave a tiny hole. If using the beaver for a garment...hat,mitts, etc. I'd rather have a hole in an unusable part of the hide...

    Secondly, most beaver trapping is done with drowning rigs and I think it's pretty common to do a two or three day check. In this case (beaver above water in a foothold) I would agree with MT. At least for me, Id rather someone dispatch it rather than have it twist out. But I'd never trap a beaver in a foothold above water without a drowning set up just for that reason...

    I've never tried to dispatch a beaver with a stick so I wont comment on how easy it works (I know it is really easy for fox, marten, etc), but I have seen beaver that were pretty agressive and they have BIG TEETH...personally, I'd use a 22lr if I needed to dispatch a live one...

  13. #13
    Member Alaskan22's Avatar
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    Leave it.

    Dead critters start the decomposition process, live one's don't.

    I do understand your position, but maybe the trapper sells the skulls. Who knows. Best to leave it alone.
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    Member dkwarthog's Avatar
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    I should have clarified that I was only talking about beaver in a non drowning set...I agree with everyone else regarding leaving trapped critters for the trapper. That being said, if I come up on a critter in a foothold and I can see the the animal is about to pull out/twist out or break an anchor loose, I'd have a hard time not dispatching and hanging it up with some bird camo...would depend on the situation...

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