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Author Topic: Checking traps without having to go there?  (Read 3553 times)

Offline Goshawk

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Checking traps without having to go there?
« on: February 25, 2021, 07:41:43 PM »
Greetings,
Well, this might be pushing it a bit, so I'll share and see what you all think before I make that call tomorrow.

In dry land or at lease not a deep submerged trap sets, I have tried and succeeded in using a drone to fly over the set, then go low enough to identify if the trap is occupied or not.  Obviously this would not work on every set due to timber, distance and hills. In the case of wet sets, I put a strip of surveyors tape accross the trap's door. If the trap is set, you can clearly see the orange tape strip from the air. If it's missing, then the trap has been sprung and is in need of attention.
If it's legal, these are the pros:

1. Speed.  I know of several locations where I can check on a set in less than 5 minutes even though it's 1/4 mile or more from any road, or in a swamp that would take me well over an hour to wade through.
2. Checking from the air keeps the set free of disturbance and scent.
3. It allows me to cover a lot more sets due to cutting the time needed to check them daily, and over ground that would be too steep or rough to mess with for daily foot checks.
4. Range of sets. This allows me to be able to spread out a much longer line since I can check every point in minutes.

Cons:
1. Might not be looked upon in a favorable view by the WDFW.

Here's the rub. Drones are only addressed in terms of hunting, harassing or reporting the location of wildlife for "hunting".

"Using aircraft (WAC 220-413-070): It is illegal to:
• Use an aircraft, including unmanned aircraft to spot, locate, or report the location of wildlife for the purpose of hunting.
• Hunt big game on the same day you were airborne for any purpose, except for a regularly scheduled commercial flight.
• Hunt game animals, game birds, or migratory birds on the day one has operated an unmanned aircraft.

Aircraft, boats, or motor driven vehicles (WAC 220-413-070):
Using aircraft, unmanned aircraft, boats, or motor driven vehicles to pursue, concentrate, or harass wildlife is prohibited. This includes ATVs. Hunting from boats with motors is permitted if the motor is off and it is not contributing to the boat's propulsion.

I'm going to call the local WDFW enforcement folks tomorrow and see what their take is on it so I'll not get in too much trouble, and get back to the group just in case anyone here is interested.

Later,
Goshawk
You'll never get Bigun's if you keep shooting Littleun's.

Offline luvmystang67

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Re: Checking traps without having to go there?
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2021, 07:50:34 PM »
Like anything, there's the technical right answer, the perceived right answer, and your ability to influence one or the other in court.  I imagine WDFW would not be fond of the drone idea, but I don't see anything that would make it illegal.  Heck, it might even be better than how you'd normally visually check if its a hard-to-reach place.  If you think you can sell that when questioned by an officer, I think you'd be in the clear.  However, if you're not able to sell it in person, its going to cost you to try to sell it in court.

Technically, I think you're good.  The fact that you're asking about it means that you know there's a perception risk.  From an ethical perspective, as long as you have good view and think you're being fair to any potentially caught animal, and your view is equal to or better than what you'd have in person, I think you're good.

Good luck!

Offline Skyvalhunter

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Re: Checking traps without having to go there?
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2021, 07:55:32 PM »
What about using a cellular trail cam to send you a picture when the trap is sprung?

Offline Goshawk

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Re: Checking traps without having to go there?
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2021, 08:11:18 PM »
What about using a cellular trail cam to send you a picture when the trap is sprung?

They are expensive, and only work where there's a very good cell signal.  I'm not up to buying a dozen spypoint cameras but I already have a good drone, so long as my wife let's me use it. It's handy for checking cows during calving season too.
You'll never get Bigun's if you keep shooting Littleun's.

Offline Loup Loup

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Re: Checking traps without having to go there?
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2021, 08:47:14 PM »
I advise not to call WDFW. Keep checking your traps with your drone.
An enforcement person will say trapping is a form of hunting. I think there is alot of wiggle room there for you.
The WAC 070 is very specific. It says hunting game animals, game birds, and migratory birds. You are trapping furbearers. With the exception of bobcat , which is a game animal. And maybe raccoon. But again, you are trapping not hunting.
If you really got to ask someone, do it via email. Then if you do get a positive answer you have it in writing. Then carry that email in your glovebox.

