Trapping restrictions OKd

Written by Jonathan Cooper, AP June 08, 2012 12:37 pm

Traps can’t be placed within 50 feet of trails

SALEM — The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission voted unanimously Thursday to create Oregon’s first no-trapping zones on public land, but the commission did not take up tougher restrictions on animal snares that conservation groups had requested.

The vote follows complaints that domestic animals had been injured or killed in traps intended for wild animals. Trapping will be prohibited within 50 feet of a public trail and 300 feet of a trailhead or campground.

Animal-welfare groups say trapping can be inhumane and petitioned the commission to beef-up restrictions. They wanted no-trapping zones within 100 feet of trails, along with requirements that trappers check their snares daily and post warning signs.

“It’s a matter of humaneness. It’s a matter of ecological responsibility,” said Bob Sallinger, conservation director for the Audubon Society. “If you catch a non-target animal you have a better chance of getting it out of the trap in time to do something for it.”

Animal advocates say they’ll consider taking their fight to the Legislature or directly to voters.

Trappers say tough restrictions would interfere with their lifestyle and make it tough for some to earn a living. They had the support of farmers and ranchers, who said they need to be able to keep predators away from livestock and rodents away from crops.

Jim Soares, a trapper from Wallowa County, said he was comfortable with the trap-free buffer around the public trails, but a requirement for daily trap-checks would be burdensome and probably result in more traps near populated areas.

“Every trapper I know wants to avoid that,” he said. “The last thing we want is any domestic animals caught. It’s not good for us.”

The state currently requires that most traps be checked every 48 hours, with longer periods allowed for certain types.