Urban Fur Trapping on Running Trails?

Written by Bruce R. Copeland on December 04, 2008


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.