South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks is seeking public input on shortening the timespan a trapper must check active traps.
Those proposing a reduced trap time say trapping is only regulated on the honor system.
One trapper says it’s part of a constant pressure to eliminate trapping.
Currently, the rules for checking a trap are about three days West River and about two days East River The new rule requires trappers check a trap or snare every 24 hours.
Mark Steck of Dakota Line snares and trapping products visited SDPB’s In The Moment earlier this month. He says trapping faces the scorn of urban dwellers moving to rural regions who bring their beliefs about the hobby with them.
Steck says those critics don’t see the mangy coyotes during the winter that are cold and fragile, trying to live in hay bails just to stay warm.
“They don’t see how harsh mother nature is and they don’t understand that this is a renewable resource in that we manage this resource,” Steck says. “With man coming to the land, it has become so necessary for us to manage these resources, because man has upset the balance in a big, big way.”
The petition allows Game, Fish and Parks to grant extensions to the 24 hour check time because of unanticipated complications or emergencies.
The rule also allows the organization to release or euthanize a trapped animal over the 24 hour check time.
Nancy Hilding is with the Prairie Hills Audubon Society. Hilding says animals can die in a live trap under current trap check times and South Dakota’s harsh weather.
“They can harm themselves,” Hilding says. “They can starve. They can die of thirst. They can die of exposure. They can get frostbite. They can bit off their legs. They can hurt their teeth trying to bite trap. The closing of the trap can rip their legs and their tendons all up.”
Game, Fish and Parks is seeking comment on the trap check time change up to 72 hours before a September 6th commission meeting in Spearfish.