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This could happen to you

posted Jun 13, 2012, 11:11 AM by John Reynolds   [ updated May 25, 2014, 11:32 PM by Doglover System ]
Written by a concerned pheasant hunter, 6/12/2012.

It’s a perfect day in late October, and you and your dog Abby have decided to spend the day chasing pheasants on a great piece of state land a few miles out of town. This isn’t the first time you have hunted here--over the past couple of years, old Abby and you have bagged a few birds here and you are very optimistic about your chances today. It isn’t long before the old girl comes by you, tail going 90 mph, obviously on some fresh scent, and there it is, your first bird of the day flushes... but it’s a hen, oh well. You head a little deeper into the dried-up cattails and there goes old Abby charging out ahead of you on another bird.

All of a sudden you hear a high pitched squeal, was that Abby? You have never heard her make a sound like that before. You plow through the cattails in her direction wondering what the heck is going on. And there she is, her head completely in a body grip trap. OK, don’t panic, keep cool. She is still conscious and struggling hard. You can’t really see the trap too good as she has rolled in the cattails and they are wound around her head and trap. You try to grab her head to get a better look and she tries to bite you. She has never bitten a soul in her life, but you can see terror and fear in her eyes. All you can think of is to try to get your coat over her head to calm her down, but your first attempt fails. Your second try works better, and she’s struggling less. You know you need to get this trap off her head ASAP.

You have read the piece in the DNR hunting manual about how to do this, heck you even watched a video on the web by some MN Trappers Association (MTA) instructor (although he didn’t have a panicked 60 pound dog in his trap trying to bite his hand off). Finally, Abby is starting to settle down--no wait, she’s passing out. Once again, don’t panic, keep your cool, yeah right… By the time you get the weeds removed to even see what’s going on, Abbey is almost completely still. Her neck and windpipe are smashed flat as a pancake. You get a piece of rope out of your pocket and begin the process of trap removal. Man, it seems like this is taking forever, and it is. By the time you get the trap from Abby, she is completely lifeless. You saw on a newscast and in the paper last winter a story about a guy who saved his hunting Beagle by giving her CPR. I hope he knows how lucky he was because it is not working for Abby. She is dead--you cannot believe it, but your dog is dead.

About a million things are flying through your mind all at once. What do I tell my wife and kids? They love this old dog as much if not more than I do. The thought of revenge upon the trapper who set this damn thing crosses your mind but fades quickly. You will let a Game Warden settle this, there is no way that this thing could be out here like this and be legal. You carry Abby and the trap back to the truck and call the warden. You describe to him just how the trap was set and he tells you that it was perfectly legal for the trapper to do so. He even goes as far as to tell you that you must return the trap to the site or you could be ticketed for tampering with it. You cannot believe it. Some trapper kills your dog, and you could be the one to get a ticket.

What started out as a beautiful day to hunt some birds has turned into one of the worst days of your life. You will never look at pheasant hunting, or trapping, the same way again. And now it’s time to go home and tell the family...

This is dedicated to all of the beloved hunting dogs and pets who have died in body grip traps, and to all of those that will die next trapping season.

This isn’t how it has to be. Neighboring states have changed their trapping laws, and dog deaths have been dramatically reduced, but the MTA’s “don’t give an inch” mentality has kept that from happening in MN. They got their own legislation passed this year by legislators who were firmly in their back pocket--with zero input from dog owners and close to zero protection for dogs—and then told the public that the problem was solved. These people do not like to be called liars, but it’s hard to know what else to call them.

Here is what you can do. Join ”Dog Lovers 4 Safe Trapping MN”. Make a contribution, get others to join, get involved. Together we can get real changes passed into law that will make our great outdoors in MN safe for all who want to enjoy them with their canine friends and hunting partners.

Thank You.

MTA paid advertisement: how to release a dog from a body grip trap

Yes, learn and practice. But no, don't count on a successful release!