Maine Trapping Season: How To Release Your Dog From A Trap
Trapping season has started in Maine. If your dog is inadvertently caught in a trap, here's what to do.
Those who spend time in the woods with their dog should know how to free their animal from a trap. It's not a very common occurrence in Maine. Most traps will not harm your dog. Most land traps are simply meant to hold an animal, not injure or kill it. While your dog may bark and yip, a correctly set and tuned trap is not going to cause any permanent damage. Even wildlife biologists utilize foothold traps to catch and release animals unharmed.
If your dog is caught, stay calm. Again, your dog may be barking or whining, but it's likely only scared. A common practice is to cover the dog's head with a coat. This will prevent your dog from biting you, which happens. Most commonly used land traps are coil spring foothold traps. Releasing an animal is done by depressing the levers on the side of the trap. These leavers can be hard to grip or push down, especially on four coiled footholds. A quick way to depress these leavers is to use your feet. The video above was created by Idaho Fish & Game. The video covers a wide verity of traps, and how to disengage them. It's worth a watch to get a visual of what to do.
Once your dog is free, leash them. Numerous traps are usually placed in traplines, meaning there could be more traps in the area. DO NOT DESTROY THE TRAP. It is illegal to disturb or damage a hunter's trap. If you see an animal in a trap, you can not remove or dispatch the animal. Again, this is illegal. The trapper who set the trap will check it soon, by law.
Maine law states: "It is unlawful to take or disturb any trap, or any wild animal which is caught in a trap, without permission from the owner of the trap. An individual convicted of disturbing traps, will lose any license in effect, and be ineligible to purchase any license issued by the Department [Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife] for 3 years."