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2012 MN trapping legislation: dog-proof

posted Mar 27, 2012, 10:06 AM by Scott Slocum   [ updated Feb 12, 2014, 12:39 PM ]
2013-2014 Updates: Ward's Good Bill, Wiger's Good Bill.


Minnesota's popular dog-safe trapping bill for the 2011-2012 Legislative Session was introduced as follows:
Minnesota Representative John Ward.
Minnesota Senator Mindy GreilingMinnesota Senator Chuck WigerMinnesota Representative Dan Sparks
Minnesota Representative Mary Jo McGuire














H.F. No. 2243,  as introduced - 87th Legislative Session (2011-2012)   Posted on Feb 13, 2012

1.1    A bill for an act
1.2    relating to game and fish; placing restrictions on certain traps for furbearers;
1.3    proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 97B.
1.4    BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

1.5   Section 1. [97B.929] BODY-GRIPPING TRAPS.

1.6    A person may not set a body-gripping, conibear-type trap, unless the trap is:

1.7    (1) at least five feet above the ground;

1.8    (2) placed in a manner that the trap will protect domestic dogs from inadvertent
1.9         taking, as provided in rules of the commissioner; or

1.10  (3) a water-set trap that is completely submerged in public waters, streams, or
1.11       wetlands.

Status as of 3/27/2012: silenced in the Minnesota House and Senate Environment & Natural Resources Committees.


Summary by SS-Slocum.info
  • For all body-gripping traps, it would allow the following, flexible uses:
    • either elevated five feet above the ground in a manner to protect dogs,
    • or another use determined safe for dogs by the MN DNR Commissioner,
    • or fully submerged.



Political news surrounding this bill (and its non-functional alternatives):
  • "...you stay home, fearing the watered-down body-gripping trap regulations the House passed this week might ensnare your pooch in the torturous death grip of a Conibear 220..."
  • Language proposed by the Department of Natural Resources was rejected by legislators at the urging of trapping groups, and DNR officials are skeptical the wording will reduce the incidental trapping of dogs.
  • Con Christianson, a legislative liaison with the Trappers Association, said the issue has been overblown and that there's always some risk taking a dog afield, including risk from road traffic."There has to be some owner responsibility," he said.
  • "It's going to do nothing," said Loren Waalkens of Lake City, whose beagle, Frisbee, was caught in a trap last fall yet survived.Waalkens said trap restrictions at the Legislature were watered down and rushed through with few opportunities for public comment. "I guarantee you we won't let this go," he said. "If it takes the next [legislative] session or the session after that, I'm not going to quit. I'm fighting for the life of my dogs."
  • Trappers must strive to protect hunting dogs. Rochester Post Bulletin 3/31/2012 by Chris Kolbert.
    • "...no trapper wants to ever catch someone’s dog. Not only can it needlessly cause the death of a faithful companion and friend, it simply gives trapping a bad name."

    • "The vast majority of trappers are ethical people who want to do the right thing..."

    • "...it makes sense for leaders in the trapping fraternity to work closely with wildlife professionals to determine best practices that will avoid catching man’s best friend."

    • Audio-only.
    • MN DNR Fish & Wildlife Director Ed Boggess said the DNR gets reports of one or two dogs dying in traps every year or so, but this year there were six reported cases. Boggess thinks the number is higher this year because of the mild Winter; with less snow on the ground, dogs and their owners are apparently out in the woods more this Winter. He favors giving trappers the option of covering their traps so that dogs can't get in there and reach the jaws of the traps.
    • Gary Leistico, a spokesman for the Minnesota Trappers Association, said "I think trappers have done everything they can to minimize non-target catches and they do a very good job of it. With everything there can be the occasional and unfortunate incident, but we believe the current trapping regulations and the education and training trappers have are adequate to allow for the safe use of the trap."
    • Minnesota Representative Tony Cornish, a former DNR conservation officer, said "We can't solve all the world's problems with over-regulation... People should realize a restriction like this basically knocks out trapping raccoons, which is a terrible pest for our waterfowl... Few dogs are caught in traps. I think they should just accept it as one of those unfortunate things."
    • Con Christianson, a trapper and legislative liaison for the Minnesota Trappers Association, said requiring the traps to be 5 feet off the ground would make them useless to trappers seeking bobcats and raccoons. "There would be problems for trappers,'' said Christianson, whose group hasn't taken a formal position on the legislation. "There are a lot of traps out there, and the number of incidents are very, very few, so what would you be fixing?"
    • The reader comments on this article are valuable.
    • Minnesota Trappers Association president Shawn Johnson of Duluth said relatively few dogs are caught in body-gripping traps each year, considering the number of traps in the woods. "These are very, very rare instances. The lack of snow this winter allowed trappers and hunters easy access to the woods and likely played a contributing role." He said that dogs caught in Conibears stand a reasonable chance of survival if their owners act quickly. His group pays $4,500 for an ad in the DNR hunting and trapping regulation booklet showing how it's done.