Monday, February 4, 2019

Viewpoint: Adirondack Trapping and Your Pet’s Safety

raccoon trappingDuring the winter season, New York trappers will continue setting leghold and “Conibear,” or body-crushing, traps throughout the countryside. Their goal is to capture coyotes, foxes, bobcats and other wildlife.

These devices are frequently placed around trails and roads enjoyed by hikers, nature enthusiasts and their companion animals. Unfortunately, pet owners remain largely unaware that such devices could lie in wait, threatening our dogs, cats and other unintended targets.

Trapping is regulated by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and, according to regulations, traps may not be placed on public roads or within 100 feet of a public trail. However, trapping is permitted on state owned land within the Adirondack and Catskill Forest Preserves. There are no requirements for signage to be placed in the vicinity of a set trap.

Every year, loosely defined, out-of-date and poorly-enforced regulations cause needless suffering for untold numbers of animals, including non-target wildlife and companion animals. By design, traps are non-selective and, unlike traditional methods of hunting, there’s no guarantee at all that they will capture an animal the trapper intends to capture. There is little scientific data regarding the selectivity of body-crushing Conibear traps, but one study in Canada found that 43 percent of animals caught by this type of device were non-target species, including flying squirrels, owls and hawks.

Heartbreaking incidents of household pets maimed and killed in hidden traps are well-documented and occur in communities across the state. Two years ago, a dog named Axl was killed within Chautauqua County’s Watts Wildlife Management Area after being captured in a trap intended for beaver.

According to Axl’s owner, her golden retriever did not die quickly in the Conibear trap that caught him. These devices consist of two metal rectangles tightly hinged together, which shut quickly with great force once triggered. While these traps are intended to kill instantly, if they misfire or strike with insufficient force, the animal is subjected to extreme suffering.

Other incidents involving these devices include:

  • In 2017, a stray hunting dog was spotted in Ithaca with a coyote trap on her leg. The trap was later recovered by a Broome County resident with the dog’s foot remaining inside.
  • A cat named Stryker was caught in an illegal snare trap last January and brought to the Central New York SPCA in Onondaga County. To save his life, veterinarians amputated Stryker’s front leg.
  • While being walked along a public trail in Dutchess County, a Siberian husky named Neve was injured after encountering a leghold trap on Thanksgiving Day, 2015.
  • In 2005, a mixed-breed dog named Zephyr, who had been rescued from a hurricane in the Bahamas the year before, was suddenly killed by a steel jawed trap set within a Nassau County nature preserve.

In 2016, two dogs were injured in separate incidents in Franklin County when they both stepped onto traps set near roads. In response, regulatory officials issued a statement saying, “DEC encourages trappers to use common sense when setting traps and to set traps where they cannot be easily accessed by people or domestic animals.”

Pet owners probably find little comfort in knowing that “common sense,” or a lack thereof, is all that separates them and their companion animals from unexpected, serious harm. However, there is an ongoing effort in Albany to update laws governing trapping and to provide greater protection.

mink and muskrat trappingWhile New York’s Environmental Conservation Law preempts local communities from restricting the use and sale of leghold and body-crushing Conibear traps, legislation has previously been introduced in NYS Senate and Assembly committees that would change the law and grant counties the authority to enact local trapping regulations.

Counties may seek to restrict trapping in the interest of public safety, especially as suburban areas expand, where pet encounters with traps can become more frequent. These “home rule” bills were first introduced in 1998 and reintroduced each year since. They’ve failed to gain enough support for passage because of opposition from state trapping organizations. At the town level, some municipalities in Suffolk, Erie and Ulster counties have exercised their authority to limit trapping on town-owned parcels only, which is permitted under state law.

The state legislature and the DEC could also expand its scope and consider laws and regulations similar to those in other states. Nevada law mandates signage warning of trapping in certain parks and recreational areas, and additional setbacks for traps placed near public trails and camping grounds are required in Oregon.

New York’s uniquely diverse wildlife and world-renowned open spaces are treasured and shared by us all. Outdoor enthusiasts can help protect themselves and their companion animals by knowing that traps may be placed in or around recreational areas, often covered, baited or hidden under brush. Citizens can help prevent tragic deaths and unnecessary pain by becoming more familiar with the recreational spaces they frequent, gaining knowledge of local regulations, and lobbying their state representatives to enact sensible changes to the Environmental Conservation Law for the purpose of creating safer communities.

More information about the dates of trapping seasons in the New York State can be found here. Maps of Raccoon, Red Fox, Gray Fox, Skunk, Coyote, Opossum and Weasel trapping seasons, and Mink and Muskrat trapping seasons from DEC.

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The Adirondack Almanack publishes occasional guest essays from Adirondack residents, visitors, and those with an interest in the Adirondack Park. Submissions should be directed to Almanack editor Melissa Hart at

97 Responses

  1. Boreas says:

    Traps are required to have the trapper’s identification information on them. Does anyone know if a trapper can be held liable for injury and death to domestic animals/pets – even if the trap is properly set? When I was a kid we had a 3-legged beagle who lost a hind foot to a foothold trap (mangled then amputated). I’m not a fan of trapping.

    • Paul says:

      Not a trapper, but I have no problem with it.

