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posted Sep 21, 2012, 7:08 PM by John Reynolds   [ updated Jul 28, 2014, 4:48 PM by Doglover System ]

MN Trapping Season Opens October 19th!


It means that starting on the 19th and going until March 15th body grip traps can be legally set virtually anywhere on public land, anywhere on private land with landowner permission, nearly all road ditches and culverts.  They can even be set in some city parks like Lum Park in Brainerd.  Actually the list of where they can’t be set is shorter than the list of where they can be set.  And they can even be baited with dog food.

Body grip traps can be set on all lake shores and under bridges.  They can be set under your dock without your permission.  If you remove it you can be the one who gets the ticket.

The changes in body grip regulations passed into law last spring are worthless.  They were not intended to protect dogs.  In fact they are the same sets that are killing dogs.  You can prove it by placing a hot dog 3 feet off the ground and seeing if your dog can reach it.  Or put the hot dog 7” under your car.  If your dog can reach the hot dog it can reach the trigger of a legally set body grip trap.

If you know of any dogs that have been killed please contact us.  It is possible to hold the trapper who kills a dog in a body grip financially responsible even if the trap was set according to the regulations.  Our website has the steps that need to be taken.  Click on the “Trapper Liability” link on the left side of the home page.

Most trappers support changing the regulations to protect dogs from body grip traps but a very small number of trappers within the trapping association have stated they “won’t give an inch” and worked to prevent any changes to body grip trap regulations that would protect our dogs.  More of our dogs are going to be killed this fall because of their actions.  Last year at least 13 dogs were killed in body grip traps.


Changing body grip trap regulations would mean that less than 500 bobcat trappers would be forced to stop using body grip traps and switch to more effective foot hold traps.  It would mean that they would have to check their traps daily instead of every 3 days.  Two million MN dog owners are being held hostage by less than 500 trappers just so they don’t have to check their traps daily.


1.  Speak up.  Talk to other dog owners.  Let them know about the danger body grip traps are to their dogs every time they go hunting or walking.  Ask them to contact their legislators.  Find your legislator here.

2.  Write letters to your local paper.  We have an example letter on our website under “Volunteer Opportunities”.   We also have a body grip fact sheet on our website.  It’s the “Hot Topics!!!” link.

3.  Talk to your legislators.  Now is the time to contact them to let them know this is important to you.  Volunteer on their campaign.  Just a couple of hours some evening can make all the difference.  That can put you on a first name basis with them and be extremely valuable when the legislative session begins.

4.  Distribute our flyers at any place where dog owners visit.  Dog food stores, public bulletin boards, vet clinics, dog training classes, hunter/hiker trail heads, wildlife management areas are good places.  You can get flyers by contacting us and we will send you some.

5.  Stay in touch.  It matters.  We will have a bill this legislative session and we will need you to contact your legislator to ask them to support it.

With your help we can get this fixed and get back to enjoying our four legged friends without worrying about whether this will be their last day.

Thank you!

MN DNR Hunting & Trapping Regulations Handbook: watch out for dogs!

Update: 2013

October 19, 2013 marks the opener of Minnesota trapping season.  Beaver runs through April 30th 2014, and raccoon, red fox, gray fox, badger, and opossum run through March 15th 2014.  

So what’s changed this year?  The answer is Not Much.  The Minnesota Trappers Association worked exclusively with certain legislators to prevent a hearing on a bill to protect our dogs.  Three feet off the ground and 7 inch overhangs do nothing. In fact it ignores completely dog instincts and behavior and capabilities.  So once again our dogs are at high risk while walking, hunting, or whatever your outdoor activities are with them.

What can you do?  Certainly contact your legislator, statewide and locally.  Send them our website and ask them to look at the videos.

If you live in town, do not think for a minute that there aren’t traps there, too.  One dog was killed last season in White Bear Township, just north of Saint Paul. Some cities even allow body grip traps to be set in parks.   Be aware that virtually all highway right-of-ways (ditches) in MN are open to setting body grip traps.  In fact meat baited body grip traps can be set in YOUR driveway culvert.  Some trappers set as many as 100-200 body grip traps in ditches.  The traps can be set in body grip boxes, hidden in trails, and even culverts without notifying the property owner.

If you live along a county or township road you can post your ditch closed to trapping.  Signs must be posted every 1,000 feet or less each year.  Be sure to put your signature on the sign to make it legal.  Contact your county or township highway department for the proper placement of the signs.

Below is the MN DNRs hunting and trapping regulations, trapping info begins on page 46.

Please stay active and informed, and contact us with your experience, ideas and more.  And JOIN. It matters.

When dogs start being killed in body grip traps again this fall we want to know.  Please contact us through the “Contact Us” form or send an email.  Be sure to read “Trapper Liability”.  The link is on the left side of the home page of this website.

Update: 2014

No hearings, no votes, no improvements, no protections for our dogs. We're working on the issue, and we'll be back next year.