A resident’s recent snap decision to set a trap line at the edge of town on Cache Creek endangers hapless pets and public benevolence toward the sport.

In the spirit of coexistence of recreation, trappers should avoid the widely used winter dog-walking corridor. There are many other spots on public land to trap — spots that likely harbor more game because they’re farther from city limits.

When the Cache trapper posted information about his trap line on social media, it was couched more as a warning to those who might be meddling with his mechanisms than a public service announcement for dog owners. The predictable pet owner panic and back-and-forth name calling ensued.

Although trapping has been practiced each winter in Jackson Hole for centuries, the sport is now engaged in by a few dozen sportsmen and -women. It’s a legal and traditional activity; this editorial isn’t focused on its merit.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s trapping brochure reminds sportsmen that “Good hunting/trapping ethics are necessary to preserve hunting/trapping in the future.”

The Wyoming State Trappers Association has several purposes stated on its website, including “to develop and maintain the public image of trapping as a legitimate, desirable and compatible enterprise of modern man.”

Putting a trap line in one of the valley’s most used recreation corridors is not ethical, not compatible with romping dogs and children. It’s not a good way to win friends and influence people. The risk of collateral damage is too great.

The state’s own employees proposed removing trapping from Cache Creek in 2015, a move backed by the nonprofit Wyoming Untrapped, Teton County commissioners and state Rep. Ruth Ann Petroff.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission rejected the idea after one of the commission members said she worried the regulation was “a first step to try to stop trapping in Wyoming.”

Closing the Cache Creek area doesn’t need to lead to a cascade of closures.

Sure, the culture of Wyoming values independence and self-reliance, but it also honors being a good neighbor. In lieu of self-restraint, regulation is necessary.

Closing Cache Creek to trapping is the right thing to do.

This editorial represents the opinion of the News&Guide’s editorial board: Johanna Love, Rebecca Huntington, Kevin Olson and Adam Meyer.

(2) comments

Patricia Snyder

An unbelievably cruel practice that should be totally banned

Lisa Robertson

It was quite a surprise to hear of the trapline set (legholds and quick-kill traps) in one of the busiest public hiking areas in Teton County. This is an obvious display of the crucial need for trapping reform in our state, and the need to also modernize our wildlife management leadership to respond to the needs of the majority public. The slippery slope argument has lost its viability with our evermore educated Wyoming public. In 2015, Wyoming Untrapped initiated a campaign to create trap and snare setbacks off of busy public trails, with a highlight on the Cache Creek area. We collaborated fully with WGFD and the Wyoming State Trappers Association, as well as seeking input from Game and Fish Commissioners. The WGFD in Cheyenne responded at the last hour with a minimal compromise for a full closure of furbearer trapping to close Cache Creek. Even with overwhelming support by our community, the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission voted 5-1 to kill the request. Wyoming Untrapped will, once again, request these closures with a look at additional trap free areas. We will share updates as we move through this process with our community partners. These are the coordinates of the closure areas set by the WGFD in 2015: (F) Beginning where the National Elk Refuge and Bridger-Teton National Forest boundary meet at the town of Jackson; easterly along said boundary to the Gros Ventre Wilderness boundary; southeasterly along said boundary to Noker Mine Draw; southerly along said draw to the Game Creek Trail, (U.S.F.S. Trail 4025); southwesterly along said trail to the Game Creek/Cache Creek divide; northwesterly along said divide to the Bridger-Teton National Forest boundary at the town of Jackson; easterly along said boundary to the National Elk Refuge.

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