Whether or not you agree with it, it's trapping season in Maine.

Trapping season runs until December 31st for a variety of animals and if you spend time outdoors, then there is a chance that you'll come across a set foothold trap, or possibly a trap with an animal in it.

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife reminds us that trappers must have the landowners permission and that it is unlawful for you to disturb a trap, or release or shoot an animal that may be in one.  They also tell us that trapping is a benefit to wildlife populations and that trapping rules are strictly enforced by Maine Game Wardens.

Foothold traps are made to retain an animal and not hurt them.  No, trappers in Maine are not out there setting traps with big metal teeth on them like you would see in the horror movies.  As a matter of fact, Maine biologists are using them as well to collect data about our state's animals.

But what to do if your dog is mistakenly trapped while out on a walk someday.  Here's what state officials tell us:

1) - Remain calm.  Get someone to help you if you can.

2) - Some dogs may remain calm, others may freak out, especially as the foothold trap is being removed.  Find a jacket or a blanket to secure the dog's muzzle or to use as a barrier between you and the animal.

3) - Try to keep the foothold trap on level ground, and then open the trap by pushing down on the levers at each side of the trap by using your hands or feet to release the dog.

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife

4) - Now after an episode like this, here is the hardest part.  It's unlawful to destroy or take a trap without the permission of the owner. So resist the urge to throw it in the river, if you can.

Of course keeping your dog on a leash during trapping season is your best bet.

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