Conservation through Science under God

Trapping reform inches forward
Nov 12, 2020 06:59 ET

[Reprinted from original]

The board that oversees Wyoming wildlife will soon decide whether to act on an array of recommended trapping reforms that range from creating trap-free setbacks near trailheads to requiring education for younger trappers.

Other ideas that a committee of Wyoming Game and Fish Department employees endorsed include organizing pet release and non-trapper education workshops, and instituting trapping closures on high-use Game and Fish lands. Those proposals came about through an agency initiative aimed at modernizing and reforming furbearer trapping in Wyoming, partly to decrease conflict between trappers and other public land users.

“We need to get commission support to move forward,” said Jason Hunter, the Lander Region supervisor spearheading the process for Game and Fish.

The Game and Fish Commission, a governor-appointed board, scheduled the recommendations for its Tuesday afternoon meeting.

Some proposals the Game and Fish committee endorsed will require action by lawmakers, Hunter said.

“There’s three things in there that are going to take legislative change,” he said. “That includes setbacks, mandatory trapper education and conservation stamps.”

The state of Wyoming’s wildlife agency launched into the current regulation review after its commission opted last spring not to reopen its trapping regulations ahead of schedule at the request of two advocacy groups: Wyoming Untrapped and WY Trap Free-Mont County. Both groups got off the ground in response to incidents that injured or killed people’s dogs.

Ahead of drafting the recommendations, the Game and Fish committee held a series of public meetings and queried dozens of trappers and other stakeholders to gauge support for different types of reform. The changes the group endorsed had the broadest support, Hunter said.

Trapping-reform proponents say the state’s process is encouraging, but that it’s too incremental and the recommendations don’t go far enough.

“We need action right now,” Wyoming Untrapped founder Lisa Robertson told the Jackson Hole Daily. “We had a trap line in Cache Creek last year, and we want it closed to trapping now.

“We appreciate that mandatory trapping education may move forward,” she added. “However, traps and snares will remain legal directly on public trails, ensuring that additional injuries or death to pets will continue this year.”

There are also trapping reforms that Hunter and the Game and Fish committee did not recommend, but are still on the table pending additional information. Those measures include requiring trappers to report their non-target catch and altering trap and snare check time requirements.

A memo outlining all the recommendations is attached to the version of this story at

The Game and Fish Commission meeting will be streamed via Zoom. The link is posted at

People wishing to provide public comment must request to do so by emailing by Thursday.