Update: Western states move to limit trapping

Caught dogs and imperiled martens spur reforms for fur-bearer trapping.


New regulations could limit what can be trapped and where.


In many Western states, trapping fur-bearers like bobcats and beavers is both a venerable tradition and a way to make extra cash. But regulations are often spotty and unenforced, and trappers catch more than their intended targets, killing mountain lions, lynx, eagles, deer, moose and even family pets. In 2013, a National Park Service employee inadvertently walked into a trap outside Glacier National Park, and visitors to public lands sometimes encounter traps close to trails (“Trappers catch a lot more than wolves,” HCN, 4/29/13).


Now, changes in trapping regulations may be coming to the West. Idaho lawmakers took the first step toward approving rules requiring trappers to set traps farther from trails and campgrounds. In Oregon, a court settlement in late January required the state to consider banning the trapping of Humboldt marten, an imperiled weasel-like carnivore. And in New Mexico, after a dog strangled to death in a snare, two state representatives are sponsoring a bill to outlaw commercial trapping on public land.

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