Oregon Trapping Rights Under Attack

ota_logo-IIAnti-trapping groups in Oregon are pushing legislation that would effectively ban trapping in the state. The following message regarding the legislation was written by Bob Gilman of the Oregon Trappers Association. If you’d like to help the OTA beat the bill, Bob included contact information and an address to send donations for the Oregon Trappers Legislative Defense Fund near the end of his message.

Protect Trapping Rights in Oregon

By Bob Gilman
Oregon Trappers Association

Commercial trapping and the fur trade in Oregon are under attack. Ballot Initiative Petition #5, the anti-trapping measure pushed by Trap Free Oregon and other animal rights groups, would end Oregon’s historic fur industry and proud trapping traditions that date back to the early 1800s. The initiative, which would appear on the Nov. 4, 2014 general election ballot, would outlaw fur trapping and severely inhibit animal damage control.


Members of a coalition to protect trapping have appealed the certified ballot title of the initiative to the Oregon Supreme Court and are waiting for the court to approve or reject the certified ballot title. If it is approved, proponents will begin gathering the 87,213 valid signatures required to get the initiative on the ballot for the November 2014 election. They have until July 3, 2014 to collect their signatures.

Key Components of the Ban

Initiative Petition #5 would ban the use of all Conibear traps and body-gripping traps and outlaw fur trapping and fur trading in the state. Trapping would be banned on public land, except in extremely narrow circumstances. Finally, the ban would require all traps, whether set by private or government trappers, to be checked every 24 hours. Each and every violation would result in a Class A misdemeanor charge (up to 1 year in jail and $6,250 in fines).


The initiative would put many trappers and animal damage control professionals out of business. Commercial trappers often cover thousands of acres, and it is not possible for them to check every single trap within a 24-hour timeframe. The increased liability imposed on trappers would result in less efficient animal damage control at a greater financial cost to consumers.


Sales of furtaker’s licenses and hunting licenses for furbearers, as well as fur dealer’s licenses, on average, total approximately $100,000 in revenues for the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife each year. A ban on the fur trade would eliminate this financial benefit to the state.

Forest Industry

Initiative Petition #5 would ban the use of foot snares, the primary tool used for catching bears. Forest managers estimate that bears are responsible for approximately $10 million to $15 million in damage to Oregon’s forests in some years. The ban would also prohibit the use of the Conibear #110, the most effective tool for trapping mountain beavers, which can cause millions of dollars of damage to forest stands.


A 2009 report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) estimated that predators killed 7,700 sheep and 3,800 cattle in Oregon that year. Coyotes are mainly responsible for these losses. The anti-trapping initiative would prohibit the use of most snares that are commonly used to control problem coyotes. Without these trapping capabilities, ranchers would lose even more livestock each year.

Local Governments

Many local governments employ private trappers to respond to animal damage problems on municipal public lands. The ban would outlaw trapping on public land, unless all other non-lethal methods to remove the animal have been exhausted and a study that supports trapping as the only remaining option is made available to the public.

Oregon’s Fur Trade

Outlawing fur trapping would create a substantial disincentive for trappers to target certain species. The state’s economy would lose the revenue generated by the fur trade and the money that trappers spend on fuel, food and supplies. The pelt of any furbearer caught during the course of animal damage control would be wasted and could not be used to offset the costs related to animal damage control work.

The loss of the fur industry would also mean a future shortage of experienced animal damage workers, since this is where many of them gain their knowledge and skills. 

Pet Safety

While the supporters of the anti-trapping initiative claim that traps present a great danger for dogs and other pets, the facts say otherwise. In 2001, legislation was passed that requires veterinarians to file a report with the College of Veterinary Medicine at Oregon State University when they treat an animal they suspect has been caught in a trap. Since then, only 12 reports have been filed. 


In June 2012, the ODF&W established new regulations, based on public input, that require traps to be located far from public trails, which is one of the primary complaints of the initiative’s sponsors. We should let the new regulations take effect and see how they work before deciding to gut trapping rights.


The Oregon electorate has voted down trapping bans twice before. The animal rights activists behind the current petition are merely wasting the state’s time and money at the expense of local taxpayers.

We urge you to support sound wildlife management and oppose any ban on trapping in Oregon. Should that anti-trapping initiative make it on the ballot and pass in our state, it would embolden animal rights activists to seek similar bans across the country.

For more information or to join the coalition to protect trapping rights in Oregon, contact Chris West at West@pacwestcom.com or Zach Widner at Widner@pacwestcom.com.

Donations to protect trapping in Oregon can be sent to the following address:

Oregon Trappers Legislative Defense Fund
Attn: Don Nichols
3317 N. Holly Street
Canby, OR  97013

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4 thoughts on “Oregon Trapping Rights Under Attack


  2. most of the people that spred this lise about trapping are the ones that dont now what mother earth can do with diease and other means i am a trapper and hunter i dont like killing animals but my single bullet kills faster then disease and starvation I have seen it to many times if the folks would leave the towns and come ot to the real world and see what happens when there is a over population the they might see that trapping and hunting is nessery to keep the wildlife healthy . and then may be would all set down and get to geather and come to geather on this problem

  3. I am a licences trapper.I have trapped Beaver for years on Oregon.I am very careful about each set. All beaver caught are a clean humain kill. I set where no one goes and difficult to get to. I cool the meat, use the bones and sell, trade hides as well as make warm hats and give as gifts to friends and family. Trapping money goes into wildlife management. I love and respect wildlife and on my own time I have planted 1000s of trees in Oregon. I teach my son to be a responsible trapper and has given me the quality time to mentor to whom to be a responsible productive man in society. It has helped me theraputicly after being a US Marine and now the Oregon National Guard. My right and freedom to trap is important to me in Oregon. I’m ordered to deploy to Afghanistan in 2014 and this fall I am trapping with my son. I will be very upset to come home from war to find out my rights taken away. I am a concervationest and folks that do not understand trapping heritage and tradition should leave our rights alone. I don’t take their rights away and freedom to trap responsably should not be bothered . respectfully submitted. Vernon

  4. Hi, I am reaching out for help, I am a single woman of 55, I have lived on my property in Lorane for 25 years. I have never been bothered by coyotes since 88 (they ate my sheep then) I have just left them alone to cross through here. This year the pack has changed….they are no longer afraid of humans and have cornered me a couple of times and tried to take me down….they are here every night and they have gotten one of my dogs and a lot of my livestock. I have never in all these years seen the packs so large in numbers and large in actual size of the coyotes. They are very aggressive even during the day. I have no idea what to do about it…I think I need some snares but I have no idea where to get them or how to set them up. A friend did shoot one of them last night but that did not deter them. I cannot go outside without my gun and I am afraid to go out to the back part of my land. If someone could call me and tell me where to get help or how to get these coyotes under control I would be forever grateful. My number is 541-521-1023 I live in Lorane Or…….thanks for reading…………………Robin

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