[birding] For those of you who go out in nature with your dog(s) ...

Joel Geier joel.geier at peak.org
Sun Dec 22 09:19:21 PST 2013

Just a warning that winter trapping season has started again. Oregon
Department of Fish & Wildlife included an advisory message in their
latest newsletter, with more information at the following link:


Any state or federal land is basically open to trapping, unless
specifically prohibited. According to ODFW, McDonald Forest and E.E.
Wilson Wildlife Area are closed to trapping "except by permit." 

Dunn Forest and Luckiamute State Natural Area are not mentioned. I have
found mink/otter traps in LSNA in the past, and I was once warned by a
friendly State Patrol officer that there could be traps in the North
Luckiamute Cooperative Management Area (the sparrow patch where Bruce
Dugger found a Sedge Wren last winter).

National Wildlife Refuges are also not mentioned, and I'm not clear
whether trapping is allowed there or not. However since dogs are not
allowed on our local NWRs, this is not a pet-safety issue.

The most dangerous traps for pets are snares and Conibear-type traps.
The following link explains how to release the jaws of a Conibear trap
(not an easy thing to do):


For snares, the best bet is to carry a wire cutter, but it's still not

Legally, traps in Oregon are not supposed to be set within 50 ft of a
designated public trail, so dogs on leash should be safe if you stay
along major trails. However, there are a lot of minor/unofficial trails
and game trails out there on public land which are used by birders and

I don't intend to start a discussion of whether trapping or particular
types of traps should be allowed, or whether dogs should be allowed to
go off-leash on public land. I know there is a wide spectrum of opinions
on these matters.

However I know at least one mid-valley birder has lost a dog to a
body-compression trap, and I've had to extricate our dog from a leg-hold
trap that she stepped into she was following within 3 feet of me along a
game trail. So my intention here is to get the word out and avoid any
further incidents, so far as possible.

Good birding,

Joel Geier
Camp Adair area north of Corvallis

More information about the birding mailing list