TrapFree Oregon

TFO is a non-profit organization dedicated to getting trapping and poisoning of our wildlife legally banned in Oregon by November 2014.



The picture that was in this position was removed following a threat from the Mercer Lawing of CLICK HERE to see a very similar picture from his site.

Leg Hold Trap

Conibear Trap


M44 Poison Canister

Trapping- Frequently Asked Questions

Trapping Myths Exposed...............TFO Talking Points

What is Trapping?

There is archeological evidence that humans have trapped animals since before history.

Early Oregon settlers trapped animals for survival. The meat kept them fed and the hides and pelts kept them warm.

A trap is any device designed to close upon an animal to keep it from escaping. Early trappers dug pits in the ground, covered them with thin, lightweight materials and waited for the animal to fall in. The "art" has evolved until today we have a variety of traps for different types of animals.

The trapper must put these traps in locations where the "target animal" is likely to go. Trappers typically set the traps and leave for one or more days- returning to gather their catch.

Is Trapping Still Legal in Oregon?

Yes it is, and it is practiced in one form or another over most of the state. See Trapping Laws (section 7)

What Kinds of Traps and Poisons do they use?

There are basically 4 different types of traps: Cage Traps, Leg-Hold Traps, Body-Gripping (Conibear Type) Traps and Snares. Two types of poisons are also used: Sodium Cyanide and Compound 1080 (Sodium Fluoroacetate). In many situations, most of these devices are "baited" or "scented" to attract the type of animal the trapper wants.

Cage traps consist of some type of enclosure with a spring loaded door mechanism that closes once the animal has entered- preventing escape.

Foot-Hold Traps normally have two spring loaded jaws that snap shut on the animal's foot or leg when the animal steps into the trap. The spring tension is sufficient to keep the animal from pulling free no matter how hard they try.

Body-Gripping Traps (Conibear-type) are designed to close around the animal's head and neck with sufficient force to asphyxiate the animal quickly. Sometimes this works, sometimes not.

Snares consist of a length of wire with a loop on one end. The loop is suspended in an area where the animal might pass. The other end of the wire is attached to something that will not move. As the animal passes through the loop, it tightens around their head, neck or body. The animal is unable to loosen the wire so the more it struggles to get free, the tighter the wire gets until the animal is killed.

Poisons are normally deployed in canisters that shoot a charge of poison (usually sodium cyanide or sodium fluorosilicate) into the animal's mouth when they investigate it.

Do Animals Suffer in Traps?

Yes. Trappers consistently claim that animals do NOT suffer when trapped. They say that either the animal is quickly killed by the trap or poison, or the animal is merely "detained" until the trapper can return to kill it.

There is a large body of easily available photographic, video and medical evidence that clearly refutes this. If you need to see this for yourself, go HERE, but be warned- some of the pictures are disturbing.

Where are the Traps?

Traps can be set just about anywhere in Oregon:

  • All public lands, with the exception of "Designated Wilderness Areas" and "National Parks" can be trapped.....but (see next)
  • Even Wilderness Areas and National Parks can be trapped with a permit.
  • All private lands can be trapped- including private timberlands and residential developments.
  • There are no "setback" requirements from property lines, roads or trails. (Note: in June, 2012, the ODFW instituted a 50 foot setback from "official, mapped and maintained trails shown on the most recent map from the appropriate agency".)
  • There are no signage or notification requirements for areas being trapped.
  • Traps can be set IN the water of lakes, rivers, ponds or streams.

In short, traps can be found in most of the same places Oregonians, their children and their pets go to explore and recreate. See Trapping Laws (section 7)

Am I in Danger?

We all are. Unless you live your life indoors, an Oregon trapper could have placed a perfectly legal trap in an area where you hike, run, ride or walk your dog.

We'd ask you to be careful, but since traps aren't marked and they are usually camouflaged, you won't know you've found a trap until it springs on you or your pet.

There are lots and lots and lots of stories HERE.

What Animals do they Trap?

There are two basic categories of animals that are trapped: "Target Animals" and "Non-Target Animals".

Target animals consist of those the trappers intend to catch. This includes "Furbearing Animals" such as Bobcat, Marten, Fox, Racoon, Beaver and Mink- among others. Target animals also include "Predators" and "Nuisance Animals" such as coyote, badger, mountain lion and wolf- among others.

Non-Target animals consist of anything the trappers catch that they didn't intend to. These include domestic pets, livestock, deer, raptors, endangered and protected species.

Dogs get caught in traps at a much higher rate than anyone would wish. Trappers generally feel terrible when a dog is injured in a trap- partly because of the potential backlash of public sentiment against trapping. Trappers also start by blaming the pet owner for not being responsible and keeping the dog on a leash- even though dogs have been caught while on their leash. A trap is like a landmine- not caring who or what steps on it.

What about Mouse Traps?

Mice, rats, moles and gophers can be a health hazard and very damaging to your property. TFA is in no way advocating the banning of devices to trap and kill these animals. These traps are designed to kill quickly and cannot cause serious injury or death to people or their pets.

Please remember that many of the animals that are being trapped for their fur are natural predators that traditionally control the populations of these mice, rats, moles and other small rodents. Without the predators, we need more mouse traps.

What about Skunks, Raccoons, Opossums and other Nuisance Animals?

There are a number of animals that make a nuisance of themselves in an urban environment. TFA is in no way advocating a restriction in the use of cage traps for the capture of these types of animals.

What Laws are there?

Currently, the laws ONLY protect trappers. If you tamper with a legal trap or release an animal caught in a trap, you are subject to a fine of up to $6,250 and/or up to 1 year in jail. See Trapping Laws

If a trapper catches you, your child or your dog in a trap- they incur NO legal penalties or obligations whatsoever.

Do We Need Trapping?

The truth is that we will always need SOME trapping. (see Exceptions) If you read our Ballot Initiative, you will see that we went to great pains to exclude cases where trapping might be the best solution to the problem:

  • Protecting Endangered Species- (keeping predators away from vulnerable populations)
  • Mitigating Infrastructure Damage- (beavers flooding roads, prairie dogs burrowing in earthen dams, etc.)
  • Protecting Livestock or Crops on Ranches and Farms- (coyotes or rabbits damaging personal property)
  • Relocating Nuisance Animals- (Skunk or possum in your backyard?)
  • Public Safety- (Bears going through the trash downtown, etc.)

What is the Fiscal Impact to Oregon?

  • Fur buyers will have to move to another state. Alaska, Montana and Idaho still trap. Some tax revenue lost from the sale of these pelts- amount unknown.
  • Oregon will miss out on its $70,000 in trapping license fees. Oregon will continue to get its $28,000,000 a year from fishing and hunting licenses (400 times as much as trapping revenue).
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