Bird Dogs and Trapping

Conflicts can and have occurred between trappers and grouse and woodcock hunters and their hunting dogs mainly through the use and placement of foothold traps, body gripping traps or snares placed for large carnivores (bobcat, coyote, fox or wolf) on dry land.  Regulations and seasons vary by state including the size, type and placement of these traps. The Ruffed Grouse Society has been involved in the development of trapping regulations with states and trappers associations in order to reduce these conflicts. 

The Society encourages both trappers and hunters to adhere to proper field ethics. The use of a public resource demands that each user group exercise both courtesy and personal responsibility in the field. Respect for oneself, landowners, other people, the wildlife resource, and the land summarizes this expression of courtesy and responsibility.  Each individual and user group should act in a way that will reflect positively to each other.

It is the policy of RGS/AWS to provide education for bird hunters on proper release techniques, to work with agencies and associations to minimize conflicts, to support Best Management Practices for trappers, to support trapper education programs and to support the use of regulated trapping.

Read the full RGS/AWS Position Statement on Trapping.

See videos below showing bird hunters proper techniques to remove dogs from traps or restraints:

Recognizing & Avoiding Wildlife Traps while Walking your Dog

Idaho Fish and Game Department


Releasing Your Dog From A Trap

Idaho Fish and Game Department


Additional Materials

In addition to the videos above the MI DNR lists pdf documents from Montana and Wisconsin about "How to Release Dogs from Traps" that you can print and place in your hunting vehicle to review annually before going afield during trapping seasons:,1607,7-153-10363_10880-171089--,00.html.

The Minnesota Trappers Association provides an alternative method to the rope/belt option offered in the videos above using strong zip ties. The zip ties used to remove a Body Grip Trap must be made of nylon, preferably nylon 6/6 adhering to ASTM-D4066 PA 181, and have a rated strength of 175 pounds or more.

Zip Tie Method of Removing A Body Grip Trap includes photos and instructions:

Mission Statement

Established in 1961, the Ruffed Grouse Society is North America's foremost conservation organization dedicated to preserving our sporting traditions by creating healthy forest habitat for ruffed grouse, American woodcock and other wildlife. RGS works with landowners and government agencies to develop critical habitat utilizing scientific management practices.

Join & Renew

Sign Up

Corporate Sponsors