When the road got muddy, I got out with my dog to walk the road to the trailhead. Within minutes, my dog began yelping. He’d been walking near me, on the side of the road, not wandering, when he stepped into a leg-hold trap meant for coyotes.
Last year, the Utah legislators allotted $750,000 every year in perpetuity for a coyote bounty. They are paying $10,000 for 200 hours of coyote trapping work and $50 for each pelt. Trappers sell their pelts, for personal profit, along with collecting that bounty, to China and Russia, where they are made into coats.
Tourists, on the other hand, bring in billions of dollars to Utah businesses and do not expect traps where they hike.
I happened to know how to release a leg-hold trap, so my dog was okay. But the warden told me of many tourists who sit with their pets for hours, waiting for him to arrive in the backcountry because they don’t know. Releasing a leg-hold trap is not intuitive, but takes practice and can injure a pet, or child.
Please be aware, and make visitors aware, of these potential dangers when hiking on public lands. All public lands except national parks, can be trapped on, anywhere, year round.