      It looks like most of these things happen because people are trapping where there is some chance of there being pets running around (souther tier, Long Island). They need to take precautions, there are ways to set traps to avoid these problems. The places I have seen most people trapping in the Adirondacks there is little chance that a domestic animal would ever wander by. A dog or other pet wouldn’t last more than a few days in most of these places before a coyote would kill it anyway. Coyotes don’t like pets running around in their territory.

      Many years ago we run beagles for rabbit hunting in one area of the Adirondacks where there was trapping going on (the trapper was hunting with us). We never had an issue. Guess we were just lucky.

      • Scott says:

        A couple of years back a guy put leg hold traps near the center of several designated campsites at Horseshoe Lake. A guy camping there had his dog’s leg caught. Rangers pulled the traps from the campsites and returned the traps to the trapper. The rangers got in trouble.

        • joan says:

          Scott: they are FOOT hold traps, not LEG hold traps. The rangers got in trouble because it is ILLEGAL to tamper with legally set traps!!!!!

          • Valerie says:

            Joan I have been studying trapping for many years. Leghold traps were called that for a long time. Then when people started protesting their use the name was changed to foothold. I still have trapping publications where they referred to leghold. But what does that name really matter? The animal still struggles to get free whether held by foot or leg. The animal still is killed by the trapper.

            • Ethan says:

              Thanks for pointing out that efforts to “soften” the harsh reality of trapping cannot ever hide the tragic results.

      • Boreas says:


        I was in diapers when this event happened so details are foggy. We lived close to many state game lands in PA. Dad and dog were hunting wabbits on game lands when the dog was trapped. Dad pulled the trap which had no info on it. I also believe this occurred outside of trapping season. It was likely a neglected trap from someone who trapped illegally. He carried the dog to the car and went to a vet to try to fix the mangled lower leg.

  2. Joe Hansen says:

    Two years ago one of my dogs got a front foot caught in a leg hold. No name or id, needless to say that trap will never be used again. The pooch was fine after a few days.

  3. Ethan says:

    All traps are indiscriminate despite the trapper’s level of expertise. I say this because my interest in wildlife connects me to many social media pages which have exposed trapping’s inherent dangers, namely “incidental catch”. This happens multiple times each week so I don’t view them as a rarity. Trappers have a saying within their circles: “Shoot, Shovel and Shut Up” if that tells you anything.
    It’s my understanding that only small conibear traps are permitted on land in certain circumstances but the larger sizes are used for water species such as beaver and they are set along lake and pond shorelines.
    Responding to the question asked above by Boreas, I have never heard of a trapper being held legally responsible for “incidental catch” whether unintended wildlife or domestic pets. They seem to be well-protected by laws favoring hunters/trappers above the welfare of the general public.

    • Paul says:

      Laws favoring hunters and trappers? The ones that tell responsible pet owners to keep their animals from running free? Way more pets get killed by cars running them down then by a trap, like the things noted here? How many pets are killed by cars in Nassau county each day? Shall we ban them? Has anyone been held “legally responsible” for hitting a dog or cat that ran in front of their car? This is a strange argument.
      It’s sad either way but get real!

      • Boreas says:


        Hunting and trapping often occur in the same place – particularly rabbit and bird hunting. Hunting dogs can be very expensive and require many hours of training. This isn’t just about loose pets.

        • Paul says:

          Tell me about it – I have two bird dogs.

          • 3dognite says:

            I’ve never understood why someone with an ounce of sense would compare lethal trapping on public land with dogs and cars.

            It’s called public land for a reason. That doesn’t mean trapping takes priority over any other public use. There’s no other public land user that can legally put a lethal device in the woods with no supervision and leave it there.

      • Ethan says:

        Paul, sorry, but you’re all over the place. Try to make your rebuttal applicable.
        You have info on trappers ever getting fined for “incidental catch”? Please post it. Why do you think the phrase was even coined?

  4. Vicki says:

    50 years ago, the population of the United States was half of what it is now. With our country’s population doubling in the last 50 years, there are that many more people utilizing our public lands. It is no longer safe to have traps on our public lands. Every week during trapping season I read about someone’s pet getting caught in a trap somewhere in the US on Public Land. Sometimes, it’s an ok ending with the pet having injuries that will heal and the owner traumatized and left with an expensive vet bill. Other times, it has a very sad ending with a pet being caught in a conibear trap or snare with the owner only being able to watch their pet die a slow, painful death, unable to free them People’s pets are like their children, so visualize a child struggling in a conibear trap or a snare and all you can do is watch them die. There really is no difference. One pet lost to traps on our public lands is one too many. This is 2019, not the era of the Mountain Man. Trapping is indiscriminate and inhumane and it is time for them to be banned from our Public Lands.

    • JohnL says:

      Vicki Said: “People’s pets are like their children, so visualize a child struggling in a conibear trap or a snare and all you can do is watch them die. There really is no difference.”
      Yes, there is Vicki. There’s a HUGE difference. To equate the value of a dog or cat with a child is just sick. Keep your dog or whatever under control and don’t let them run free! Dogs running around the woods will run down deer or other animals and kill them. Trapping is legal and well controlled. Move on.

