A trap line that caused an uproar due to its location near the well-trodden Cache Creek trailhead has been removed by a Wyoming Game and Fish Department warden, who cited the man who set the traps.
Warden Kyle Lash cited the trapper with failure to check his traps within the required 72-hour period and also for not tagging his traps. Those are non-bondable offenses that cannot be settled by paying a fine. The man has a Jan. 23 court date.
Lash removed six traps from the Cache Creek area early this week after he determined with game cameras that the trapper had violated the check time requirements. On Tuesday night, Lash was able to make contact with the trapper, who helped the warden find and remove two more traps that had not been located earlier.
Lash did not name the trapper because of a Game and Fish policy that does not allow department personnel to identify suspects of violations until cases have been adjudicated.
The Jackson Hole News&Guide previously verified the man’s identity in an article notifying the public about the controversial trap line, but granted him anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the subject. He will be identified in print after his appearance in Teton County Circuit Court.
Lash said the trapper was contrite and admitted to not checking his traps as frequently as the law requires.
“He was real helpful and apologetic,” the warden said. “There were two other traps I didn’t know about that he helped me find.”
Traps must be marked with tags and trapper registration numbers in Wyoming. The trapper told Lash he had trap tags on order, and had written in permanent marker on some of the traps. But others weren’t marked, in violation of the law, and Lash opted to cite him.
Cache Creek is one of the most-used areas in the entire Bridger-Teton National Forest, and it’s especially popular in the wintertime when wildlife winter closures make other parts of the valley off limits. Many trappers don’t bother with the area because of the potential for conflict with pets.
Just last weekend, a pet dog named Mac was killed in a snare in Fremont County, according to the Facebook group “Lander Trail Conditions.”
The cited trapper told Lash he wasn’t out to catch or kill people’s pets. Cache Creek has a leash requirement for dogs, but it only applies to the trailhead and parking lot. The man claimed to have misunderstood the regulation.
“In his mind, he said he didn’t think he was creating an issue, because everyone would have their dogs on a leash,” Lash said. “That’s what he thought.”