Cumberland Times-News

Michael A Sawyers - Outdoors

March 9, 2013

Bird dog survives killer trap, keeps hunting

Bari is one lucky 33-pound, female French Brittany spaniel, having survived unfazed the jaws of a Conibear trap this past November near Piney Reservoir in eastern Garrett County.

“My brother Tom and I were hunting grouse,” said Bari’s owner, Bill Vogtman of Frostburg. “I keep her collar set so when she goes on point it makes a steady sound.”

Bari was nearby, but out of sight, when Vogtman heard her start to make noises that she was in pain. “It was a lot more than a yip,” he remembered on Monday, Bari sitting at his side.

“Then she went silent, but we could hear her collar. That’s the only way we found her. Tom got to her first.”

Unlike leg-hold traps that capture, Conibear traps are meant to kill, according to Harry Spiker, a biologist with the Maryland Wildlife & Heritage Service.

Vogtman demonstrated the trap, the metal bars closing violently against the wooden board that in the real world of marshes and wetlands would be the head and neck of the target animal.

Spiker explained that Conibears come in square sizes of 4, 8 and 10 inches. The 4-inch version is set for muskrat and mink, the 8-incher for raccoon and fisher and the 10-incher for beaver and otter.

“Bari wasn’t moving and her tongue was hanging out. Tom said he thought she was dead, but he remembered from some outdoor magazine article a long time ago that the trap could be opened,” Vogtman recalled.

Vogtman said his brother was strong enough to force the springs to relax and, surprisingly, Bari pulled her head out.

“We hunted for another hour and a half and she was fine,” he said.

Vogtman said the trap was in a box and baited with fish and was placed on dry land near a beaver dam.

Spiker said the size of the trap, 8-inches or smaller, allows it to be legally set on dry land in a wetland setting in Maryland. The larger Conibears must be at least partially submerged.

There is no requirement in Maryland for the owner’s name to be on a trap. Written permission is required to trap on private land and a letter from the DNR is needed to trap on public land.

“The description of the trap and bait makes it sound like a classic raccoon set,” Spiker said. “In the past several years, this is only the second incident of a domestic animal being trapped in the state that I know of.”

To see a video of Spiker demonstrating the use of Conibear traps and a special technique for opening them once sprung, go to the Times-News website at www.times-news.com/outdoors.

Vogtman had already learned about this technique and will carry a cord that can be used to quickly open a Conibear should the situation arise once more. “You can do it with a dog leash, too,” Vogtman pointed out.

In fact, Vogtman bought a Conibear, an 8-incher, the same size that grasped Bari, and practices opening it.

“I’m not against trapping,” he said.

Spiker said a relatively new trap is gaining popularity. Generically known as a dog-proof trap, it is a pipe with a bait inside. Once the raccoon or other animal with prehensile hand reaches inside, a trap closes, holding the furbearer.

Vogtman estimates that from the time he heard Bari vocalize pain to the time she was freed was about 30 seconds.

Fortunately, the trap did not impact the dog’s windpipe and her head was slightly to the side when the hunters got to her.

“Thanks to my brother’s strong grip and good distant memory the incident had a good ending,” Vogtman said. “Much longer in that trap and I would have been carrying my hunting buddy and lap warmer out of the woods in tears.”

Contact Outdoor Editor Mike Sawyers at msawyers@times-news.com.

 

1
Text Only
Michael A Sawyers - Outdoors
  • Sleep under the stars! Be a game warden!

    July 27, 2014

  • Mike Sawyers and his father, Frank Sale of quart-sized Mason jars lagging, merchants claim

    The opening day of Maryland’s squirrel hunting season is Sept. 6 and I am guessing you will be able to drive a lot of miles on the Green Ridge State Forest and see very few vehicles belonging to hunters of the bushytail. It wasn’t always that way. In the early 1960s, when I was a high school student in Cumberland, there was no Interstate 68. What existed was U.S. Route 40 and in the last couple of hours before daylight on the opening day of squirrel season there was an almost unbroken line of tail lights and brake lights between Cumberland and Polish Mountain.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Outdoor editor admits making straw purchases

    I’ll admit it. I’ve made straw purchases and I’ve made them knowingly.
    I can only hope that the individuals to whom I have passed on those purchases used them wisely.

    July 12, 2014

  • 11th Maryland bear hunt scheduled Oct. 20-23

    It is getting to be that time of year when those of us who would like to hunt bears in Maryland start thinking about applying for one of the limited number of permits.

    July 6, 2014

  • Wildlife official protests more Sunday hunts in far W. Md.

    Joseph Michael believes that the Maryland Wildlife & Heritage Service put its regulations cart ahead of its regulations horse, at least when it comes to allowing more hunting on Sundays in the state’s three westernmost counties.

    June 28, 2014

  • Bear country bowhunters can pack

    It has been four years in the legislative making, but people bowhunting for deer in Garrett, Allegany and part of Washington counties will be able to carry handguns to protect themselves from bears. Although bow season will begin Sept. 5, the law does not become effective until Oct. 1. The law applies to Deer Management Region A.

    June 1, 2014

  • No Bambi for you, Mrs. Doe

    Some people want so badly for deer birth control to work that they actually think it will, even on wild populations.
    I wish I had a couple bridges to sell.
    A week ago on the Outdoors page we ran the deer there do what deer  everywhere do. They eat the easiest food available such as gardens and ornamental plantings. They walk in front of moving cars. They give ticks and  parasites a place to live.

    April 19, 2014

  • Black bear biologist explains new hunt

    The Maryland Wildlife & Heritage Service has abandoned the bear harvest quota system in use for 10 hunting seasons and has set the next two hunts at four days apiece.

    April 5, 2014

  • MIKE SAWYERS South Branch of Potomac River best place in W.Va. for trophy rainbows

    I always enjoy the annual roundup supplied by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources that reveals where all the trophy fish were caught.

    March 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • MIKE SAWYERS Mettiki will once again produce trout

    Brian Richardson is confident that the Maryland Fisheries Service will, little by little and year by year, get to the point where full production is restored to the state’s trout hatchery system, meaning that fish will no longer have to be purchased from private sources.

    March 22, 2014 1 Photo

Latest news
Facebook
Must Read
House Ads