Clamping down on trapping

  • Animal traps, some homemade

    Travis Caperton/The Aspen Times
  When Judy Goss of Aspen, Colo., recently found her neighbor's missing dog, Pooh, caught but unhurt in a wire snare trap in the White River National Forest, she got angry.


Now she and Pooh's owner, Cody Lacy, have joined others in a fight to clamp down on sport trapping of wildlife such as badgers, bobcats, beavers and coyotes. While opposition in Colorado hasn't reached the level of protest in Arizona - where voters passed an initiative banning lethal trapping on public land - it has prompted new state restrictions.


The Colorado Wildlife Commission voted July 13 to shorten the state's recreational trapping season, cut back on the number of species that can be trapped, and restrict the use of certain traps.


Todd Malmsbury, a spokesman for the Colorado Division of Wildlife, calls the new rules "a dramatic change." Effective this November, it will be illegal to trap several species of foxes and skunks, as well as pine marten, ringtail and mink in Colorado; by 1997, all non-padded steel-jawed traps and snare traps that kill must be phased out. The commission also plans to require training for trappers as a condition for permits. Animals causing damage to livestock or property, however, may still be trapped year-round.


Anti-trapping activists say the changes don't mean much because the Division of Wildlife hasn't the person-power to enforce the new rules. Carol Buchanan of Wildlife 2000, a coalition of wildlife activists, says her group is now working on the only real solution: an initiative similar to Arizona's.


But not all wildlife fans agree. Dan Kitchen, a Snowmass Village resident, says irresponsible people who let their dogs run loose in national forests "do more harm than all the trappers and hunters in Colorado put together."


* Cameron Burns





The writer works for the Aspen Times.


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