Gun Dogs and Traps

Traps are few and far between but here’s some advice just in case.

Most gun dog owners wait with anticipation for fall. It’s a time when they hopefully will get to see the fruits of months of training—good field work by their dogs.

But they’re not the only outdoor types who live for this time of year. From mid-October until the end of December, depending on the snowfall, trappers hit the field in search of prime pelts.

Whiles it is more likely that a gun dog will run unto a skunk or porcupine than a trap during hunting season, the possibility still exists.

Even though trapping peak in the mid-1980’s, one way or another, gun dog owners probably are going to run into this situation. What they have to understand is that the leg-hold or snare traps won’t hurt a dog. They’re not designed to hurt animals.

Ground Trap Diagram

Hunters usually won’t even see a leg-hold trap unless they are experienced trappers. However their dogs might, since the trap, also called a dirt hole set, includes special components, such as feather attractors, lure, and bait.

The first thing to do if your dog steps in a leg-hold trap and gets caught is to try to calm the animal down. Don’t you get excited, that just aggravates the situation. Just very quickly open the jaws of the trap and let him out.

If the dog won’t calm down, throw your hunting vest or jacket over it.

There are just two releases on either side of the trap. The dog usually will be really surprised and startled, but there will be no damage.

Hunters could run into snare traps, but they are very well regulated. If a dog is caught in a snare, try to quiet the animal down and punch the clasp that holds the wires tight.

The third type of trap that may be encountered is the conibear. These are used only in water, typically under the ice for beavers, and aren’t used early in the season.

It’s very unlikely that hunters will encounter a predator in a trap, since trappers are required by law to check their traps daily. But if you do, I caution that it is illegal to disturb the animal or the set.

The best way to deal with traps is prevention.

When you go to ask for permission to hunt from a land owner, ask if anyone is working the area.

Usually a trapper will use one ore two sets in a one-square mile area, so the chances are real slim of running into one.