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Ask a conservation officer: Trapping gear must be removed after season

Q: Marten and fisher trapping season is coming up this week, and I still have some boxes in the woods from last year's season due to the heavy snowfall we received. Is it OK to use those this year and leave them in the woods again?A: All traps, a...

Q: Marten and fisher trapping season is coming up this week, and I still have some boxes in the woods from last year’s season due to the heavy snowfall we received.  Is it OK to use those this year and leave them in the woods again?
A: All traps, and associated trapping equipment including stakes, boxes, flagging, markers or anything else that may occupy or indicate a trapper’s use of the area, must be removed from a trapping location following the end of the open trapping season each year.  Last year’s early December snowfall did put many of us in a tough spot to comply with these laws.  However, most trappers were able to get their equipment removed by the end of season or very soon afterward, following contact with their local conservation officer.  
In your instance, I would still encourage you to remove your boxes before the season to avoid ‘pre-empting’ the spot, or at least contact your local conservation officers with any concerns.  COs in several areas have marked the locations of equipment illegally left in the woods and may be paying a visit to those trappers once the season opens in regard to those violations. By removing all of your equipment, you avoid “pre-empting” the spot or keeping another trapper from having an equal opportunity at using that spot at the next opener.

Matthew S. Miller is a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officer with the Lake Superior Marine Unit. Send your questions to outdoors@duluthnews.com .

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