Press Releases

Vermont’s trapping season starts this Saturday, Oct. 23; Keep your pets safe

Oct 22 2021, 1:42 PM

For Immediate Release: October 20, 2021

Contact: Brenna Galdenzi | (802) 253-1592 | [email protected]


Stowe, VT— Trapping season starts on the 4th Saturday of October each year in Vermont and runs through March 31st. Each trapping season, dogs, cats, and other non-targeted animals, including protected species, are injured or killed in traps. According to public records obtained by Protect Our Wildlife (POW), a dog was trapped in a leghold trap set for coyotes during the first week of trapping season last year. Some of the other non-targeted captures that were voluntarily reported last year include a barred owl, a great blue heron, and a Canada goose. Vermont Fish & Wildlife does not require trappers to report when they trap a non-targeted wild animal.

Traps may be set on private land—with permission—and public land, including National Wildlife Refuges, home to federally protected species including Canada lynx. Trappers are not required to post signs as to where they’re trapping, nor are they required to set their traps away from public hiking trails. Baits and lures are used with traps, so a trap set for a coyote can just as likely trap a curious dog or cat or even a bald eagle. The two trap types that pose the greatest risk to dogs and cats are leghold and Conibear™ “kill” traps. “I am a veterinarian who has treated dogs and cats caught in traps and the injuries they suffered were horrendous,” said Dr. Peggy Larson, retired Vermont veterinarian. POW’s website offers a video tutorial with instructions on how to release a companion animal from a leghold and Conibear™ trap. If an animal is caught in a Conibear™ trap, its survival is less likely. “These traps are designed to kill animals like fisher, beavers, and otters by crushing the neck with 90 pounds of pressure per square inch,” said Brenna Galdenzi, POW President. POW has documentation of non-targeted animals caught in Conibear™ traps including turtles, dogs, cats, and coyotes. Photos depict the traps crushing the animals’ heads and torsos, indicating tremendous suffering. “It’s hard to believe that these gruesome instruments of torture are still being used in Vermont, despite the fact that the majority of Vermonters polled in 2017 by the University of Vermont’s Center for Rural Studies, want to ban trapping completely,” Galdenzi added.

Quick Tips

  • Know when trapping season is, but remember that traps set out of season, as allowed per Vermont’s “wild animals doing damage” statute, or traps left behind after the season ends, still present a threat.
  • Remember that kill traps can be set in shallow water, in rivers and streams so always check the area before allowing your dog to swim.
  • Keep cats indoors or create a cat-proof fenced-in yard.

“While we cannot protect bobcats, foxes, otters, and other wildlife from leghold and body crushing kill traps, we can try and protect our pets,” said Dr. Larson.

Please visit to learn more about trapping in Vermont and how to support efforts to ban it.




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