Trapping season approaches

Regulations for trapping throughout the state vary, but trapping season on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is almost here.

Anyone looking for a unique way to explore the refuge and the different furbearers of the peninsula can get out and start trapping in November.

“We have a trapping season on the refuge that starts Nov. 10,” said Refuge Officer Joe Williams. “And that’s a little different from the state regulations where some species start Oct. 15.”

Permits are available at Refuge Headquarters starting Oct. 5 to anyone who has taken the trapping orientation class and snaring seminar.

“First things first, to trap on the refuge you need to attend the trapping orientation at least once in your lifetime,” Williams said. “It’s a one-day class that we put on here. … You’re good to trap on the refuge for life.”

This year’s seminar will be on Oct. 28 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Refuge Environmental Education Center on Ski Hill Road in Soldotna.

“Sometimes, we get some speakers and folks with some good knowledge of where to go and things like that,” Williams said.

Some of the furbearers that can be found on the refuge include beaver, coyote, wolf, mink and marten.

“Those are the big ones, but there is some river otter and a little bit of muskrat too,” Williams said.

Lynx trapping is still closed, since populations for the short-tailed cat are tied to snowshoe hare populations and go up and down on roughly a six-year abundance cycle on the peninsula.

Once the trapping season starts, Williams said it’s important to avoid conflicts with others on the refuge.

“The Kenai Peninsula is vast and large, but finding ample trapping spaces seems to always be a critical factor,” Williams said. “Talk to fellow trappers to find out that you’re not trapping on their line. Just avoid conflicts.”

It’s also important to be aware of public use of land on the refuge.

“Even if a place is open for trapping, if you see a lot public use be cautious,” Williams said. “We don’t want any accidents or conflicts, that makes it tough on everybody.”

For non-trappers, though, it’s also important to be aware of trapping, especially those with pets.

“We need to be mindful to keep animals on their leash,” Williams said. “During winter time, don’t let your dog run in an area with traps.”

Reach Kat Sorensen at kat.sorensen@peninsulaclarion.com.

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