      • Boreas says:


        Small-game hunting with dogs is perfectly legal. If trapping was “well-controlled”, I doubt this conversation would be happening. I don’t have much sympathy for pets running free either, but they aren’t the only non-target animals being injured and killed. Bait is bait and many animals are attracted to it. The indiscriminate nature of trapping is no different than a “hunter” in a blind shooting anything that moves.

  5. Paul says:

    I have seen more dead cats on the road killed by cars (or trucks) in the last year myself than the 4 incidents listed here. Sad.

    • Balian the Cat says:

      You make a fair point, Paul – but traps are set to kill animals, people set out in their vehicles with other intentions. While I assume that all the dead animals involved are the victims of an “accident”, I do believe there is a difference.

      • Paul says:

        I agree to some extent, but the non-target species are being trapped accidentally.

        Trappers are not out there trying to intentionally catch pets or domestic animals.

    • Boreas says:


      Many dead cats on the road are either abandoned or feral. Another problem entirely.

      • Paul says:

        And many are pets that people allow to run free. The same ones that help kill about 2.5 billion birds in the US alone each year. If you let your cat run free outdoors you are not an environmentally friendly person. Domestic cats running free are the number one ranked human-caused threat to wildlife.

        • Boreas says:

          Paul, my only point is there are a lot of feral and abandoned cats roaming the woods and fields. They likely survive on birds and rodents entirely. Not all these bird kills are from Fluffy being let out at night. Think of farm cats as well. What fraction of the bird kill is from feral/abandoned cats and what is from domestic pets would be a very fuzzy estimate at best. Usually these estimates are shown as “as many as” estimates based on how many birds a cat “can” catch in an average day extrapolated to an annual figure. IMO, we should be paying more attention to eliminating feral and abandoned cats as they can multiply quickly.

          Compare sometime with window-strike and tower guy wire fatalities. It seems surprising we have any birds. The fact that we do shows that many species are pretty resilient to chronic predation and population loss. But many more “specialized” species are definitely in decline – usually due to over-competition by these more resilient (and often introduced) species or simple habitat loss.

  6. Chuck Parker says:

    Trapping has long been accepted and is needed as a conservation tool. The trapping season is defined and limited in time. Today’s trappers have the ability, while not perfect, to design trap sets that are meant for specific targeted species. A responsible pet owner, knows that trapping is a legal activity. They should know the season dates, and their pets need to be leashed of somehow controlled in areas where trapping may occur, during these times. This is not a novel or unique concept. We already have leash laws in effect to protect deer.

    Pet owners should also come together with the trappers and support legislation that would allow the use of cable restraints by trappers. A cable restraint as the name implies, simply retrains an animal. When the trapper checks his trap line and finds a non targeted animal in the restraint the trapper has the means of releasing that animal relatively unharmed and with no long term negative effects. What a positive tool this would be for the trappers and it would offer a greater degree of protection for your pet.

    No ethical trapper makes a trap set with the intent of putting a domesticated animal at risk. No ethical pet owner knowing that trapping is legal should pet their pet at risk by allowing the roam uncontrolled during the trapping season.

    • Ethan says:

      Chuck Parker,

      Trapping as a “conservation tool” is a subjective statement.
      (Relaxed) Cable restraints are not wanted by non-trappers. Just another “soft” sell to a gullible public. Though some may wish cable restraints to be more humane they have too often proven to have the opposite effect on the trapped animal. That was told to me by a trapping instructor. Also, it was horrifying to read an extensive study by scientists and veterinarians on the non-visible effects of cable restraint snares.

  7. Jeff the trapper says:

    I think you should get more facts about trapping before you write articles. Modern traps are very humane. I can put my hand in modern traps and not get hurt.

    • Jim S. says:

      How can you describe the destruction of an animal humane? Killing is never humane.

      • JohnL says:

        I assume you’re a vegetarian, Jim. I’m not, so, horror of horrors, I favor using animals for food (both commercial and hunting), clothing, shelter, etc.

        • Jim S. says:

          I don’t condemn people for eating meat, however using the term “humane” for killing is absurd. The animals who lose their life in traps suffer incredible trauma.

          • Nate says:

            You really should educate yourself a little on the subject before you spout off. The animals do not “suffer incredible trauma” in the traps that are utilized today. Google “Best Management Practices”. Believe it or not the traps used today are scientifically tested and approved to be used. The author is a HSUS shill. How much of every dollar donated to HSUS went to saving animals Mr. Shapiro? Hint, about the same on average, as what went out from the Clinton Foundation….

            • Valerie says:

              Organizations like HSUS have programs that help people know how to deal with animals humanely. The more people learn about that the more animals are saved from suffering and death. It would be nice if you would be able to learn more about the valuable employees that HSUS has. Also, common sense should tell you that a trap that can hold a frantic, struggling animal for hours is hardly a pleasant device. At the trappers’ seminars I attended it was stressed how to set and stake a trap so that it wouldn’t allow the animal to get away. Also, I learned about drowning sets…traps that hold beavers under the water. One trapper even told how a beaver was still alive when he got there so he used his boot to hold the beaver under water until he died. So no matter how padded etc. traps are, from what I learned at the trapping seminars I attended it is the whole being trapped experience that must cause trauma…not just the trap itself.

            • Jim S. says:

              I have viewed several pro-trapping videos on-line and every shot of a trapped animal showed a traumatized animal struggling for life. Trapping is a horrible way for an animal to die. Just because it could e worse does not make it humane.

