Nevada lawmakers will soon be considering trapping reforms just as a new statewide poll emerges showing that Nevada voters stand strongly behind efforts to reform existing trapping laws in the state. A majority of Nevadans said they oppose existing trapping laws which pose a threat to wildlife, family pets and public safety on public lands. The poll was conducted by TrailSafe Nevada and the Humane Society of the United States to determine how Nevadans feel about both the practice of trapping and the laws that govern and regulate trapping in Nevada.
"What we have found from our outreach is that Nevadans generally frown upon the inhumane practice of trapping and this statewide poll substantiates that." said Lynn Cullens, Executive Director of the Mountain Lion Foundation. "With strong citizen support for trapping reforms there has never been a better time for legislation that will reshape outdated trapping laws to better protect wildlife, pets and the public."
The poll found that more than two-thirds of Nevadans support stronger registration of traps, 80 percent support warning flags for traps on public lands, and 77 percent support more frequent monitoring of traps by the trappers who set them. Currently Nevada law requires traps be checked only once every 96 hours. In Washington, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and more than 30 other states, some traps must be checked every 24 hours. Support for trapping reform was consistent in all four Congressional Districts.
Polled about a wide variety of trapping issues, Nevada voters said that they support reforms to the state's outdated trapping laws that leave wildlife and the public at risk of needless and unjustifiable suffering. These findings provide important perspective to the Nevada State Legislature, which is expected to take up legislation related to wildlife trapping laws during the 2017 session.
"These poll results make clear that a majority of Nevadans oppose trapping, from urban areas to rural communities," said Trish Swain, director for TrailSafe Nevada. "The time is ripe to reform our state's weak and outdated trapping laws and our legislators should know that the public supports reforms that will help protect both public safety and wildlife."
Nevada's trapping laws are lax compared to other states. Nevada has no requirement for posting warning signs that would protect people and their pets on public lands by alerting them to traps in the vicinity. Steel-jaw leghold traps, body-crushing Conibear traps and wire snares are used throughout the state of Nevada to trap wildlife. Wildlife can be tormented by other predators as they lie helpless and suffering in a trap waiting to die by the trapper's hands. Family pets frequently sustain severe injuries from being trapped - the type and severity of injury increases with the duration of time in the trap.
"Nevada is far behind other states in its trapping laws, which leave wildlife and the public vulnerable to injury and suffering. The Silver State's voting public clearly supports reform," said Nicole Paquette, vice president of wildlife for The Humane Society of the United States.
The telephone poll of 1,461 statewide Nevada voters was conducted January 25-26, 2017, by Remington Research Group on behalf of TrailSafe Nevada and The Humane Society of the United States. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.5 percent with a 95 percent level of confidence.
The poll asked the following questions:
Q: In Nevada, commercial and recreational trapping is legal on public lands. Body-gripping devices used include steel-jaw leghold traps, which are powered by strong springs that slam the trap's jaws shut on an animal; wire or cable snares, which trap the animal in a loop that tightens and is designed to kill through strangulation; and body-crushing traps, often called Conibear traps, which are designed to kill an animal quickly. Do you support or oppose allowing the use of body-gripping traps on public lands in Nevada?
Oppose: 56 percent Support: 25 percent Unsure: 20 percent
Q: Most states require traps to display information identifying the trap owner. In Nevada, traps are not required to have any identification or registration information. Do you support or oppose requiring traps to display information identifying the trap owner?
Support: 68 percent Oppose: 22 percent Unsure: 10 percent
Q: In most of Nevada, traps are required to be checked only once every 96 hours. Many states, including Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado, require traps used for commercial or recreational trapping to be checked once every 24 hours. Animals left in traps for longer periods of time suffer greater injury, and may suffer from thirst, hunger, and exposure to harsh weather conditions and predators. Do you support or oppose requiring trap checks once every 24 hours in Nevada?
Support: 77 percent Oppose: 17 percent Unsure: 6 percent
Q: In Nevada, locations where a trapper has placed a trap are not required to be marked to alert others to where traps are located. This can present a danger for people and pets whose owners don't know that there are traps set nearby. Do you support or oppose requiring warning flags or signs for traps in Nevada?
Support: 80 percent Oppose: 15 percent Unsure: 4 percent
Q: In Nevada, between one and two thousand bobcats are trapped annually for the fur trade. Bobcat pelts are often sold for hundreds of dollars per pelt. The Nevada Department of Wildlife tracks the number of bobcats killed but does not have a recent census of the state's bobcat population. Do you support or oppose the trapping of bobcats for their pelts?
Oppose: 59 percent Support: 28 percent Unsure: 13 percent
Q: In Nevada, it is unlawful to remove or disturb a legally-set trap. Do you support or oppose allowing citizens to remove or disturb traps that pose an immediate threat to public safety, for example, if your pet or child is caught in, or is in imminent danger of being caught in, a trap?
Support: 68 percent Oppose: 21 percent Unsure: 11 percent
Q: Nevada regulations designate that some areas are closed to hunting and trapping. However, areas adjacent to places such as archaeological sites, historical sites, State Parks, Great Basin National Park, hiking and biking trails, and horse riding trails are not closed to hunting and trapping, potentially placing people and their animals at risk. Do you support or oppose banning trapping within a one mile radius of these types of sites?
Support: 68 percent Oppose: 23 percent Unsure: 9 percent