Overview

Between 2010 and 2017, TrailSafe prevailed with the Nevada Legislature and three of our trap regulation laws were passed in three different Legislative sessions. These were SB 226, 213 and 364. Each will be described below. Contact info@trailsafe.org for more detail.

We approached the trapping issue incrementally; trapping is so politically entrenched in our state that we could not hope for an immediate ban to all commercial trapping on public lands – which is our ultimate goal. So we went for common sense regulations such as:

  • Limiting the areas where trapping is allowed. To start with, it is obvious that trapping should not be permitted in residential neighborhoods or public recreation sites. We got a few miniscule areas grudgingly protected.
  • Shockingly, Nevada did not require any registration or ID on traps. How can law enforcement function with no way to identify offenders? We did succeed getting this measure passed so now every trap set on public land must have either personal ID or NDOW registration number.
  • Requiring more frequent trap visitation. Nevada law required trappers to visit their traps only every 96 hours. This is four days for a trapped living being to suffer horrific torture. Vague language in the final version of the bill led to a year of wrangling with the Wildlife Commission for very disappointing, grudging results.
  • Nevada law set penalties for tampering with a legally set trap. This had to be amended to allow for common sense: allowing persons to free their pets or other domestic animals; allowing persons to move or disable a trap that poses a risk to animals or persons. We did ultimately get this passed.
  • Warning Signs at trailheads. The public overwhelmingly request this common sense regulation. Traps are camouflaged and hidden. The public deserves warning at trailheads, kiosks and visitor centers. We did prevail with this measure. But much of Nevada is Federal land which is not subject to state law. US Forest Service says they will post signs, but communication and coordination have been spotty. We need to pursue this. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has so far not cooperated. NDOW will post signs on their Wildlife Management Areas – again we need boots on the ground to follow up on this.
Nevada State Legislature

Senate Bill No. 226

On June 3, 2011 the Governor signed our bill, SB226, into law. Although it’s not everything we initially asked for, it is a positive development.

The Wildlife Commission is now required by law  to regulate traps in congested areas and to do so by Dec. 31, 2012. The Wildlife Commission whittled away the “congested areas” leaving only a few tiny dots on the map protected from traps. We learned anew the folly of any law that leaves definition up to the Wildlife Commission. “Adopt regulations governing the trapping of fur-bearing mammals in a residential area of a county whose population is 100,000 or more.” fell far short of our goal.

The video tells the tale. The result was miniscule: the protected areas were firearms restricted areas around Washoe County neighborhoods and a patchwork of Las Vegas locations. The vast remainder of the state remained unprotected.

But it was a start and we went on to further legislative efforts.

Senate Bill No. 213

Our second bill became effective July 31, 2013.

Due to this bill, once again Nevada trap registration is mandated. It would seem obvious there cannot be trapping regulation if law enforcement cannot identify the offender. Trappers prevailed in 2015 to have this reversed, but we prevailed once again in 2017 and as of this writing (2021) the law still mandates personal ID or Department of Wildlife (NDOW) registration number upon every trap set on public lands. This was the most successful section of our bill.

But, the final language about frequency of trap visitation reflects the unjustified faith our lawmakers have in the Wildlife Commission. It also reflects insensitivity to wildlife, animals, compassion, suffering. Ultimately we were stuck with vague language granting them almost unlimited leeway to water down our intent. Phrases below in bold proved nearly impossible to define, and what followed was a year of wrangling with the Commission.

“The Commission shall adopt regulations setting forth the frequency at which a person who takes or causes to be taken wild mammals by means of traps, snares or similar devices . . . must visit a trap, snare or similar device. In adopting the regulations, the Commission shall consider requiring a trap, snare or similar device placed in close proximity to a populated or heavily used area by persons to be visited more frequently than a trap, snare or similar device which is not placed in close proximity to such an area.”

Traps

The history of this year of wrangling is a vivid illustration of government obstruction, obfuscation and machination. Watch the video (coming soon) and decide if you want to be a wildlife advocate in the he-man West.