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.