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End of Year Reminders

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A few 'dont forgets,' plus tips to get a dog out of a trap

The snow on the mountaintops, along with the billowing smoke rising from chimneys across the county, signal that it is that time of year to get that snowplow attached, dust off the shovels, and the end of hunting seasons. I hope you all had a chance to get out and do some hunting if that’s your thing, and I especially hope you had some luck putting meat in your freezer.

Your local wardens had a busy season as you can imagine, running from call to call and sometimes playing the role of friendly outdoor referee. Unfortunately, there is a small percentage of people who don’t like to play by the rules and steal the wildlife from you, a citizen of Idaho.  Thanks to all the people who made that call to report these scumbags, it helps us immensely.

I have some end of the year reminders out there for you so bear with me as I jump from topic to topic.

Your hunting and fishing license is no good on January 1st, 2013. If you like to fish or duck hunt, be sure to pick up your new license before that time. I really hate checking people in the field who have forgotten to pick up their new license. Now, for those doing some Christmas shopping who need ideas, purchase a license for your loved one and stick it in the stocking. They will be ready to go for the next year!

If you are a duck hunter, your Federal duck stamp is good through the end of the waterfowl season in January, just be sure to have that stamp attached to your 2012 license accompanied with your 2013 license and you will be good to go!

With hunting seasons coming to end, I would like to remind all successful hunters to properly dispose of their animal carcasses. It’s an extremely busy time for your local conservation officers, but much of our limited and valuable time continues to be wasted by inconsiderate hunters.   

Dumping fleshed out game carcasses is not only illegal (littering), it is also inconsiderate of nearby residents and reflects poorly on all hunters. The practice also distracts already short-handed conservation officers from real poaching cases. 

Please properly dispose of your carcass by taking it to the transfer station, or dispose of it the woods away from roads, private property, and waterways.

Every elk, deer, and antelope hunter is required to complete a Mandatory Hunt Report within 10 days of harvest or within 10 days of the end of the hunt in which the tag was good for. The easiest way to complete this is to go to our webpage and complete the form—it takes three minutes. If you don’t have internet access, you can call our Regional Office and have the office staff complete the report over the phone, or you could visit your local library. These mandatory reports are extremely important in making management decisions in the future, so please take the time to complete them.

Trapping season has started for most of the fur-bearing critters with the exception of bobcat , which has an opening date of Dec 14, and will run through March 31. There are a lot of myths out there about what happens to animals in a trap and there are some legitimate concerns for pet owners. It is the responsibility of a pet owner to keep their dogs from roaming the countryside and it is the responsibility of trappers to be legal and conscientious about their trap placement. Trapping is a highly regulated activity to ensure public safety and integrity of the activity. Most trappers I know are very concerned with not trapping people’s pets and following the regulations. If for some reason your dog gets trapped in foothold trap (which I have only seen twice in my 12 year career), follow these simple recommendations.

Remember, these traps are designed to capture the target animal by the foot and hold it alive until the trapper arrives to remove it. The trap does not crush the bone or do any serious damage to the animal structurally. The foothold trap most likely to be encountered is the coil spring foothold trap. Accidental capture in such a trap with a quick release is not life-threatening. However, the longer the dog remains in the trap, the greater the chances of permanent damage and serious complications. 

Secure your dog by pinning it to the ground or holding it in an upright position. Depending on the individual, the size of the trap, and the size of the dog, you may be able to grab both levers with your fingers and, using the palms of your hands, stabilize the bottom of the trap or base plate.

Pull the levers of the trap toward you with your fingers using one continuous motion. This will release the pressure on the jaws of the trap enough for the dog to pull its foot free or to allow the foot to fall out from between the jaws of the trap. The trap jaws do not have to be completely opened for the dog to free its foot. If you can’t get the dog’s paw of out the trap, try to remove the trap from the stake in the ground and carry the dog with the trap on its foot to someone who can help.    

On behalf of the IDFG Sandpoint District Conservation Officers, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and a safe and prosperous New Year.

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Author info

Matt Haag Matt Haag is an Idaho Fish and Game Conservation Officer.

Tagged as:

dogs, The Game Trail, trapping, mandatory hunt report, licenses

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