        • Suji says:

          I believe hunting for food is a good thing, too, but just curious, how does one use animals for “shelter”? Prehistoric humans made huts from mammoth bones, of course, but now that the mammoths are no longer with us, how does that work? Deer antlers for tent poles and deer skins for cover? Or does one just snuggle up with a hibernating bear for warmth on a cold winter night? 😉

    • Valerie says:

      I guess your opinion of “humane” differs from mine. I have spent days at trappers’ conventions and listened to experienced trappers’ presentations. They instructed how to set traps so that the animals wouldn’t escape when they struggled to get out the of the traps. Some animals such as beavers escaped by losing a foot. Trappers’ own photos and videos showed coyotes frantically trying to escape—there was a large circle of dirt where green used to be before the animal’s struggle to escape dug up the grasses. You may put your hand in a trap (traps’ force can be adjusted) but have you ever had the trap shut so tight that you couldn’t remove it and have to spend 24 hours trapped and struggling to get out…no food, no water and be approached by a scary trapper with a bludgeoning tool or gun? Even if the trap on a body part didn’t hurt, the animals’ struggle to get out can cause great harm. Studies have revealed fox with broken teeth for example. Many trappers’ photos online reveal a lot.

    • Boreas says:

      Jeff the trapper,

      How long will you last in that painless trap when it is below zero, or simply wet and cold? Traps are only required to be visited on an intermittent basis which varies by state. Realistically, if people were getting caught in traps on a regular basis, how long do you think it would go on before trapping was reigned in?

      Other than conibear traps (which hopefully kill efficiently), how is any target animal – assuming it is still alive – humanely dispatched by the trapper? The most humane way is a bullet in the brain. On smaller prey, some trappers simply use clubs or their foot crushing it’s head. Other types of underwater sets are designed to drown the prey. As far as I am concerned, you can wrap a trap in velvet but it still doesn’t make it humane.

  8. Joan says:

    Written by a true animal “rights” activist. Knows absolutely NOTHING about what real trappers do, the training they have to take before even being issued a trapping license. The biggest mistake he made was writing this article. The second, not checking his facts. The one trap he was referring to is a FOOT hold, not a LEG hold. My husband is a trapper and has never caught an animal by its entire LEG…foot yet. He has had coyotes caught and actually fall asleep in a FOOT hold trap…never chewed its FOOT off. Trappers, hunters, fishermen/woman…all outdoors people contribute to refuges, etc. that these so called animal “rights” activists enjoy. Stop trying to take our rights away from us. I just wonder how much of the millions of dollars raised for the benefit of animals actually goes to the animals and not into the pockets of people like this author. Say these groups (terrorist in nature) do manage to stop trapping…good luck with that. I guess Mother Nature will then manage the wild animals that trappers and hunters control now. Let’s see…trappers harvest animals for their fur, which is a renewable natural resource that people actually like to wear. Hunters harvest animals not just for the thrill of it, but to feed their families. Not everyone goes to grocery stores to buy their chemical filled “meat” to feed to their families. How does Mother Nature control animal populations? DISEASE such as rabies, mange, distemper…far more cruel than being harvested by trappers and hunters. So Mr. Animals Rights Terrorist, stop “contributing” your agenda to those that don’t appreciate it. And if this publication keeps publishing crap like this, guess it’s time to stop reading it. See how many animal rights people keep you in business.

    • John Warren says:

      Your use of terrorist is outrageous and you should be ashamed.

    • Balian the Cat says:

      Lots of people make the statement “if (fill in the blank) happens/continues to write this kind of story, I will cancel my subscription/stop reading, etc!” And then they keep buying, talking, watching… Be the kind of change you want to see, Joan and do it! The sooner the better.

    • Boreas says:

      “Stop trying to take our rights away from us.” Trapping, hunting, and even driving are not “rights”. They are considered privileges regulated by the state. Break the rules – lose the privilege. Most trappers, hunters, and drivers obey the rules/laws. But we all pay the price for those who do not. Don’t blame the press for reporting the down side of your chosen hobby or vocation. Many illegal hunting ‘tips’ are called in by responsible hunters, and I would hope the same is true for trapping.

    • Boreas says:

      “How does Mother Nature control animal populations? DISEASE such as rabies, mange, distemper…far more cruel than being harvested by trappers and hunters.”

      I realize this is mostly semantics, but while I believe nature can undoubtedly be harsh, severe, uncompromising, and deadly, I also believe the term “cruel” should be reserved for BEINGS that have the option not to inflict pain and suffering on another being, but instead choose to do so. In other words, I feel “cruelty” is something virtually unique to modern humans, since most other animals kill as a survival strategy. Just an opinion.

    • Ethan says:

      How do you consider those who extract nothing from the woods and fields to be “terrorists”? lol. They rarely if ever even carry a weapon.
      Mr. Shapiro has as much right to express an opinion as you do and there are many who appreciate it.
      Perhaps you should tread carefully before you slander people.

  9. Jack Beckwith says:

    You’ve listed very few cases compared to people out trapping. And most of the cases you have listed aren’t even in the Adirondack park or recent. Very misleading liberal article. As usual.

