The Use of Cruel Traps Is Unnecessary

Never, ever assume that it is necessary to cull or reduce a wildlife population simply because a group of people or a government agency tells you so.   Most of these groups either have a vested interest in the outcome they are promoting, are ill informed or understaffed, or all of the above.

Wildlife managed itself for literally billions of years before there were state and federal government agencies — not to mention hunting, trapping, and fishing industries — finding a “need” to use trapping as a “wildlife management tool.”

People have varying degrees of tolerance to wildlife in their midst, and often their concerns can be shown to be exaggerated, or or simply a matter of acclimation. Problems caused by wild animals can be better resolved by changing the conditions that allow them to happen than by killing or removing the animals (and “relocation” is not the kind alternative that many think.  For example, two thirds of relocated bears die in the first year at their new home).

If there is a genuine need to move animals, live-trap devices, such as culvert traps or box-traps, can, if properly used and maintained, be used at little risk to either target or non-target species.  But even those post risks to the animals being targeted, as well as for non target animals and humans.  They are also more expensive than education for humans and aversion training for animals.  (For more info click here )

The economics of wolf killing, part 1: Idaho

Idaho lawmakers are debating the one-time allocation of $2 million in state funds plus $200,000 annually to be paid by ranchers to supplement the $2.1 million annual budget of the US Wildife Services’ Idaho operations to increase wolf suppression. Their goal is to reduce the wolf population by 54%, from the currently estimated 650 animals to about 300, and thereby reduce wolf-related livestock mortality from current levels (78 cattle, 565 sheep in 2013) by 25%. The $2 million in state funds is planned as a one-time cost, though wildlife experts in Idaho suggest that the plan is unlikely to succeed at that level of funding. According to US Wildlife Services Idaho Director Todd Grimm, “I don’t think we can do it with $2 million.” In other words, the State will likely allocate more taxpayer funds in the future.

If they are successful in reducing livestock mortalities by 25%, that means that annual kills will go down by 19 cows and 141 sheep, or 160 animals combined. If we look at the 5-year budget of $2 million in one-time tax monies and another $200,000 per year ($1 million total) in rancher funding, the total program will cost $3,750 per head saved.

According to Farm and Ranch Guide, breeding cows produce an average net income of $2,582 over 5.7 years (the average age of breeding stock).  The average value of each calf, based on sales prices after weaning, is $948.  If we assume that the lost head are one-third breeding age and two-thirds young stock, the average per head value is $1,492.   That compares favorable to a March, 2014 report by Magic Valley news (Twin Falls, Idaho), which cited $1,000 as the average value per cow killed by wolves. Averaging the Magic Valley and FRG values produces $1,246 per head. According to a University of Wisconsin-Madison paper, the per ewe farm price is $178. The USDA published sheep values as of Sept. 2014 range from $144 to $225. Thus, the UW-Madison price is a good mid-range value.

Thus, the total value of the projected reduction in losses due to wolf kills is $988,790 over a 5-year period.  The cost would be $2 million in tax payer funds and $1 million in rancher funding.  In other words, Idaho lawmakers are considering spending $3 for every $1 they might save. This assuming that their program is successful and they do not need to increase the suppression budget.  Even if the program is twice as successful as expected (how often does this happen with government programs?), this project would still spend $1.50 for every dollar saves.  And this doesn’t consider the $2.1 million annually in federal taxpayer monies spent by US Wildlife Services.

To most people without a vested interest in the outcome, this will likely seem absurd. Unfortunately, this is pretty representative of the economics of predator suppression across these United States.

Read more about this here.    An in-depth look at the social and ecological value of wolves, as well as public opinion regarding their reintroduction can be found here.


Dr. Robert Crabtree, President and Founder, Yellowstone Ecology and Research Center in Bozeman, MT, and visiting scholar at U. Montana and U. Victoria beautifully describes what is known about coyote habits and preferences…information that could be of great use to wildlife management agencies if they would only listen. Nobody does this topic better than Dr. Crabtree.  read more

About Us

Nevadans for Responsible Wildlife Management was started by Mark Smith, Incline Village, and Don Molde, Reno to provide a social media forum for those who share our concerns about wildlife management practices and needed reforms in order to protect Nevada’s wildlife.  Our current issues with wildlife management in Nevada include but are not limited to the following … continue

Do humans get caught in traps?

The Nevada Trapper’s Assoc. emphatically says “NO! This never happens.”   But, of course, they’ve ignored the data.


TrailSafe added this on Sept. 22, 2014:  Two local cases, thoroughly documented. One was a hiker in Griffith Canyon, snared by the ankle. The other was a hiker near Gardnerville, snared by the foot. Details at


Reported: Jan 14, 2011

Location: Geneva, Illinois, Species: Human

Trap Type: Leghold, Incident Date: Jan 09, 2011

Victim’s Disposition: injured
Victim’s Name: private

Summary: A 65-pound husky/collie mix was nearly choked to death by a steel snare trap during a walk with it’s owner. The owner later went back to the area to post a note to the hunter letting him know that the trap nearly killed his dog and to get rid of the traps before someone gets hurt, when the man himself was caught in a separate trap. His boot triggered a 6-inch diameter, rusty-toothed claw trap just 15-yards from where his dog was caught. The Fire Department had to cut the claw trap off of the man’s boot. The dog is recovering, and the man was unhurt due to his heavy boots. There was a third bucket trap nearby with a piece of bait inside. All three traps were illegally set. (Source: Daily Herald newspaper)

