Game and Fish moves closer to updating trapping regulations

JACKSON, Wyo. — The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is moving forward with revisions to Wyoming’s trapping rules, following recommendations approved by the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission at their November meeting.

“Game and Fish is committed to a collaborative approach to address the full range of concerns around trapping,” said Rick King, Game and Fish chief of wildlife. “That includes increasing our efforts to enhance the public awareness and understanding of trapping, as well as continuing conversations about the issues associated with  trapping on public lands.”

On Tuesday, the Department presented a proposal to the Wyoming Legislature’s Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources committee asking the legislature to provide the Commission authority to implement trapping regulations on two issues. Currently, the Commission does not have the authority to make these rule changes. The first was, on a case-by-case basis, to require trapping setbacks around high-use public land areas in Wyoming; the second for authority to develop regulations requiring mandatory trapper education. Lawmakers on the TRW committee took no action on the proposals at this time.

Game and Fish is working toward drafting regulation changes that are under Commission-authority. The Department is currently drafting two regulations, one which would restrict trapping where the Game and Fish releases pheasants during hunting season, the other would limit the use of large power snares. Those two regulations will be available for public comment prior to being presented to the Commission for approval.

On-the-ground, Game and Fish is making strides to notify the public of trapping activities that may be occurring on the Department’s 450,000 acres of Wildlife Habitat Management Areas (WHMAs) statewide and working with other public land agencies to do the same. WHMAs are lands owned by the Commission to protect critical wildlife habitat and also allow for hunting, fishing, trapping, camping, and other recreational activities in most areas. Those signs are expected to be posted beginning in January.

Game and Fish is also working to clarify the actions the Commission did not take on trapping.

“There are no proposed changes to the Wyoming regulations for trap and snare check periods, ”King said. “While we heard feedback from our public meetings on trap check times, the Commission did not recommend any changes to those rules.”

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