    • Boreas says:

      These are incidents that have been reported. Do you suppose every trapper reports every non-target species injured or killed? Do you suppose poachers who use traps or firearms illegally report themselves? Do you suppose increasing each ECOs patrolling range due to state budget constraints makes it more or less likely to catch offenders? Misleading & liberal? Get real.

  10. Evan Michael Higgins says:

    It sucks immensely that pets get caught in traps. I would like to see stats on how many traps are set per season and how many pets get stuck in them. Stats are the only reasonable way to understand the whole picture. I’m a trapper. Never had any incidents. A good friend traps like a fiend all over the North Country and has never told me he has accidentally trapped any pets. Stats before moral indignation, please.

    • Boreas says:

      “Stats before moral indignation, please.”

      First, these stats would need to come from trappers, since they are the only ones to check their trap line unless an ECO is monitoring it as well. Second, not all non-target animals caught in traps are feral or loose pets. In more open areas out west, federally protected species of raptors and other birds fall victim. For many people, moral indignation doesn’t only apply to Fluffy and Fido.

      As you likely know, a very conscientious trapper isn’t likely to catch feral or tame pets or even non-target species. I agree – solid statistics would be very revealing. But poachers (people who disobey regulations and guidelines) are not necessarily conscientious, and aren’t likely to report their illegal catches.

  11. M.P. Heller says:

    I haven’t trapped in years. It’s a very time consuming activity and I simply don’t have the time anymore. I still renew my license to trap though, in case at some point the desire or need arises.

    These types of highly emotional opinion pieces, while rather amusing, are indicative of an under informed author using their platform to wade into the shallows of the environmental politics of the 21st century. The comments in response show the same lack of knowledge and emotional response amongst the general public when it comes to the topic of trapping.

    We see this same type of behavior over and over again from basically the same subset of the population at the beginning of each hunting season. The dire warnings from concerned “authors” extolling the virtues of being clad in copious amounts of bright orange clothing in order to avoid being killed by hunters while pursuing recreational activities during hunting season. This despite the fact that the amount of hikers being shot is nil, and not because of warnings to wear orange.

    There will always be the shrill voices in the crowd who fear monger and think they are providing a valuable public service. The sky is always falling for someone.

    • Dan says:

      A few years ago a group of us were kayaking in the Dunhams Bay fen (Lake George) in early April when we came upon a male mallard duck splashing around. He was in a small foothold trap, likely set for muskrat. After I set if free, unharmed, the others in our group said they would never have known how to do that.

      If there were ever any awareness campaign at all about trapping, especially for pet owners, it should be a lesson in how to free one’s pet from a trap; both conibear and foothold. It’s simple IF you know what to do.

      I’m not a trapper, but I have taken the course and respect the woodsmanship of an ethical trapper as much as anyone in the woods. It has gone on for centuries and is managed in manner that does not affect wildlife populations. Leave it be.

      • 3dognite says:

        Footholds are typically nothing to worry about and fairly easy for even someone who has never seen one to release

        Body grips are a completely different story.
        Not only are they lethal within minutes but they aren’t intuitive at all.

        As a bird dog owner, I have no problem with footholds… however a lethal baited set on public lands is an entirely different story.
        There’s not one other public land user that’s allowed to leave a lethal object in the woods and not be held accountable for it’s actions

  12. Charlie S says:

    Joan says: “trappers harvest animals for their fur, which is a renewable natural resource that people actually like to wear.”

    I don’t know anybody who wears furs and it’s been years, if not decades, since I’ve seen such. Polyesters are all that is needed to keep warm…and wool. The excuse to trap animals for their furs to keep humans warm is a poor excuse.

    • Nate says:

      Just because you do not wear fur, does not mean it is not worn today. Just Sunday I saw a man wearing a fur coat. It was at halftime of the Super Bowl. Polyesters come from oil, so you are cool with us drilling for more oil to replace the renewable resource, you know, fur. Trappers trap the surplus stock of the population. These are the critters above the capital stock that the habitat can’t support. They are going to die anyway, Mother Nature is much more cruel than trappers. Just look at a coyote with mange that is going to freeze to death, after it has scratched all of it’s fur off in an attempt to get rid of the mites that cause mange.

      • Charlie S says:

        Fur is outmoded it is not necessary. In them pioneer days fur was necessary in order to stay warm. I don’t see anybody wearing fur. It would be a strange sight to see, an anomaly…is how much I just don’t see it. I’m just saying Nate!

        “Just Sunday I saw a man wearing a fur coat. It was at halftime of the Super Bowl.” Why doesn’t this surprise me? Who won by the way…the Mets or the Dodgers?

      • Charlie S says:

        “Trappers trap the surplus stock of the population. These are the critters above the capital stock that the habitat can’t support. They are going to die anyway….”

        So you’re saying trappers are very selective in each animal they torture? That all of these trapped animals were going to die soon thereafter, not years later, that they had no chance of a productive life that would go on a few more years at least?

    • geogymn says:

      Shaving the coat off a sheep is cruel.

      • Suji says:

        Not really. A sheep’s heavy winter coat can become a haven for parasites as well as dirt, and responsible sheep owners are careful when shaving their animals.

  13. John Reynolds says:

    It’s never necessary to risk killing someone’s dog in order to trap. That is a conscious decision made by the person setting the trap. There are always many alternative methods of catching an animal that do not risk the life of a dog.

