Hi travelers. I am trying to get word out to those of you who love exploring country with your dog(s) and are going to be heading through Utah between now and February 15th.
Fur-bearer trapping season opened Nov. 19 and runs through Feb. 15th.
What this means is that steel-jawed foothold and lethal neck snare traps can be encountered along any county, BLM or USFS road, in proximity to recreational areas such as lakes, as well as in any remote location in the state. Traps/snares are not required to be flagged or marked in any way.
I am not a rabid activist; I am a wildlife biologist who is working the Monticello, UT region. My year old Airedale Zeke during the 5 weeks I have been working around Monticello has been caught once in a steel-jawed trap (next to Monticello Lake) and twice in a lethal neck snare (once along a BLM and once along a USFS numbered road). I have talked with numerous agency officials and am being told Utah is "trapper-friendly" and trappers are the ones who decide where to place their traps.
So even though it is tempting to take a hike along a Utah remote road or through some rocky cliffed country this time of year please be cautious. Zeke is only alive today because I know how to release a steel-jawed trap and I carry wire-cutters with me in my backpack. Now when I see any sign of people having been in an area I am hiking I make sure Zeke is right next to me.
Don't go by thinking that because the tire tracks look old no one is trapping an area. Trappers are only required to check their lethal neck snares once every 10 days and if they want to wait longer who is going to prove it has been longer than 10 days. So a trapper can leave snares out for as long as they please so long as the snares are picked up by the end of trapping season.
A link to Utah trapping regulations is: wildlife.utah.gov
I'd really like to hear any experience readers have had on this subject. Be safe and enjoy the back-country with your best 4 legged friends! ~Valerie~