Leghold Trap - Photo Library of CongressTrap and snare safety for pet owners becomes important where animals are allowed to run off-leash without supervision. Pets wandering loose on public lands run the risk of encountering a leg hold trap or snare during the winter fur-trapping season. Quick action is vital to preventing injury or making the situation worse.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) has published a guide titled Trap Safety for Pet Owners that can help with an inadvertent encounter with a trap or snare. The Department notes trappers should always avoid setting their equipment near homes or close to popular trail sites. It is also noted that pets should be kept under control and owners need to realize traps may be set in the outdoor areas where they recreate. Traps don’t pose the only outdoor danger for free roaming pets. Many dogs cannot resist confrontation with numerous porcupines found in the woods.   

Some Trap Safety Hints from ADF&G:

  • Know when trapping season is open
  • Keep your animal leashed while walking in the backcountry
  • Watch a demonstration video or attend a trap safety clinic
  • Consider carrying a small trap removal kit

Trap Safety for Pet Owners is available free of charge at ADF&G offices and can be downloaded the Department website. Printed on waterproof paper, it would make a great addition to a daypack. Additional information can be found in a video at the Alaska Trappers Association website. Trapping is a popular pastime across the country. Even if you have personal objections this activity, it is important understand trap and snare safety while in the outdoors.