Friday, April 13, 2012

Trapping around People and Pets by Tim Julien

Trapping around People and Pets

What’s changed? Changes in wildlife populations in and around public areas and or are public areas around wildlife. The bridge you have always trapped under for mink and Raccoons now is in sight of two subdivisions, complete with eight-year-old boys and free roaming or temporarily escaped pets.

The landscape has changed and people habits and values are always changing. For sure we know that you have no idea who else is there.

Legal or Right, there is a difference. Even if a method is legal to use the choice to use it is the trappers, as well as the consequences. Yes I can and I have a right to do it will not carry very far in the court of public opinion. Recently 3-20-12, I learned that the latest ploy to ban traps is to demand that Children be kept safe from Traps. There is no documented case anywhere anytime that a child has ever been captured in a foot hold trap, yet the CT legislature thinks it necessary to create laws to protect children for the danger of these traps and therefore they must be banned? Comes down to public opinion, to protect your right to use these tools we must protect them for Public Opinion. Some regulatory agencies understand the need to protect these tools and will stand up to say while others have been beat up so bad over the years that they take the path of least resistance. We need to think about why and where we use devices so that we maintain the choice to use them. Because:

Even if you are Legal you might be Wrong in the Court of Public Opinion. Many unfair regulations have been enacted based on a single event. One emotional accident can cause unfair changes affecting many aspects of wildlife management. Indiscrete drowning of a raccoon has caused a lot of regulatory changes in CT. And the outlawing of bodygrip traps in NE was all about a domestic animal being captured in an illegally set trap…… by an illegally roaming Dog.

How to decide if People or Pets might be exposed to your equipment.
Today’s technologies provide many options, however Personal interviews should not be excluded from your investigations. You must speak to those other than the one doing the hiring; an agenda might cover relevant facts. After you have gathered information, verify it!! That is where technologies come in. Trail cameras are available at all price ranges. Some send the pictures to you VIA text messaging. It pays to delay and evaluate. Google Maps and other software are available free and can be used to provide a very detailed overview of the area around the complainants’ site or potential trapping area.

Farmer says “Sure I need them coyotes gone and there are no pets around my house.” A quick Google map review shows a subdivision of fifty new houses at the far end of his 600 acre property. Safe to set? Sure, but now you have information on where to set and what type of set or trap to use. Reverse the situation and assume the neighborhood called you to help trap Coyotes killing dogs in the neighborhood. Back up out of the neighborhood, seek permission from land owner to set traps on the 600 acre farm away from the other pets to target the offending Coyotes. In the neighborhood you can assume other dogs and pets are free roaming and would limit the types of traps possible to use. Trap on the farm away from the neighborhood and use the most effective traps available for Canine….Footholds. If it is not a possibility, then you can choose to use a species-specific trap such as the Collarum and set in the backyards targeting only canines.

So the main points are to know the attributes of your equipment, i.e. is it species specific and what species might be exposed to the device.
Learn How to minimize the real risk and the perceived risk.

Set construction; such as covering a groundhog hole to prevent the entrance of Cats or Dogs and still maintaining the effectiveness of the 220 or 160 you placed in the hole. Cover with a half-bucket or simple sheet of hardware cloth. A very simple cheap way of using effective tools and avoiding domestic animals in downtown suburbia or on the remote trapline.

Capture Specific Targets Animals while avoiding others with:

  1. Set construction.
Considering the physical space and motions of target animal to limit other possible captures. i.e. Set made off the ground will avoid all canines. Traps that are small and very close to attractant will effectively capture Fox and avoid all large domestic Dogs (Labs). Set with a step down (Trench) will be available to canines and avoided by livestock.

b. Equipment available.

Species-specific devices, i.e. Collarum,, Dog Proof traps of varied designs are new and very effective. Learn about them and their uses. Snares are one of the oldest tools available and most misunderstood. Definitions and legal wording of regulations prohibit some of the most advanced tools today. They can be as passive as putting a collar and leash on an animal by the simple action of an animal walking down a path. The animal is restrained by the act of the collar closing from the pressure of its body against the cable. The closing can be stopped at any place on the cable with a stop. As an example a snare can be placed in a trail and the coyote or Dog walks along and its head goes thru the snare and the upper part of its body makes contact with h lower edge of the snare loop and the loop closes. The closure stops at the “stop” or the neck of the animal. Now it is on a leash. If nothing is there to entangle, or jump over, or put continued pressure than the animal is there live, to deal with upon arrival. In a city/urban environment that means a twelve to 24 hour check and release or removal of the animal. In a remote area with no chance of capturing a domestic animal the animal is alive and vulnerable to predation by eagles, Lions, Larger predators. In the rural areas that do not have the risk of non-targets then a lethal snare would be a much more humane option, however back in the city, around People and Pets, a Non Lethal Snare, some times called a cable restraint is an absolute must use. Learn about snares, there components and attributes that make them lethal verses non lethal as the situation calls for..

c. Baits and Lures.

Understand the intended reaction of lures/baits from animals and how this can be used to lessen the attractiveness to others, i.e. sweet lures are less attractive to Canines and still very attractive to other predators like Skunks and Raccoons. If you are targeting an aggressive Coyote in spring, a blended flat set with Gland Lure and coyote urine will be very aggressively be worked by a Coyote. A food lure set (dirt hole) would be a maybe, at best for an aggressive Coyote, however very attractive to Raccoons, so if your target was the Coyote it would be better to use the Gland Lure/Urine combination verses a food lure. Trapping with cages are much more forgiving if a non target is captured, however if you are trapping Raccoons in or near areas that are also frequented by people and pets why not use a newer DP from Duke, a Lil Griz or Dagger and eliminate the chance of capturing a Dog, legal or not.

Please provide your thoughts and ideas that might help share this message to WCO’s and Fur Trappers.

Tim Julien

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