  14. Tim-Brunswick says:

    This is an endless discussion, but I’ll weigh in anyway with a couple of points and I won’t respond afterwards, nor look back:

    First….Boreas is against almost anything and has a contrary opinion and/or knows more than anyone else on this forum no matter the topic.

    Brian Shapiro is obviously a mouthpiece for HSUS, one of the most aggressive and anti-hunting, trapping and probably fishing organizations in this Country. He makes makes a poor showing of trying to present an unbiased article, which is rife with half-truths and exaggerated incidents. It’s the “ADK Almanac” who should be ashamed for providing the room for this type of article.

    Too many animal rights advocates are indeed fanatical and prone to taking illegal measures to promote their beliefs, which most definitely does brand them as “terrorists”, contrary to John Warren’s officious reprimand to “Joan”.

    I’ll wager that of the anti-trapping responses herein..75% to 80% feel very comfortable paying another to kill for them in order to eat meat and/or wear leather or fur clothing/accessories….oh…but that’s different??

    I am a trapper and proud of it. This year alone several families have turned to me to help them resolve wildlife control issues on their property. I do not charge for helping them and not one of their pets was harmed.

    Thank you

    • Boreas says:

      “I am a trapper and proud of it. This year alone several families have turned to me to help them resolve wildlife control issues on their property. I do not charge for helping them and not one of their pets was harmed.”

      Yes you are a saint. Just don’t get caught without a current nuisance wildlife control license.

      • Tim-Brunswick says:


        Get your facts straight….you do NOT need a Nuisance Wildlife Control license to trap furbearers in season and I only trap in season or under a permit. As far as getting “caught”….I abide by all the regulations in effect.

        You might consider doing a little research before you try to slap somebody on this site. You are out of your league criticizing this trapper!

        Thank you

        • Boreas says:

          My research is fine. It depends on what you are trapping, where and when. Nuisance wildlife are typically close to houses which isn’t covered by a trapping license, nor does a license protect you out of season. Obviously if you are abiding by trapping regulations you are fine. I was just pointing out that trapping nuisance wildlife can fall under other regulations. The only facts unavailable to me is the truth of your actions. If you are indeed abiding by the law, I apologize and please continue.

          • adkDreamer says:

            The nuisance wildlife in this forum is… wait for it… Boreas! Comment on every article, comment on comments, fabricate false narratives, troll as many articles and comments as possible, blah, blah blah. Tim-Brunswick ‘trapped’ you rightly on this one.

            • Boreas says:

              “Yes you are a saint. Just don’t get caught without a current nuisance wildlife control license.”

              You both seem to have read a lot into a simple statement.
              Another simple statement that surfaces often on this site:

              “Ad homenim attacks serve no purpose in an objective argument.”

              “Blah, blah, blah.”

              • adkDreamer says:

                No one is reading anything into anything other than you as this forums defacto ‘troll’. Ha ha ha! You loose again!

  15. Charlie S says:

    “I am a trapper and proud of it.”

    > There’s that word ‘proud’ again. Proud people give me the jitters. I have a book which defines this word best:

    “Pride, by a great mistake, is commonly taken for a greatness of soul; as if the soul was to be ennobled by vice: For that pride is one of the most enormous of vices, I think no reasonable man can dispute: It is the base offspring of weakness, imperfection, and ignorance: since, were we not weak and imperfect creatures, we should not be destitute of knowledge of ourselves; and had we that knowledge, it were impossible we should be proud, but, on the contrary, true humility is a certain mark of bright reason, and elevated soul, as being the natural consequences of them.”
    From “The Hive or A collection of thoughts on civil, moral, sentimental and religious subjects” Holbrook and Fessenden 1826

  16. Todd Eastman says:

    Ah, the trapping lifestyle…

    … a political statement as the horizon vanishes…

  17. Charlie S says:

    “This year alone several families have turned to me to help them resolve wildlife control issues on their property. I do not charge for helping them and not one of their pets was harmed.”

    Wildlife control issues! Chipmunks running rampant. Woodchucks digging holes. Squirrels going after bird feed. Kill them all! There are humane ways of trapping animals and relocating them but the lazy,cold,heartless,empty man will seek the easy way out and kill them outright. Tim-Brunswick utilizes those sticky mouse traps…those horrible little cubicles where the mice step in towards an odor and is forever stuck until it dies days later at minimal, no water or food to sustain it while it suffers that most horrible of deaths.

    I knew a man who did not like squirrels getting into his gardens. What he did is set up a live trap to catch these squirrels one by one, walk them down the road to the pond, place the trap in the water until no more bubbles surfaced. I kid you not! He was a Bush and Trump man which I only raise so as to note an awareness…that every person whom I know with such cold, heartless natures as noted above….are all tories. Coincidence? Am not sure but it is what it is and as I say, I am only raising an awareness.

    A man who takes pride in the killing of a defenseless, beautiful animal lacks conscience and soul….nothing less!

    • Paul says:

      A man like Teddy Roosevelt, Jimmy Carter, take your pick there are lots of great men (and women) who hunt and fish or who have hunted and fished. They all lack conscience and a soul? Just like all the farmers. Chuck at least you are consistent.