Offline Humptulips

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Re: Checking traps without having to go there?
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2021, 08:57:54 PM »
I have a meeting with a lawyer that works for WDFW Monday. I will ask.
Bruce Vandervort

Offline KFhunter

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Re: Checking traps without having to go there?
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2021, 09:27:38 PM »
What about using a cellular trail cam to send you a picture when the trap is sprung?

They are expensive, and only work where there's a very good cell signal.  I'm not up to buying a dozen spypoint cameras but I already have a good drone, so long as my wife let's me use it. It's handy for checking cows during calving season too.
And also "not a check" as the cam could fail.

If you could program it to send a pic at a dedicated time verifying the camera is working and that the trap is empty I think you'd be onto something. I'd give a visual refrence proving it was 'that' trap and not another.

Drone I'd snap a pic and store it to verify checked.  The pic would need to be indisputable.

And since this is all unprecedented be prepared to go all the way if charged, as you'd be making law.  Essentially you need to build a defense for yourself and it needs to be strong.



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Offline Born2late

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Re: Checking traps without having to go there?
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2021, 10:09:21 PM »
It would also help not leaving tracks in and out if you where in mud or snow so people can't follow your tracks to your trap location.

Offline JakeLand

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Re: Checking traps without having to go there?
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2021, 10:10:23 PM »
You can have your SPYPOINT send you a pic every day at a certain time so it could be fine as long as you have cell service

Offline Humptulips

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Re: Checking traps without having to go there?
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2021, 10:36:00 PM »
What about using a cellular trail cam to send you a picture when the trap is sprung?

They are expensive, and only work where there's a very good cell signal.  I'm not up to buying a dozen spypoint cameras but I already have a good drone, so long as my wife let's me use it. It's handy for checking cows during calving season too.
And also "not a check" as the cam could fail.

If you could program it to send a pic at a dedicated time verifying the camera is working and that the trap is empty I think you'd be onto something. I'd give a visual refrence proving it was 'that' trap and not another.

Drone I'd snap a pic and store it to verify checked.  The pic would need to be indisputable.

And since this is all unprecedented be prepared to go all the way if charged, as you'd be making law.  Essentially you need to build a defense for yourself and it needs to be strong.



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You don't have to prove you checked the trap. They have to show you didn't. About the only way to do that is show you didn't remove something in a timely fashion.
If you are sure the trap is empty there would be no need to save a picture of the empty trap.
Bruce Vandervort

Offline DishBogget

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Re: Checking traps without having to go there?
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2021, 07:02:22 AM »
You can have your SPYPOINT send you a pic every day at a certain time so it could be fine as long as you have cell service
A friend specifically asked two wardens if using those cameras would count as a trap check and they both said they didn’t see a problem with it


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Offline Goshawk

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Re: Checking traps without having to go there?
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2021, 07:09:43 AM »
You can have your SPYPOINT send you a pic every day at a certain time so it could be fine as long as you have cell service

I have a couple of the Spypoint Dark-V, and their reliability has been very spotty at best. The drone can take either pictures of each set or a video clip of checking the sets, whichever you choose.  I've also used it for scouting out drainages for beaver activity, and in the snow for otter slides.
I'll keep you posted.
You'll never get Bigun's if you keep shooting Littleun's.

Offline MtnMuley

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Re: Checking traps without having to go there?
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2021, 07:22:15 AM »
I guess it just depends how far a guy really wants to push the envelope. I highly doubt WDFW would be supportive of this if you're looking for a yes or no answer. Posting these drone uses on social platforms that they monitor could surely lead to changing wording in their regulations by putting further restrictions on. Just my thoughts.

Offline Buckhunter24

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Re: Checking traps without having to go there?
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2021, 08:40:28 AM »
If using unmanned aircraft to pursue wildlife is prohibited, then i think that includes any use - checking traps, scouting etc.

Offline Fishhunt223

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Re: Checking traps without having to go there?
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2021, 09:47:33 AM »
We do not have "trap checks" in Washington.  The law reads that an animal may not be left in a trap longer than a certain length of time.  24 hours for a live trap, 72 hours for a kill trap.  Technically you do not have to check the trap for the entire season as long as there is not an animal inside. 
I personally use Arlo wireless security cameras on my trapline.  I see no reason that enforcement would have an issue with using technology.  In theory, this makes trapping more ethical. We are able to remove animals more quickly because we know the instance they are captured, rather than only checking the traps once per day.  I have been checked by the enforcement in my area multiple times, and while we certainly have items we do not see eye to eye on, cameras have not been an issue.

 


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