As the debate over trapping continues ahead of a possible 2016 ballot measure to ban the long-time practice, Oregon State Police said Thursday they found a spot where a hiking couple encountered a trapped bobcat off a trail in the Cline Butte area west of Redmond nearly a week ago.
OSP Sgt. Scott Sogge told NewsChannel 21 he located the spot off "Trail 15" in the Dry Canyon area where Bend resident Scott Silver and his wife saw the trapped bobcat last Friday, just off the trail.
Soggee found the hole for the trap was just "three or four steps, a maximum of seven feet" off the trail -- well inside the state's 50-foot off-limits trapping requirement along recognized hiking trails, meaning a violation apparently took place.
However, both the animal and the trap were nowhere to be found, Sogge said. A fresh layer of snow also meant no tracks were visible, nor blood on the ground. Anyone with more info in the incident was asked to contact OSP.
For nearly 30 years, Oregon has required that all new trappers complete a trapper education course.
Traps with teeth are now banned, and traps now have flat clamps, a design trappers say causes less pain.
For Mykle Ridgeway, a licensed trapper from Powell Butte, trapping isn't a sport, it's a way of life
While he farms during the summer, Ridgeway traps in the winter to make money.
"Not even a quarter of a mile from here, the guy has to put his sheep up every night or he'll lose at least one," Ridgeway said Wednesday. "He can trap the coyotes and get rid of the problem, and get the extra money to reimburse him for the sheep that have been taken."
Trapping is not as simple as putting a trap on the ground. Ridgeway says it takes time, money and knowledge.
Trappers in Oregon get a license by passing a test that covers rules and regulations for responsible trapping. Each trap they use is required by law to have the trapper's licensed brand number on it.
'We don't want to spend time trapping to have traps disturbed or catch somebody's dog. That's not what we're after," Ridgeway said.
Bend Veterinary Clinic veterinarian Dr. Lauren Stayer said, "I think the awareness has gotten heightened, and owners are a little more cautious where they are going, and so we seem to see less issues."
Ridgeway, who has six dogs himself, says incidents can be prevented with pet owner education and responsible trapping by all.
On Wednesday, before the OSP found the Cline Buttes trapping location, Ridgeway said there could be an explanation for what the couple found.
"If that was on a drag, that cat could have came from 500 yards off the road or trail," Ridgeway said.
But he added that if that didn't end up being the case, he believes the trapper should be punished.
"It gives a black eye to the whole trapping community," Ridgeway said. "One person doing something wrong, when there's hundreds of trappers doing it the right way and never have any incidents -- so yeah, it makes me angry."