      The worst are these vegetarians or vegans that have the gall to walk up to a defenseless plant (that science tells us does sense lots of things around it and respond) and kill it without it even having the ability to try and run or swim away!

      • Charlie S says:

        I am not against hunting Paul and I see where I could have put my words in a different light but still, there is a lot of senseless killing of animals, even by hunters and trappers, in which ample examples can be cited.Your vegetarian, vegan, plant analogy is cheesy by the way

        • Paul says:

          How is hunting not killing a defenseless animal as you describe? It’s what we do as hunters, I am one, never had one shoot back at me? Like I said they can and do often run away when they sense me.

          Of course your comments make it clear that you are anti-hunting and anti-fishing, there is no other logical explanation. Its fine.

          Cheesy? Explain how it is not accurate.

      • Suzanne says:

        Teddy Roosevelt was indeed a great man in many respects. As a child I read all his books, including the one about big game hunting in Africa, and found his adventures thrilling. That was then, this is now, and killing an elephant or giraffe in order to have its head mounted on your wall is not, in my opinion, a good thing. Wildlife all over the world are being decimated–tigers and snow leopards in India and Nepal, elephants in Africa.

        I am not a vegan or a vegetarian. My father was a hunter and I cherish the memories of all the times he and I sat out on the old stone wall in our woods waiting for the wily deer or grouse to show up. (We probably talked enough to scare any game away, but we were happy just being there.) He taught me to shoot, and gave me my first rifle, his old twenty-two, when I was 12. I shot woodchucks with it. I like to fish, and I buy meat from from local farmers who care for their animals in a responsible and humane manner. My BF is a bowhunter who brings back two deer a season. As I write this, I am looking at his two trophy deer heads hanging on my wall–not thrilled about that, but at least the rest of the deer went into the freezer, to become Venison Bourguignon.

    • JohnL says:

      Charile S. It took you a while to blame all this on ‘tories’ (euphemism for conservatives/right wingers/Republicans) but, true to form, you made that point. Good job pal, you still got it.
      I don’t want to give you the jitters (well, really, yes I do) but I’m a PROUD AMERICAN. Sorry to set your hair on fire with that statement, but I’m so proud of this country, I just couldn’t help myself.

      • Charlie S says:

        > I cannot take back what I said JohnL and I could be better at emphasizing my point so as to steer away from division but it is the truth and I just raised the awareness and you took offense. United we do not stand. I did not “blame all this on ‘tories’” as you say, I just expressed my experience and my awareness of things that glaringly stand out. Like one hooded klansman and one dude floating a peace sign over his head in a large crowd stands out….there’s a difference and I am aware of it!

        • JohnL says:

          Since you took this into a political issue (“Bush and Trump man” in your comment above), I’ll stay off topic. Speaking of what your other post above says is glaringly standing out, how about that recent picture of the politician that’s dressed as a klansman and another of him made up in black face. Another of your ‘tories’?? No, actually he was of the ‘other’ party. But, I’m guessing you don’t take offense at that.

          • Charlie S says:

            Shame on me for steering political JohnL. There’s no excuse but it’s not like I’m unique in that regard.

            “how about that recent picture of the politician that’s dressed as a klansman and another of him made up in black face. ”

            >How about it? I heard about this. I say get rid of him! I don’t like either party JohnL, but one is ‘glaringly’ a threat to all things good on this planet than the other. To think otherwise would only mean some of us (too many) have different value systems.

    • Dan says:

      My guess would be that Tim-Brunswick legally traps beaver in areas where they are flooding people’s property, including driveways, and gets called in to take care of the problem. It happens more often than you might realize. If that’s the case, I say keep up the good work, Tim!

      • Boreas says:


        I agree. Wildlife control officers are often called to help with problem wildlife if a typical hunting or trapping license will not do. They are trained and permitted to avoid the issues mentioned in the article. As long as the trapper/hunter has all the necessary permits, all’s good.

        • adkDreamer says:

          Blah, blah, blah this forum’s toll wants everyone to have the perfected permits. You should be required to have a ‘troll permit’ for all the crap you spew on nearly every article, every comment, comments on comments, it never ends.

          • Paul says:

            Dreamer, settle down. Pretty much all the comments I have seen here by Boreas have been very thoughtful and add to a very interesting dialogue.

            • Boreas says:


              He won’t – he’s my stalker on this forum.

              • adkDreamer says:


                • Suzanne says:

                  I, too, find Boreas’ comments interesting and thoughtful. He is never rude, hostile or disrespectful toward others, as certain other commenters sometimes tend to be. And of course, if one finds any comments boring, one can just skip past them.

      • Charlie S says:

        There’s such a thing as live trapping. A soft heart,a little imagination and patience is all it takes.
        People’s property being flooded! Maybe we’re just taking away too much open, wooded and green space, and just maybe we shouldn’t be building in certain areas. That thought came up after the now famous Camp Fire out in California. Maybe it’s time we start thinking about what remains of the wild things not just us humans….for a change. I’m all for that!

        • Boreas says:


          I agree. People desire to build new homes in wild settings. Then, once they are there, wildlife become a nuisance or danger and must be “controlled” to protect the owner’s safety and investment. Mankind’s supposed “dominion” over nature. Same issue with fire-prone areas that naturally burn every few decades. To me, this is why the newer “clustering” techniques of rural development make sense if expansion into wild areas continues to be promoted. With global populations still growing rapidly, we certainly need to figure out where and how people are going to live.

