As we finished our hunt the other day, and were milling about the truck a pickup drove by us and then backed up. The driver said, “Hey, just wanted to let you know I’ve got some traps up there.” We’d walked right past his traps, and of course our dogs did, too. He showed us some curly mylar ribbons he used to mark the traps; the ribbons were tied to bitterbrush and large sagebrush plants.
Although it was considerate of him to stop and tell us about the traps, it’s disconcerting to know my dogs could get caught in one more easily than I previously thought. Trappers have just as much a right – according to the regulations – as I do to hunt chukar. I hope all trappers are as considerate as this one was, but I’m not sure they are. I also hope that they place their traps well away from common access points to chukar terrain, which I’m not sure of now, either. The one objection I have to trapping, and trappers’ equal right to trap on public land, is that trapping has the real potential of harming bird dogs, or anyone’s dog while hiking on- or off-trail. My preferred use of this same public land has little or no potential to harm others. So, are all uses of public land “equal”?
Regardless of how you might feel about the issue, I found a couple of informative videos from Idaho Fish and Game about trapping that I thought were worth sharing. The first is an overview, and the second shows you how to release your dog from a trap. Hopefully it’ll never come to that, but it’s good information to file away. “Enjoy” (if you can).