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Keep your dog safe during trapping season

With trapping seasons underway, dog owners are reminded to be aware that there could be traps in areas where they walk or hike.

Traps may be present on public land. Traps can also be set on private land by permission of the landowner.

Dogs running loose can be accidentally captured in legally set traps, causing injury or even death. To keep your dog safe during trapping seasons, take the following steps:

♦ Keep your dog on a leash.
♦ Or, keep your dog in sight and under voice command—don’t let your dog wander off, especially out of sight.

♦ Keep your dog on designated trails and within designated public use areas. Traps must be set a certain distance away from these locations (more information below).

♦ Remember lures and baits used by trappers can attract dogs too (another reason to keep your dog under your control).

♦ Understand how to release a dog from a trap. Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism (page 36 of the 2014 Regulation Summary http://kdwpt.state.ks.us/Hunting/Hunting-Regulations) and Alaska Fish and Game (http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=trapping.sharing) have brochures and videos with detailed how-tos.

♦ Carry the appropriate tools (cable cutter and length of rope) to be prepared in case you need to release your dog from a trap or snare.

Furbearer regulations set restrictions on where trappers may set traps and snares on state and federal lands. Snares are prohibited in dryland sets within 50 feet of the outside edge of a public road or within 5 feet of a fence bordering a public road (landowners and tenants or their family members or agents may use snares in rights-of-way adjacent to their lands). Also, killing traps with a jaw spread 8 inches or foothold traps with jaw spreads greater than 7 inches may only be used in water sets (defined as at least half-submerged in flowing or impounded waters and remains in contact with the water).

It is illegal to disturb or remove the traps or snares of another person. Individuals that see traps they believe are illegally set should not disturb the trap, but contact the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism (Operation Game Thief 1-877-426-3843). KDWPT can identify the owner of a legally set trap through a unique branding number required on each trap.

Kansas has about 5,000 licensed trappers. Persons born on or after July 1, 1966, must successfully complete a furharvester education course approved by KDWPT to purchase a furharvester license or hunt, run, or trap furbearers or trap coyotes on lands other than their own. Course information: (620) 672-5911 or www.ksoutdoors.com.

Most trapping seasons opened Nov. 12 and end Feb. 15 or March 31 (for beaver and otter). A few seasons are open the entire year, such as coyote trapping, but winter is the most popular time to trap because pelts are in prime condition.