Here are some simple, effective instructions for saving your pet from a leg-hold trap: Trail Safe. Trail Safe is also an excellent source for all trapping-related information. If you’re not already a member of Trail Safe, please join! While NRWM is not affiliated with Trail Safe we fully support their excellent work at making our trails safe for our pets and children.
And here is an excellent video about how to keep your dog safe when hiking or hunting provided by Outside Magazine. In Nevada most trapping is in the fall and winter, so be especially careful when you’re out during these seasons. And traps are often set on or adjacent to trails, since many animals use the same trails we use. Traps cannot legally be baited, but they can be scented, which is just as effective and the scents are designed to bring animals – including your dog – into the trap!
Historically, unregulated trapping almost wiped out beaver, sea otter, lynx, wolverine, and other species in many areas of the U.S. Today, some state wildlife management agencies continue to allow the trapping of highly sensitive species, including wolverine, fisher, marten, kit fox, and lynx. For example, while the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) considered listing the Canada lynx under the Endangered Species Act, Montana continued to allow lynx to be commercially trapped — even when a 1999 U.S. Forest Service report concluded, “Lynx appear to be extremely susceptible to trapping, and where trapping is permitted it can be (and has been) a significant source of mortality.”15 Unfortunately, because population modeling and furbearer data collection are so poor in many states, we do not know the impact trapping has on sensitive species — often until it is too late. In Nevada, Golden Eagles are common “non target” species trapped and either injured or killed in traps.
Betsy S., Aug. 31, 2014: My husband was bird hunting with our yellow lab and he got caught twice in one day in traps!!!! Luckily my husband was able to free him but as our dog got older he developed bad arthritis in the joint where the traps snapped on him. I called to complain to the NDoW and requested that people post signs that traps are in the area. There response was they don’t because people will go and steal the traps! They suggested that we stick to just walking our dog on pavement!!!! Hard to hunt birds on paved streets in town.
Steven C., Incline Village, NV, Aug. 31, 2014: I will repeat my story to emphasize how cruel and inhumane trapping is. When I was a teenager, my dog got caught in a trap which was illegally placed on OUR property. She was crying in pain, trying to bite her paw off and she was so upset that when my brother and I tried to release her paw from the trap she tried to bite us. She hobbled for several days. But it could have been worse. She could have broken the bones I her leg, and if we weren’t there she might have chewed her paw off.
Trapping regulations vary widely from state to state and are, in general, poorly enforced. Nevada has amongst the loosest trapping rules in North America and is one of only 3 states that allow long intervals between trap visitation. Many states, including Nevada, have few restrictions on the types of traps that can be used or the number of animals that can be trapped. Only a handful of states, excluding Nevada, require or offer trapper education courses so most trappers learn “in the field.” Only Georgia regulates how a trapped animal must be killed, in all the other states strangulation or drowning are the most common ways to dispatch a trapped animal.
Very few states monitor the number of target animals trapped each year, and most do not require trappers to report nontarget captures at all; Nevada does require reporting but fewer than 20% of trappers do this. Some state wildlife agencies rely on voluntary or mandatory “fur dealer/buyer reports” to estimate annual trapping totals. Others obtain their data through random telephone or mail surveys, then use these partial reports to estimate the total numbers of animals trapped each year. Additionally, MILLIONS of animals are trapped by private “nuisance wildlife control operators” in this growing and largely unregulated industry.