Ultrarunning Edge Blog
Urban Fur Trapping on Running Trails? Print E-mail
Written by Bruce R. Copeland   
Wednesday, 03 December 2008 20:46

Here on the Wasatch Front we're having a VERY late Fall. Many of my preferred mountain trails are free of snow, but extremely muddy! As a result, I've been doing most of my running at lower elevations. That brings me to the problem I've recently encountered: fur trapping on urban trails.

The local National Forest boundary has a game fence to keep deer from coming down the mountains and eating all the tasty landscaping around urban homes. One of our best lower elevation trails follows the game fence, and I frequently run there with one of my sled dogs. Lately someone has been setting wire snare traps in breaks under the game fence to trap foxes. This is illegal along certain parts of the trail and legal along other parts.


I'm not opposed to hunting or trapping in any general sense—in fact I've hunted grouse and pheasant for years, and deer before that. Also as an ultrarunner who spends lots of time in the backcountry, I readily understand the natural balance between predator and prey, and I accept the fact that humans are sometimes the predator. But fur trapping along a semi-urban fence bothers me at several different levels. First, many people run or hike that trail with their dogs or children, and the traps pose an unreasonable hazard. Second it seems unsporting to use breaks in the unnatural fence boundary as the basis for trapping wild game. And last I believe any decent trapper ought to be able to travel at least half as far into the backcountry as an ultrarunner.

Maybe I'm just being a stick in the mud; what do you think?

(Addendum, December 7, 2008) And here's what all this nonsense leads to. The snare was tightly wrapped around the abdomen of the cat (you can see the snare wire in front of the cat's face in the picture). Fortunately we were successful in freeing the kitty.

Comments (5) Comments are closed
tuxedo puss
1 Monday, 09 November 2009 14:48
Laura Fisher
Brian, I am so glad you showed me this and I will show it to Denise. This was someone's pet that you saved. Since my own cat went missing lately I have been amazed at how upsetting it is not to know whether she is alive or dead, etc. Thanks for saving this kitty.

2 Monday, 09 November 2009 17:46
Dear Brian:

Thanks so much, this healthy, sleek cat is clearly a pet and the fact that you didn't lose your fingers getting it free furthers this conclusion. This is truly wrong. There is no sport in putting such traps along the holes in the fence. Imagine what a child would feel seeing her pet bloated and dead 5 days later when the pet didn't come home and the child went looking for her companion.
photo to paper
3 Monday, 09 November 2009 18:01
Dear Brian, one last thought . . . please consider sending your photo to the Herald Journal. Another woman complained last year that her family dog was killed this way and her daughter nearly got caught in the same snare in Sterling. Because the snare was located near an embankment, the daughter couldn't get traction. In the end, the girl was fine, but not her pet. I know the cops were called, but this continues to be legal until there's enough moral outrage for people to complain.
Urban fur trapping redux
4 Wednesday, 11 November 2009 14:03
Laura and Denise:

Last year the traps disappeared soon after I wrote this article. At the time I (naively) hoped they would not return. But this year they have reappeared, and I have personally seen a dead cat, a dead fox, and two live skunks in the traps. Fortunately my sled dog is well behaved and I was able to keep her away from the skunks when we were running past. Last Saturday the traps disappeared again (perhaps the 'trapper' was too chicken to face criticism from hunters on the opening day of pheasant season).

The Utah Department of Wildlife Resources guide book on trapping clearly directs trappers to "Avoid setting traps near trails that are frequently used by people and dogs during the trapping season." Unfortunately it appears this admonition doesn't have the force of law. If the traps reappear again, I think we will need to send complaints to DWR and see if we can get a story about this in the press. Perhaps one of us should write a story for the Providence Citizen—though the problem is obviously more extensive than just Providence, UT.

cut the wire
5 Tuesday, 24 November 2009 07:24
Bruce and others

Cut the cable. Often.