Reported: Jan 16, 2009
Location: Malcolm, Nebraska  Species: Human

Trap Type: Kill, Incident Date: Dec 26, 2008

Victim’s Disposition: minor injuries
Victim’s Name: withheld

Legal Action: Yes
Result: Ban on trapping wildlife in county road rights of way

Summary: A bill before the Nebraska state legislature earned a uniquely qualified witness when a Lancaster County Commissioner stepped into a Conibear trap placed in a ditch near his farm. He was wearing good boots and wasn’t seriously hurt. But the trap was large enough to catch a coyote or a beaver — even a farmer — and the commissioner couldn’t open it with his hands. So he hobbled to his truck for a crowbar. He reported the incident to the state Game and Parks Commission. The trap’s owner could not be traced because the trap did not have an ID number [ed note: Nevada no longer requires trap registration]. The commissioner, of course, testified against the bill, which sought to eliminate restrictions and penalties for trapping wildlife in county road rights-of-way. (The ban went into effect on 05/05/09.  Source: Lincoln Journal Star)


Reported: Oct 24, 2007  Location: Stony Plain, Alberta

Species: Human   Trap Type: Other
Incident Date: Oct 24, 2007

Victim’s Disposition: injured
Victim’s Name: unknown

Summary: A woman walking her dog in Hasse Lake Provincial Park spotted the trap. Fearing it could be dangerous for children or dogs, she tried to disable it by fiddling with some levers on the back, but it clamped shut on her hand. Two fishermen managed to pry the trap open. She managed to escape without any broken bones, but she says she plans to ask both the county — which has confirmed it owned the trap — and the provincial government why the trap was there without warning signs. (Source: Calgary Sun)

Reported: Jan 11, 2004
Location: Webster Parish, Louisiana

Species: Human (16 yr old girl)
Trap Type: Kill
Incident Date: Jan 11, 2004

Victim’s Disposition: unknown
Victim’s Name: unknown

Summary: A 16-year-old girl was caught by the foot in a trap set for beaver. The girl was wearing lace-up boots and was caught on the heel. She escaped without injury. (Source: Shreveport Times)


Reported: Apr 12, 2002

Location: Abbotsford, British Columbia

Species: Human (13 yr old boy)
Trap Type: Kill
Incident Date: Apr 10, 2002

Victim’s Disposition: injured
Victim’s Name: unknown

Summary: Picton Park, near a city-owned ravinein a trap set for beaver. (Source: Vancouver Sun)



Red fox brutally dispatched by trapper

WARNING THIS CLIP IS GRAPHIC: A red fox, caught in a leghold trap and killed by the trapper’s foot crushing his chest. One of the widely used and archaic killing methods we discovered.   Click here to watch the video.

View the investigation findings at In early 2011 Born Free USA and Respect for Animals conducted a landmark investigation inside the world of fur trapping.  They uncovered the shocking cruelty and brutality involved in the trapping of wild animals for the fur trade.

US Wildlife Services: The Killing Agency

This is a powerful, well researched and well written piece on our taxpayer-funded federal Wildlife Services.   Here are a few excepts:

Since 2000, its (Wildlife Services) employees have killed nearly a million coyotes, mostly in the West.  They have destroyed millions of birds, from nonnative starlings to migratory shorebirds, along with a colorful menagerie of more than 300 other species, including black bears, beavers, porcupines, river otters, mountain lions and wolves. [Click here to see statistics.]

In most cases, they have officially revealed little or no detail about where the creatures where killed, or why.  But a Bee investigation has found the agency’s practices to be indiscriminate, at odds with science, inhumane and sometimes illegal.


Gary Strader, an employee of the US Dept of Agriculture [Wildlife Services], stepped out of his truck near a ravine in Nevada and found something he hadn’t intense to kill.   There, strangled in a neck snare, was one of the most majestic birds in America, a federally protected golden eagle.

“I called my supervisor and said, ‘I just caught a golden eagle and it’s dead.’  He said ‘Did anybody see it…if you think nobody saw it, go get a shovel and bury it and don’t say nothing to anybody.”


A dog owner’s anguish

Sharyn Aguiar writes about the death of her German Shepherd Max, who poisoned by a government M-44 sodium cyanide cartridge in Utah in 2006.

“I kneeled at the top of his head, bending over him, crying and trying to figure out what happened to him. I remember crying out ‘I don’t understand, I don’t understand’ as I looked at his mouth. His mouth had a pinkish/salmonish colored foam coming from it.”

[Click here to see more Wildlife Mysteries Revealed.]


This investigation’s findings include:

• With steel traps, wire snares and poison, agency employees have accidentally killed more than 50,000 animals since 2000 that were not problems, including federally protected golden and bald eagles; more than 1,100 dogs, including family PETS; and several species considered rare or imperiled by wildlife biologists. [For more on trapping problems, click here.]

• Since 1987, at least 18 employees and several members of the public have been exposed to cyanide when they triggered spring-loaded cartridges laced with poison meant to kill coyotes. They survived – but 10 people have died and many others have been injured in crashes during agency aerial gunning operations since 1979.

• A growing body of science has found the agency’s war against predators, waged to protect livestock and big game, is altering ecosystems in ways that diminish biodiversity, degrade habitat and invite disease.

See the full story and the many interesting attachments at: Sac Bee

NDOW: should they focus on wildlife or hunting?

“More than anything, NDOW needs people who care about hunting, fishing and boating,” said Turnipseed, chief warden. This is a perfect example with what’s wrong at NDoW and the Wildlife Commission – they think their job is to “care about hunting, fishing and boating” rather than managing wildlife for all Nevadans.  NDOW