Legislators to propose new rules on trappingby Tom Robertson, Minnesota Public Radio
Bemidji, Minn. — Officials with the Minnesota Trappers Association say they oppose new regulations that would restrict the use of body-gripping traps.
State lawmakers will introduce bills designed to protect dogs from getting caught in traps. At least six dogs have been killed over the past year by the traps, which are designed to kill raccoons, beavers, bobcats and other species.
The bills would require traps set on public or private lands to be either completely submerged under water, or set at least five feet above the ground. The bills in the House and Senate will likely be introduced next week.
Association spokesman Gary Leistico said those new regulations would make the traps ineffective for most species
"I think trappers have done everything they can to minimize non-target catches and they do a very good job of it," Leistico said. "With everything there can be the occasional and unfortunate incident, but we believe the current trapping regulations and the education and training trappers have are adequate to allow for the safe use of the trap."
There may be other ways to protect dogs, said Ed Boggess, Department of Natural Resources fish and wildlife director.
"Other states that have approached this issue have also included options that are on the ground, but they restrict the size of the opening, require the trap to be recessed back into a box where a dog can't get its head back into the trap," Boggess said. "We're going to work with legislators and others to come up with a reasonable approach."