Although hunting season is coming to an end, trapping season begins in December. Unfortunately, dogs and free-roaming cats are the most common ‘non-target’ animals that are caught in traps.
Where are traps likely to be set? What should you do if your dog gets caught while out hiking? Learn how to keep your animals safe from traps this season.
Adirondack Trapping Season
Adirondack trapping is in full swing in December, with coyote, red and gray fox, skunk and weasel legal prey through February. Beaver, mink, muskrat and otter season extends to April. The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) sells 5,000 to 12,000 trapping licenses each year. (Adirondack Life)
That’s a lot of hunters setting up traps! These licenses purchased support the work of forest rangers, trail crews, game protectors and biologist, but some worry about beloved pets mistakenly wandering into a trap (Adirondack Life).
Trappers are required to take a daylong safety course before they can purchase a license, which will lessen the amount of trapping accidents because knowing safety precautions is one of the most important steps in safe hunting (Adirondack Life). Every trap set must have a label listing the hunter’s name and address and/or DEC identification number. Here are the New York State trapping regulations.
Three kinds of traps are legal here in the Adirondacks (Adirondack Life):
1) Cages or boxes (often homemade wooden ones)
2) Leg-encapsulation or foot-hold Newhouse style (curved flat steel jaws with springs extending on one or two ends)
3) The body-gripping or Conibear style, which is designed to kill the animal swiftly.
Where are traps set?
Trap location parameters must be followed to legally set up traps. This means that traps should not be set in public locations where people frequently visit. However there are some traps that can get very close to locations and trails where people and their pets may wander.
Boxes and leg-hold traps may be set on the ground or in the water, in very close proximity to trails. DEC regulations say body-gripping traps may not be set within 100 feet of a public trail (except in wildlife management areas), but they may be placed near culverts and bridges and along the water’s edge. (Adirondack Life)
Be very cautious if you take your dog for a walk in the woods of a non-posted property during hunting/trapping season. Keep your dog on a leash if you fear the possibility of traps.
What if your pet gets caught?
What do you do if your dog gets caught in a trap while you’re on a winter hike? There are diagrams available and a video shown below that can show you how to release a leaf-spring or leg-hold trap.
Opening a Conibear is far more complicated, involving two pieces of rope, speedy reaction and a good memory for how these simple-looking wire rectangles work, but unfortunately if your pet is caught in this type of trap its chance of survival is minimal (Adirondack Life).
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