Groups call for new trapper rules

  • Sun Mar 11th, 2012 9:44pm
  • News

Associated Press

MEDFORD, Ore. — Conservation and animal protection groups are calling for new restrictions on trappers, including a requirement to keep traps and snares more than 100 feet from trails on public land.

The groups want warning signs posted next to traps and a requirement for trappers to check traps and snares every 24 hours.

“These are very modest, common-sense rules,” said Scott Beckstead, Oregon director for the Humane Society of the United States. “We’re not putting trappers out of business.”

The Mail Tribune of Medford reported that the groups on Friday petitioned the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission to change trapping laws after dogs were injured or killed in traps over the winter in Central Oregon.

The groups want a requirement for trappers to attach their names and telephone numbers to every trap. Trappers of gophers, moles, mountain beavers, rats and mice on property owned by the trapper would be exempt.

Rules now vary on how often trappers must check traps. Trappers must check furbearer traps on public land every 48 hours and only every 30 days for lethal traps set for predators on private property.

Traps must carry identification numbers that can be traced by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Oregon State Police but not the public. There are no warning sign requirements.

“Oregon has some strong anti-cruelty codes, but in the realm of wildlife trapping policy, we are woefully behind,” Beckstead said.

The petition also was backed by Predator Defense, the Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club, the Audubon Society of Portland and Cascadia Wildlands.

The commission has 90 days to reject or accept the petition. However, the commission already had scheduled a biennial review of trapping rules, season dates and limits during its June meeting, said Michelle Dennehy, Wildlife Division spokeswoman.