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Trap Incidents -- Stories from people throughout Nevada - Pets and Unintended Wildlife getting Trapped

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[via email] I am a life long Nevadan and I lived on a ranch in Smith, Nevada. Some coyotes killed several of our sheep and my father-in-law hired a trapper to come in and trap the coyotes. Problem was, those traps killed way more than the coyotes, and I will never forget that trapper coming out to empty those traps, and talking about the other animals that stepped in them. I could not believe I was hearing those horror stories.

I cannot believe that these laws have not changed in all this time. The trappers need to check their traps at every 24 hours minimum, and if not,they should be punished. Each trap needs to have ID as well, to trace it back to its owner. If you have to have license to own a gun, trappers should be accountable for the deaths they are creating on public lands.

The horror that these animals have to endure is beyond what I can fathom, to let them suffer in them, is cruelty of the worst kind. Torturing anything is immoral and a disgrace. I would like to ask you to do the right thing here and update these regulations for the countless, voiceless creatures, that cannot speak for themselves. To lay dieing, in pain for days has nothing to do with good stewardship, and everything to do with a disgrace. Please help Nevada set a higher standard for trapping.

Thank you for your attention in this matter and it really needs attention.

Kat Simmons
Gardnerville, NV

Summer 2011

I found a trap this summer on the Toiyabe crest trail, it had sprung and looked abandoned.  I have not run into any others over the years. I do not have a dog.


[Email received 110811] I have been asked to send a detailed account of the time my dog was caught in a coyote/bobcat or something trap.

We were hiking on one of the OHV roads about mile or so from the end of Johnson Road.  The dog was off leash but mostly staying within 50 feet of the road, just running around sniffing and enjoying himself doggie style.

As we came over a rise, I heard a horrible yelping and screaming coming from the dog.  I ran to where he was, and saw he had his paw in a trap.  The trap was within 30 feet of the road, less than a mile from a subdivision of houses and was baited with a small white scented piece of rag.  I covered the dog with a coat and released him from the trap.  He limped for a week or so, but was OK.  On observing the area, I found four more traps, all baited, and all within 30 feet of the OHV road.

The only excuse for putting traps in that location is pure laziness and complete lack of consideration for any other users of that land.

Phone 11/17/11

My trial will be Dec. 1, 2011. I am charged with 5 felony counts because I allegedly took some traps that I believed were set illegally. If I am found guilty, my sentence could be one year.
I allegedly also took cameras set up to survey those traps. it is difficult for me to defend myself because I have dyslexia and memory problems. I have a public defender, but he is not familiar with the laws involved in my case.

I hike frequently in Southern Nevada's Red Rock Canyon area. I have researched the Federal Register. By Federal law, trapping is prohibited within the Red Rock Conservation Area. The specific areas where traps are prohibited are clearly indicated.
I found traps in an area where, in addition to traps being illegal, they are near an Indian archaelogical site.
I first saw traps in this area over a year ago. I spoke to various rangers, but none would do anything about the traps. One in a Forest Service area warned me traps were set everywhere, especially in the Kyle Canyon and Lee Canyon areas. This ranger told me many pets had been trapped.
So the first time I came upon the traps in the Conservation Area, I did nothing beyond reporting their presence and my contention that they were set illegally. At that time, the traps were attached by cables to rocks. But a month later, I came upon them again, and this time the trappers had drilled into the solid rock and attached the traps to bolts secured in the rock. This may damage the value of nearby archaeological sites which would be a further reason these traps were set illegally.These are the traps and cameras I am accused of taking.
My case illustrates how the power structure supports trapping, even illegal trapping. I have heard of people getting fines for tampering with traps, but never heard of anyone facing a one year jail sentence.
I want maximum media coverage of my case. It will be very hard for me if jailed. I have a wife and two sons. However, this is "a lesson in civics" for my sons about what happens to someone who offends the power structure that supports trapping.

Nov. 2011

[personal email] This past Tuesday a group of eight senior hikers were exploring Wilson Canyon. Wilson Canyon is east of Smith Valley headed toward Yerington. The highway’s south side of the recreation area is renowned for rock hounding so people traverse all areas of the canyon. One of the hikers almost stumbled into a steel jaw leghold trap hidden behind a rock about 600 ft. from a nice new trailhead that was cut in the “park”.

Families use this recreational area and even more will take advantage now that the land management has taken an interest in developing Wilson Canyon and building trails. This trap finding deeply disturbed all in the group. It’s even more disturbing to discover the laws that protect the trapper. This is what lead to finding your site.

What may we do to assist?

I appreciate your efforts and I’m in agreement with the need for safer regulations. Indiscriminate use of traps is akin to navigating landmines. Our government supports freely placing injurious devices nature-loving people must risk. WOW. This isn’t the 1800’s. You know, Trish, it appears very few people are aware of the trap laws. I sure wasn’t, nor were any in our group. I have to believe when more become aware the noise will get loud enough for regulations to be updated to today’s need.

Thank you for the attention you’re bringing to Nevadans.


“The time has come and gone when it is acceptable to regard this world as a resource to be exploited for the comfort of a single species. Animals with a central nervous system are too much like us to be treated as chattel.” Professor J.B. Neilands