WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT -- Proposals to reduce the chance that dogs will be caught in deadly body-gripping traps will be considered Nov. 12-13 when the Idaho Fish and Game Commission meets in Post Falls.
A public meeting will be held on Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. at the Red Lion at 414 East 1st Ave. Citizens are invited to address the commission regarding agenda and non-agenda items.
The commission meeting will begin at 8 a.m. on Nov. 13 as the panel tackles agenda items that range from revenue issues to discounting nonresident tag fees for mountain lion, black bear and gray wolf.
The proposal to modify regulations related to the use of certain body-gripping traps is likely to generate the most wide-spread interest.
Last winter, along with the widely-reported deaths of two dogs caught in traps, state wildlife officials received numerous complaints from bird and waterfowl hunters and other outdoor recreationists about safety in areas where their activities overlap with trapping.
"We also received input from at least one land management agency that they would consider area closures for land sets if public demand continued and other measures were not instituted by Idaho Department of Fish and Game," officials say in a report to the commission, apparently referring to the U.S. Forest Service or BLM.
In response IDFG convened small working groups in each region to brain-storm ideas that could be considered to reduce
conflicts. The department has been working on three points of consensus:
- Set up an online trapper education course which is available through the IDFG website. Train 30 IDFG staffers for more widely available trapper education courses.
- Produce a video detailing how to release a dog from a trap or snare. The video (above) has received more than 5,300 online views. A second video on how to identify traps and trapping activity in an area should be available this month. A brochure on releasing pets from a trap also is available.
- Propose changes to state trapping rules that restrict the use of body-gripping traps that address the recommendations of the working groups.
Here are the proposals the commission will consider:
- Body-grip traps with jaw openings greater than 4.5 inches and less than 7 inches across can be used on dry land only when set 7 inches or more back inside a hard container made with wood, plastic, fiberglass, or metal with opening that is no larger than 7 inches in width and total size of opening does not exceed 52 square inches, OR when set at least 4 feet above ground or snow.
- Any body-grip traps with jaw openings greater than or equal to 7 inches can be used only in water and must be completely submerged when set and immediately after checking at 72 hour intervals.
A “body gripping" trap” is defined as a Conibear or similarly-operated trap designed to snap closed on the target animal’s body killing the animal.