An average eight pets per year are killed or injured by traps in British Columbia and horror stories of legal leg-hold traps, snares, and other body-gripping traps begin hitting media as winter comes.
Trapping seasons are opening across much of Canada meaning all outdoor recreationalists, including dog walkers, photographers, bird watchers and hikers, should learn about trapping in their area and be mindful of their presence. The following safety tips can help keep you and your pets safe while trapping activity is occurring:
- Identify trap lines in your area. Contact your local natural resources ministry to inquire about registered traplines in your area, and whether they intersect with trails or recreation areas you frequent. Trappers are not required to post any warnings about their activities, including on Crown land, leaving it to individuals to protect themselves and their families against dangerous traps. You can also communicate with your municipality to determine if they have employed or allowed trapping on their properties.
- Keep pets leashed whenever possible. Many people enjoy letting their dogs roam freely and explore while on trails; however, dogs may be attracted to the bait used by traps just off a trail (there are no setback requirements for publicly accessible trails). Keeping your dog leashed unless in a designated area can keep them safe.
- Learn about traps and how to release pets from them. There are numerous videos online showing how to release dogs (and people) from leg-hold, snare and other body-gripping traps. Having this knowledge can mean life or death for a pet. Click here to see our available videos or search YouTube for others. Please note it is illegal to interfere with a legally set trap.
- Report trapping activity. Illegal trapping is poaching and a serious offense. If you believe someone is illegally setting traps, or they are being set in a way that may create danger for others, please report it to your local natural resources ministry office.
The Fur-Bearers continues to work to make trails and natural spaces safe for all users – including those who call them home. Learn more about trapping activities in Canada, the Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards and other related issues by clicking here.