With some wolf trapping seasons in Idaho opening on Sept. 10, and many more trapping seasons opening in October, upland game bird hunters and other people recreating with off-leash pets are reminded to avoid traps and be prepared to act quickly in the event their hunting or hiking companion becomes trapped.
Most traps and snares are simple in design and easy to operate if you know what to do. Some of the larger foothold and body-gripping traps can be challenging because they require more effort to open, but the principles are the same.
Idaho Fish and Game provides information on how to spot and avoid traps, and what to do if a pet gets caught. Both videos and brochure are available online.
- A 9-minute video, “Avoiding Wildlife Traps While Walking your Dog” shows the variety of traps and snares you may encounter while hiking or walking your dog, and how you can recognize and avoid them. Some traps and trap sets can be very visible if you know what to look for, but many traps will be difficult to spot depending on the species targeted.
- A companion 8-minute video “Releasing Your Dog from a Trap” shows the types of traps and snares likely to be encountered and demonstrates how to release your dog quickly should it get caught.
While traps and snares are rarely encountered by bird hunters, many areas in Idaho have trapping seasons that overlap with upland game bird seasons.
To determine if and when trapping seasons are open in the area they are hunting, upland bird hunters can find wolf trapping season dates on Pages 80-81 of the Idaho Big Game Seasons and Rules booklet, and other furbearer trapping season dates on Pages 31-33 of the Idaho Upland Game, Turkey and Furbearer 2020-21 Seasons and Rules booklet.
Trappers are advised to avoid conflicts by closely following all rules and regulations, including not setting traps close to popular trails, trailheads or areas where people commonly frequent. Trappers are also encouraged to post warning signs near their trap lines to inform recreationists that traps or snares are in the area, which you can download and print from Fish and Game's website.