  18. Mike says:

    Just so everyone knows the actual truth regarding the Siberian Husky Neve. The owners of the Siberian Husky walked right past the sign that said the trail was closed for maintenance. See the property owners had a trapper come in to remove unwanted beavers that were flooding a trail. So I guess it’s alright to blame the trapper when the DOG owners caused the problem.

    Regarding Snares, Snares are illegal in NYS. Anyone setting a Snare needs to be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

  19. Robert swatling says:

    Remember, dogs on lands inhabited by deer are REQUIRED to be on a leash. Furthermore, loose dogs and cats are very detrimental to wildlife,especially young animals and animals in deep snow.Another point is I do not want your dog coming up to me or my family in the woods or on a trail. I do not know your dog, I do not want to know your dog. Keep your dogs at home or on leash.

    • Paul says:

      This is interesting. I have hunted rabbits and birds for my whole life with dogs and of course, we are hunting on lands inhabited by deer (all of the woods in NYS). It is difficult to do this with them on a leash?

      • Boreas says:


        Tougher yet is trying to shoot while holding your dog on a leash. Or for that matter, trying to keep up with the dog while swimming out to get a duck. ; )

    • adirondackjoe says:

      Robert hunting dogs ( bird dogs coon hounds beagles etc)
      are NOT required to be on a leash. Check your facts befor posting.

  20. adirondackjoe says:

    This debate is endless. I am a life long hunter and outdoorsman. I live to run my beagles. I have NOTHING against trapping but I had one of my beagles caught in a coyote trap 10 years ago. He almost died. My question to all you trappers is why can’t you post something ( ANYTHING ) to let us know that you have traps set in the area? If I come to a trail head to run my dogs and see a ‘ trappers flag ?’ set up and I know someone has sets there I’ll gladly go somewhere else. As for keeping dogs on a leash, why should a family cross country skiing on the jackrabbit trail in Gabriel’s be required to keep there lab on a leash when he never gets more than 30 yards from them? That dog was injured there in 1991. I found the trap in an old covert.

    • Russell Hausmann says:

      These same people that wrote this artical would tamper or steal the traps that’s why a trap line is not marked

    • William Longmeet says:

      Joe, flagging traps or even flagging just the trail head sounds good right up until an anti follows your tracks and takes your traps. I am not sure there is a good answer but in this day and age declaring you have traps out is inviting the problem. Sure there are anti harassment laws on the books but in their eyes if saves an animal they are justified. Doubt that? Just reference the, “scary trapper” statement above, it speaks volumes.

  21. Mike says:

    The authors should also be notified that DWI’s cause more deaths to pets and people than trapping does.

  22. adirondackjoe says:

    No trappers replied.

  23. Earl Taylor says:

    Good morning. Piece on trapping and your animals in the Adirondacks I was a little taken back I’m an avid trapper, outdoorsman and Adirondack Guide. Trapping is one of the most useful tools that teaches us about nature and the Adirondacks . New York has strict regulations against trapping near trails in less it’s a foot trap which any good trapper uses modified traps that just hold the animal there they don’t hurt the animal. The body crushing traps you refer to have to be 4 ft off the ground or in water. Now some young inexperienced trapper may make a mistake which has happened in the past but most trappers are responsible, great outdoorsman. Trapping has been part of the Adirondacks for a hundreds of years. Also there wouldn’t be a lot of our wildlife that we have today if it wasn’t for trappers. We respect the animals that we catch and process. It’s a natural resource and I take my daughter out and they learn more from trapping than anything. We also hike and do many other outdoor activities, but trapping will teach you more than anything. Also most hiking trails that I know state that your dog should be leashed. I understand people let there dogs run and I’m a dog owner but when I hike my dog is leashed. People need to be more educated on what’s going on but I appreciate you reading this. Hopefully, people will be more aware and hopefully take time to talk to a trapper. 45yrs experience in the Great Adirondacks. Thanks Earl

  24. Charlie S says:

    Robert swatling says: “loose dogs and cats are very detrimental to wildlife…”

    Amen to this! Boy could I share some horror stories regards this matter. People can be the nicest people but still….they should not own cats many of them. Just outright irresponsible and all of the misery and suffering because of this. It’s a shame!

  25. Charlie S says:

    “trapping will teach you more than anything.”

    > More power to you Earl. We’re all set up different! I would never have the heart to trap an animal it is just not in my nature. I love animals! People! That’s another whole bag of beans!

  26. Charlie S says:

    Boreas says: ” wildlife become a nuisance or danger and must be “controlled” to protect the owner’s safety and investment.”

    To protect their material way of life Boreas!

  27. Jill says:

    I was working at a paper right out of college when a local woman’s dog was killed in a trap right off the local bike trail. The trap was legally set, except for not being labeled, as the trail is surrounded by state land. It’s a trail used by a couple hundred thousand people every year, in a heavily populated suburb. I think all the town could end up doing was put up signs at trailheads letting people know trapping is legal. Whenever I’m out and see someone with a dog off-leash, I mention the danger of trapping. Most of them look at me like I’m nuts.

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