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Wreck Legal Traps and You May Find that Alaska Statute has Sharp Teeth

Letters / Anchorage Daily News / April 29, 2005

In response to a letter dated April 18, I would like to encourage everyone to disregard Rich Stromberg's advice to vandalize legally set traps ("Traps found near public-use trails pose danger and should be disarmed").

Instead, I would refer them to Alaska Statute 16.05.790, which prohibits the "obstruction or hindrance of lawful trapping."

Or ask Mr. Mark Luttrell of Seward ("Hiker hit with charges for taking traps," Feb. 4). Mr. Luttrell was found guilty of theft, fined $3,000 ($1,500 suspended) and sentenced to 60 days in jail (all 60 suspended) with 36 months' probation. He was also found guilty of criminal mischief, fined $1,500 ($750 suspended) and had to pay $488 in restitution to the trapper.

To validate his bad advice and justify criminal behavior, Stromberg misinforms the public that "Trap lines are supposed to be visibly marked and specify the trapper." This is not a requirement in Alaska. What purpose would that serve? Perhaps make it easier to perpetuate his criminal behavior?

Regarding trapping being a danger to public safety, trapping is not, nor has it ever been, such a danger. As far as not being a trapper based on where one lives, it doesn't matter if you live in Bethel or Anchorage; traveling to and from your trap line is common, whether by highway vehicle or snowmachine.

Instead of "spring 'em and fling 'em," I would recommend people read and heed these laws meant to protect law-abiding trappers.

Lynn Keogh /Anchorage

Editor's Note: The writer is chairman of the Southcentral chapter of the Alaska Trappers Association.

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