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Idaho officials favor education over new trapping rules

Rather than making new rules to restrict trapping in Idaho, state Fish and Game commissioners say they prefer to have trappers take educational classes to reduce the chance that dogs will be caught in deadly body-gripping traps. Meeting this morning in Post Falls, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission declined to move forward with proposals to restrict the use of “conibear” traps, which killed two dogs in North Idaho last winter. “I think this whole issue is emotional right now, and I hate to see rules and laws come out of emotion,” Commissioner Mark Doerr of Kimberly, Idaho, said. After the two dogs were killed, state wildlife officials received complaints from bird and waterfowl hunters and other recreationists about safety in areas where their activities overlap with trapping. The Department of Fish and Game convened groups in every region of the state to brainstorm solutions, and the commission heard public testimony on the issue Wednesday night. Commissioner Will Naillon of Challis, Idaho, said he agrees with those who wonder why the state would change trapping rules based on an isolated incident or two. “I think this is too much,” Naillon said of any proposal to modify regulations. He said he supports a mandatory trapper education class, like the state requires now for hunters and wolf trappers. Idaho issues licenses to about 2,400 trappers – a number that has been on the rise as furbearer prices are up, said Jon Rachael, the agency’s state wildlife manager. Several commissioners said they want the department to work with trapper groups on a plan for developing trapper education classes. The commission will revisit the issue at its January meeting.
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