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Dog owners: Be mindful of trapping activity

December 3, 2010


SALEM, Ore.—With furbearer seasons in full swing as of Dec. 1 and snow creating ideal conditions for trapping certain furbearers, dog owners should be mindful that there could be trapping activity in the woods.

Dogs running loose have accidentally been captured in legally-set traps, which can lead to a dog’s injury or even death. While such incidents are not common, dog-owners can take some steps to minimize these risks:

  • Keep your dog on a leash.
  • Or, keep your dog under your control—don’t let it wander off, especially out of sight.
  • Remember lures and baits used by trappers can attract dogs too (another reason to keep dogs under your control).
  • Be mindful of where and when trapping activities may occur—on public lands and on private lands by permission. Most trapping seasons and activities occur from November to February because pelts are in prime condition at this time.
  • Carry the appropriate tools (wire cutter and length of rope) and know how to use them to release your dog from a trap should the need arise.

ODFW’s backgrounder has more information and links to pages that show how to release a dog from a trap or snare.

“Both dogs owners and trappers care greatly about family pets,” said Bob Gilman, president, Oregon Trappers Association. “Trappers should also take precautions when setting traps by considering not only if a particular set is legal, but if it could cause problems for others in the outdoors.”

“While there are very few traps in relation to the expanse of land and dog-trapping incidents are not common, it’s still best to be prepared,” said Tim Hiller, ODFW furbearer coordinator.

Animals that can be legally trapped are bobcats, gray and red foxes, martens, muskrats, mink, raccoons, river otters, beavers, badgers, coyotes, nutria, opossum, skunks and weasels. Most trapping seasons are open Nov. 15-March 15 or year-round, but the majority of trapping occurs in the winter months.

Trapping is a highly regulated activity in Oregon and other states. Currently, Oregon has about 700 licensed trappers. Trappers contribute to furbearer management and wildlife research activities. For more information on trapping visit


Dogs and Traps backgrounder:



Michelle Dennehy
(503) 947-6022 / (503) 931-2748

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