View Full Version : Dogs and Traps-a close call

November 21, 2001, 07:29 PM
Had a real scare today while hunting some creek bottom for pheasant. Maggie my beautiful and talented 3 yr old Black Lab suddenly cried out as I heard that metalic snap and a chain yanked hard. Apparently she got nipped only- slightly lame, no blood. Trap was set in the middle of a game trail 10yrds from the creek. But what really got me was that only 10' away from this trap was a large double spring trap rigged in a black 5gal bucket, staked and baited. Big enough for a dogs head. I believe this was one of the underwater-only traps and maybe illegal? I was so mad I put a load of #5s into the bucket,trap and all after heeling in Maggie. I'm still waiting for a call back from the landowner to find out if somebody has permission to trap or if they sneak on. We understood there was nobody trapping when we talked to the wife.
Anybody know if this kind of rig is legal in Illinois or anywhere else?

Art Eatman
November 21, 2001, 08:30 PM
Many states have outlawed leg-hold traps. You might try a Google search...I don't recall any discussion here at TFL.

Aside from "leg hold traps", you might check for trapping (or "trappers") organizations...


November 21, 2001, 08:41 PM
some people have no respect. if you find out who did it and they don't have permission to trap on this property, contact the authorities. BTW, leg traps are just a lazy man's way to hunt.

glad your dog is ok.


November 21, 2001, 10:29 PM
That sounds like a #220 or #160 bodygripping trap or "conibear".
Most states allow them on land but within a certain size like #220 or #160.

Stinger,you are obviously not a trapper.Trapping is the hardest work I've ever done.
Have you ever pounded fifty twenty-four inch stakes in the ground,walked several miles,dug fifty holes, and carried a dozen animals back to your truck?
There's nothing lazy about trapping.

Kingcreek,sorry about your dog,but please don't let this incident give all trappers a bad name in your eyes.
Remember that just like there are unethical hunters there are unethical trappers.

November 21, 2001, 11:34 PM
I've got nothing against a trapper doing things properly on land with permission, and I realize he might have permission without the farmers wife's knowledge.
The dog got bit by a leghold trap set near the other large trap with the bucket rig. That one scared me. Maybe about 14" square, double springs, and set with stakes in front of the 5 gallon bait bucket. My dog could have easily put her head into the bucket and trap. I guess I should be grateful the small trap provided the warning and she didn't find the big trap first. This ain't no ordinary dog and I wouldn't have taken it well.

November 21, 2001, 11:58 PM
Kingcreek,any ethical trapper would never make a bucket set where dogs might be.
I've caught several dogs in footholds and all were released unharmed.

This guy was a poacher and not a trapper.

November 22, 2001, 10:35 AM
If that conibear trap was 14" square, then it was definitely not legal for land sets in Il. I beleive that the limit in size for land is a 220. Things must have changed some since I used to trap...We didn't have a conibear quite that large. If the individual is trying to fake being legal, there might be a tag and name on the trap. Don't get your hand in one of the big conibears, they are an SOB to get out of one-handed.


November 23, 2001, 06:39 PM
Yep Conibears are designed to snap the animals spine and quickly kill. Don't put your hand into even the smallest conibear!

Sounds like the "Trapper" was trying to catch (trap) fox. Did the bucket have any bait in it? Fox trappers often set leghold traps near the conibear set as Fox are quite wary of traps. The theory is the Fox will come up to the conibear set but not go near it, out of curiosity. And then will be caught in the leghold as it circles around the conibear.

Kind of like setting anti personnel mines near anti tank mines to kill the engineer sent out to take care of the AT mine.

November 23, 2001, 10:42 PM
Got a call back from the farmer/landowner who said no one trapped there to his knowledge or by his permission, although he wasn't totally against it. Coyotes are a problem in the area.
I went back last night and the traps were gone from the area near as I could tell. At least the bucket rig was nowhere to be found.
I held a tape to the top of a 5 gal bucket and would have to say the trap was more like 11"-12", not the 14" I originally posted but plenty big enough for the head on my prize Lab.
Yes, the bucket was definitly baited.
Maggie is no longer limping and seems fine. If anything had happened to her some SOB would have found me sitting on his bucket waiting for him. Maggie's mother is HRC titled and the sire is a dual Champ. Best damm dog I've had in 30 years so maybe I'm a little over-protective.

November 24, 2001, 01:36 AM
Glad your dog is all right. Close calls like this can cause bad reactions - congratulations on keeping your head. Since the guy didn't have permission to be there, hopefully the landowner is taking steps to take care of him - G&F or such.

Like pawcatch said, not all trappers are this unethical. Stuff like this gives some of us the willies too.

November 25, 2001, 06:10 AM
You could have dug a large, deep hole near the trap for the trapper!!!


Keith Rogan
November 25, 2001, 03:11 PM
In every state I'm aware of, trappers are required to mark their traps with name and/or a number issued by the F&G dept. If you find a trap unmarked, it's illegal, and you should have no qualms about destroying it or carrying it away - check local regs first.

Most trappers are like most hunters - they obey the laws and take care to place their traps in places where domestic animals won't come in contact with them. Remember, every fox or coyote taken is that many more pheasants and rabbits for you to hunt.