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Bobcat found in trap near BLM hiking trail

By Brittany Weiner
Published On: Feb 24 2014 08:48:30 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 25 2014 01:17:04 PM CST

NewsChannel 21's Brittany Weiner talked to a Bend man who found a bobcat trapped on BLM land.

BEND, Ore. -

Scott Silver, his wife and their 2 1/2-year-old lab mix were enjoying a hike through Cline Butte's Dry Canyon area Friday, when they can across a bobcat caught in a trap by its front paw.

"Clearly recently trapped, and not at all pleased being trapped there," Silver said Monday.

Silver said there was nothing they could do to help the animal, which was still alive, so they took a picture and called the sheriff's office as soon as they had cellphone service.
 
Although the image is disturbing to some, what you might not know is this trapping is actually legal. In fact, bobcat trapping season runs until Feb. 28 in Oregon.

"When an animals pelt can sell for $645, the trappers are going to go almost exclusively for that particular animal, and that animal's chances of survival in the wild are very small," said TrapFree Oregon volunteer-Chris Baker.

Their pelts sell for hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

"These traps latch onto parts of the animals' bodies, and the current trap check time in the state of Oregon is 48 hours," Baker said. "So these animals can languish in these traps legally for a couple of days. "

Traps can be placed anywhere on public or private land where a trapper has permission. However, no trap can be within 50 feet of a trail that is mapped managed and maintained by the state. The trail Silver was hiking on is one of those.

"Bobcat was no more than 10 feet away -- could have even been a little less than that," Silver said.

Legal or not, Silver says it's not the trapping that bothers him, but the fact that it could have been his dog.

"The issue was, trapping irresponsibly in an area where high amounts of recreation are taking place just seems absolutely stupid," Silver said.

If a trail is not recognized, people can put traps closer than 50 feet.

Baker said one of his fellow volunteers actually had her dog step on a trap -- on a trail -- while on a leash.

TrapFree Oregon is trying to ban trapping in public areas. To read more about their 2016 initiative, you can visit their website at trapfreeoregon.com or on their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/TrapFreeOregon.

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