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Keep your dog safe during trapping season

December 10, 2014

SALEM, Ore.— With trapping seasons underway, ODFW reminds dog owners to be aware that there could be traps in areas where they walk or hike.

Traps may be present on public land, though state regulations require they be set a certain distance from designated trails and public use areas. Traps can also be set on private land by permission of the landowner.

Dogs running loose can be accidentally captured in legally set traps, causing injury or even death. To keep your dog safe during trapping seasons, take the following steps:

  • Keep your dog on a leash.
  • Or, keep your dog in sight and under voice command—don’t let your dog wander off, especially out of sight.
  • Keep your dog on designated trails and within designated public use areas. Traps must be set a certain distance away from these locations (more information below).
  • Remember lures and baits used by trappers can attract dogs too (another reason to keep your dog under your control).
  • Understand how to release a dog from a trap. Idaho Fish and Game ( and Alaska Fish and Game ( have brochures and videos with detailed how-tos.
  • Carry the appropriate tools (cable cutter and length of rope) to be prepared in case you need to release your dog from a trap or snare.

Furbearer regulations set restrictions on where trappers may set traps and snares on state and federal lands. Traps may not be set within 50 feet of any designated public trail or within 300 feet of any designated trailhead, public campground or picnic area. Also, killing traps with a jaw spread between 7.5 and 9 inches set on public land cannot be placed more than 50 feet from a permanent or seasonal water source.

It is illegal to disturb or remove the traps or snares of another person. Individuals that see traps they believe are illegally set should not disturb the trap, but contact Oregon State Police. OSP can identify the owner of a legally set trap through a unique branding number required on each trap.

Oregon has about 1,200 licensed trappers. Before becoming licensed, trappers in Oregon must pass an education course that deals with topics like wildlife identification, trapping ethics, and setting traps to catch target animals.

Most trapping seasons opened Nov. 15 or Dec. 1 and end Feb. 28 or March 31. A few seasons are open the entire year, but winter is the most popular time to trap because pelts are in prime condition./


Michelle Dennehy
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
(503) 947-6022

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