Cable restraints would be a compromise between trappers and animal-protection advocates. They're not perfect, but they can make a big difference for dogs!
This note is meant to provide 1) information on snares, cable restraints, and their careful and careless use, 2) information about how animal suffering and accidental deaths might be alleviated by improved use of the devices in point 1, and 3) a call for a compromise to accomplish point 2.
It's past time for Minnesota to follow the example of trapping experts and trappers in Wisconsin, and make the switch from regular snares and power snares to cable restraints.
First, a few definitions:
Second, a look at the regulations in other States. According to a tally kept by Born Free USA (Born Free USA, 2015), regular snares are prohibited in ten States, and restricted in another ten. Minnesota is not listed among the twenty States that have significantly regulated snaring. Minnesota's neighboring State of Wisconsin, however, is. Wisconsin has already made the switch to cable restraints on land (Olson and Tischaefer 2004). In Wisconsin, regular snares are allowed in watersets, but power snares are prohibited (WI DNR, 2014).
And finally, a focus on Minnesota, in which the only significant restrictions on snaring are in the "farmland zone." In this central, southern, and western agricultural zone, snares on land are never allowed on public land, nor on road rights-of-way, nor on fences along road rights-of-way (MN DNR 2014). In the "farmland zone," snares are allowed on private land only from November through March (plus late October in the extreme northwest).
Throughout Minnesota during the aquatic furbearer trapping seasons, snares of all types are allowed in watersets, because in responsible use, watersets are more selective--no off-season Fisher or Marten, no endangered Lynx, no people's dogs.
Many animal-protection advocates are calling for a ban on snaring and a bill has been introduced to do so (Wiger and Fischer 2015). That would be a sure way to reduce animal suffering across the board: target or non-target, protected or unprotected, caught by careful or careless trappers. However, in the current political climate, that doesn't seem to be within reach. Perhaps a compromise could be reached:
It's time for Minnesota to make the switch from regular snares and power snares to cable restraints.
Bertram, Bruce H. 1988. "Power Snare." http://www.google.com/patents/US5675928.
Born Free USA. 2014. “State Prohibitions on Leghold, Kill-Type, and Snare Traps.” Born Free USA. http://www.bornfreeusa.org/b4a4_traps.php.
Knudson, Tom. 2012. “Neck Snare Is a ‘Non-Forgiving and Nonselective’ Killer, Former Trapper Says.” Sacramento Bee, April 30. http://www.sacbee.com/news/investigations/wildlife-investigation/article2574607.html.
MN DNR. 2014. Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook. http://dnr.state.mn.us/regulations/hunting/index.html.
Olson, John F., and Rick Tischaefer. 2004. “Cable Restraints in Wisconsin: A Guide to Responsible Use.” Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Wisconsin Trappers Association. http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/trap/documents/cableguide.pdf.
Wiger, Charles W., and Peter Fischer. 2015. MN 2015 SF 592 / HF 1317: No Public Wolf Trapping, Baiting, Calling; No Snaring. https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/bill.php?f=SF592&b=senate&y=2015&ssn=0.
WI DNR. 2014. Wisconsin Trapping Regulations. http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/trap/regulations.html.
The other required components of a cable-restraint set (stops, breakaways, swivels, anchor) are not shown here.