Leaf Angrignon and his dog Sophie have learned the hard way that a trappers line can lay anywhere on crown land. This startling discovery was made when she got caught in a conibear trap during a family outing on Oyama Lake Road.
“We rushed over to the dog and tried to get her out,” says Angrignon.
“The springs are really tight, it takes 90 pounds of force to keep them open and we couldn’t get it open, it took at least three minutes.
“(Sophie) was choking and she finally took her last breath and went limp right as we figured out how to get the thing open. We were able to get her out and she lived, but it was a horrible experience.”
It turned out the trap was set legally, and has become common practice for traps to be set out along Forest Service roads.
“Trappers do need access to their traps as well,” says conservation officer Terry Myroniuk.
“We can get a lot of snowfall in a short amount of time, so trappers will traditionally use areas where they’re able to access it as well and the risk that’s run when not doing so is you get an area where they could have difficulty getting into their traps.”
But Angrignon, who has often ventured into the backcountry without incident, says people need to be aware they could come across traps and believes proper signage is necessary in areas frequented by trappers.
“We would like everybody to know that once you cross onto the crown land boundary, you’re dogs may be in danger,” says Angrignon.
“The trappers have a legal right to trap here and they have for years – its all part of wildlife resource management and that’s important but the public may not know that.”
Myroniuk simply says putting up signs is just not feasible.
“There is quite a bit of tampering with traps and there are lots of people opposed to the practice of trapping,” he says.
“If they know where traps are, they’ll purposely interfere with them and set them and the other side of it is there is an issue of theft from traps. Other people will recognize the value of the animal and the fur and we’ve had common reports of people stealing.”
It is advised that when heading up a forest service road into the bush, to keep your dogs on a leash because traps could be set anywhere and they’re extremely difficult to open once they’re set off.
Here is a link to help you rescue your pet from a Conibear Trap.