Proposal to change trap regulations on agenda

Animal-welfare groups will get a government review of potentially tighter wildlife trapping restrictions to protect pets and other nontargeted animals from getting hurt or killed, but it's not the review they sought.

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission on Friday rejected their petition to require that trappers keep away from public trails, place visible marks on their traps and check them daily to reduce what the petitioners see as unnecessary risks trappers pose to others.

Instead, the commission told ODFW biologists to consider these issues during its already scheduled review of all hunting and trapping regulations for 2012-13. The commission is scheduled to set those regulations during its June 7-8 meeting in Salem.

Current regulations expire June 30 and are reviewed and set biannually.

Accepting the petition and moving forward an independent review of the trapping rules would have taken longer because of Oregon's rule-making procedures and public-notice requirements, said Michelle Dennehy, the ODFW's Wildlife Division spokeswoman.

Scott Beckstead of the Humane Society of the United States, which is one of several groups sponsoring the petition, told the commissioners that the issues were important enough to garner a separate review.

The petition came after a half-dozen dogs were caught in traps set near trails in Central Oregon. Also, traps set by federal Wildlife Services agents to catch coyotes at Oregon State University's sheep farm were reported by neighbors to have caught a deer fawn, raccoons and house pets.

Hunting and trapping advocates testified that Oregon already had reviewed and set new trap-checking requirements and that the petition should be rejected outright.

Specifically, the petition sought to require that trappers stay farther than 100 feet from trails on public land and place clearly visible warning signs and their name and telephone number on their traps.

It also sought to require that all traps and snares be checked every 24 hours.

Current rules have check times that vary from 48 hours for furbearer traps set on public land to 30 days for lethal traps set for predators on private property. Traps have identification numbers so they can be traced by the ODFW and the Oregon State Police, but not the general public.

The petition exempted trappers of gophers, moles, mountain beavers, rats and mice on property owned by the person setting the traps.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or email at

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