By Jed Boal
DAVIS COUNTY — Safety questions were raised after a Utah man found what appears to be an illegal trap while hiking.
Jeff Johnson was hiking on the trails above Farmington when he spotted a red fox in a spring trap near the trail Monday morning.
“Anybody could've stepped on it accidentally — a dog, a person, a child,” Johnson said. "I was shocked, because I thought it (the fox) was sleeping at first, and then I realized it was dead, right there."
Johnson thought a trap that close to a trail was probably not legal or ethical. At the very least, he knew it was a safety hazard, so he reported the trap to the Nation Forest Service which reported it to the Division of Wildlife Resources.
The DWR says in its "Furbearer Guidebook" that those who come across a trap in the Utah wilderness — with or without the animal— shouldn't touch it, it's the property of the trapper. But the trapper also has an ethical obligation not to set the trap in areas where people or pets might stumble into it.
Additionally, trappers are also bound by law to remove any kill from a trap within 48 hours, and Johnson said the fox he found had certainly been here longer than that.
"It probably died because of starvation, thirst or fatigue.” Johnson said.
After Johnson sent photos and a description to the National Forest Service, he was told it did not look like a legal trap because there was not license tag.
If you ever spot a trap it does not appear to be in a responsible place, contact the DWR. They said irresponsible trappers hurt the animals, hurt the habitat and harm the experience for everyone else who is here to enjoy the wildlife.
For more information about trapping laws, the public can reference the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources’ “Furbearer Guidebook.” Video.