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Group Calls For Overhaul Of Wyoming Trapping Laws

A local organization is calling for an overhaul of Wyoming’s trapping regulations, saying they haven't been updated since before the de-listing of wolves.

The group—called Wyoming Untrapped--says more people are setting traps since the de-listing of wolves, which are considered livestock predators. The increase has led to more pets caught in snares and leg holds. 

Lisa Robertson is one of the group's organizers.  She says Wyoming's trapping regulations are antiquated.  "There's up to a 13-day trap check for snares and conibear traps.  If you set your trap on a Monday, for instance, that's the trap check for the week.  And then you don’t have to check it for another 13 days.  We feel like this is incredibly inhumane and cruel.  And that we ought to take a new look at our trapping regulations."

She’s particularly concerned that the list of animals classified as predatory—which can be trapped year round-- is too broad.  Bobcats are especially vulnerable, she says.  "Bobcat furs are in demand around the world, especially in China and Russia.  And we are commercializing our bobcat.  And we don't have a quota, we don't know how many are out there.  I think we need to take a look at that."

Robertson says regulations need to require trappers to check their traps more often, limit trapping to a smaller area and post signs that live traps have been laid.  She says several pets have recently been caught in traps.  The group recently posted a website where people can learn more about Wyoming trapping regulations and how to remove their pet from a trap.

Melodie Edwards is the host and producer of WPM's award-winning podcast The Modern West. Her Ghost Town(ing) series looks at rural despair and resilience through the lens of her hometown of Walden, Colorado. She has been a radio reporter at WPM since 2013, covering topics from wildlife to Native American issues to agriculture.
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