SALEM Wildlife officials are warning outdoor enthusiasts who are dog owners to be careful in areas where wildlife trapping may be underway.
Dogs running loose have been captured accidentally and injured or even killed in legally set traps, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Oregons Furbearer Trapping and Hunting Regulations set restrictions on where trappers may set traps and snares on state and federal lands.
Traps may not be set within 50 feet of any designated public trail or within 300 feet of any designated trailhead, public campground or picnic area. Also, killing traps with a jaw spread between 7.5 and 9 inches set on public land cannot be placed more than 50 feet from a permanent or seasonal water source.
Dog owners should take the following precautions:
Keep dogs on a leash, or keep dogs in sight and under voice command.
Remember lures and baits used by trappers can attract dogs too.
Carry the appropriate tools, such as a wire cutter and length of rope, and know how to use them to release dogs from a trap.
Be mindful of where and when trapping activities may occur on public lands or on private lands by permission.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife notes that most trapping seasons opened Nov. 15 or Dec. 1 and run to Feb. 28 or March 31. A few seasons are open the entire year, but winter is the most popular time to trap because pelts are in prime condition then.
Traps set for coyotes, bobcats and raccoons are the types of sets most likely to inadvertently capture a dog.
The organization UtahPAWS offers tips on how to release pets from a variety of traps on its website.
ODFW says its illegal to disturb or remove someone elses traps or snares.
People who see traps that may be illegally set should not disturb the trap, but contact Oregon State Police. OSP can identify the owner of a legally set trap through a unique branding number required on each trap.
Find more information and safety tips at www.utahpaws.org.