Trap-release workshop

Carter Niemeyer, a former federal trapper, shows how to use a leash to free a dog from a Conibear trap during a workshop last winter at Teton County Library.

Wildlife managers in the Equality State are taking steps to rework their trapping regulations and setting out on a public process pointed at reform.

Calls for change to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s furbearer trapping rules have been loud at times, especially in the aftermath of incidents that kill people’s dogs. This spring an internal agency working group queried a diverse batch of 140 residents, including trappers and conservationists, to better understand their views on potential reforms. Recommendations emerged, and now they’re taking the ideas to the general public.

“I think this is aimed at change,” Game and Fish Lander Region Supervisor Jason Hunter told the Jackson Hole Daily. “A lot of the recommendations are for more education. That includes letting folks know that trapping is an accepted use on the landscape so they can better prepare themselves — as well as more education for trappers.”

Other preliminary recommendations listed by the department include signing areas that are actively trapped and establishing trap-free setbacks from trails and trailheads. There were common concerns identified around the issues of wildlife and pets inadvertently caught, the trap check periods for snares, and for the lack of monitoring and mortality limits for furbearing species. There was also support for new trap type restrictions and larger trap-free areas.

Game and Fish's Jackson meeting is set for 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Wort Hotel. Subsequent meetings are being held 6 p.m. Sept. 9 at the Game and Fish office in Laramie and 6 p.m. Sept. 10 at The Inn in Lander — which are both being broadcast virtually. Go to WGFD.WYO.gov/meetings to register to attend, and to find trapping reform regulations being considered.

Contact Mike Koshmrl at 732-7067 or env@jhnewsandguide.com.

Mike has reported on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem's wildlife, wildlands and the agencies that manage them since 2012. A native Minnesotan, he arrived in the West to study environmental journalism at the University of Colorado.

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