Dogs and M44s

My setter knows “come” and “whoa” and snake avoidance. She’s vaccinated against rabies and rattlesnake bites. She will turn on a whistle and even follow a hand signal when she’s close enough to see.
She works at a range I like, stretching to find birds in open country.
Unfortunately, she can’t read.
And apparently, the ability to read a sign might be all that separates her, or me, from a cyanide-filled land mine.
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Last week, a young man and his dog ran into an M44 cyanide trap. The young man escaped serious injury, but the dog died. It happened in my state, in my town, not far from a place I hunt grouse. And it scares the shit out of me.
My dog often runs at the edge of my vision. Hell, my boys are often running at the edge of my vision and they don’t read that much better than the dog. Worse yet, in this particular case, it seems like even the cursory protection of a sign wasn’t given.
I’m not anti-trapping. I’m not even anti-predator control, though I believe it does little to help upland birds. I am anti-M44. I can see no good reason for setting such a dangerous and indiscriminate booby trap out for a child or dog or anything else to find.
It’s bullshit.

12 thoughts on “Dogs and M44s”

  1. I started to bird hunt a “block management” area open to the public when a ranch lady drove up and warned me that m 44s had been placed on the property. A friend lost his dog to a m44 while chukar hunting near white bird Idaho. Conibear traps are another huge hazard.

  2. Have had one dog caught in a conibear trap, but fortunately had taken the precaution of learning the technique of releasing the trap with a struggling, strangling dog in its grip. Another dog was poisoned and almost died when she chewed on the remains of a raccoon that had been poisoned by my farm neighbors and then staggered off into my woods. When I spoke to them about it, I was told, “It’s not dog poison, it’s coon poison.” Calmly as I could I told them I would be hanging paper rifle targets on the fence that separates their cattle pasture from my woodlot. “But don;t worry about a cow or calf being killed,” I told them. “I’ll only be shooting deer bullets, not cattle bullets.” They said they would stop putting out poison baits for varmints, but I know for a fact they still are. They have killed one of their own dogs and several of their cats. I allow trapping on my land, but poisoning is not selective predator/varmint control; it’s random murder of wild and domestic animals — pets and hunting dogs included. Sadly, it’s wise to check with land owners or mangers about this before you put your dog down for a day’s hunt.


      I am beginning if anywhere is safe. I shudder to think I might lose one of my FAMILY, They truly are part of me and have been for nearly 50 years.

  3. I live in the Midwest and have never heard of a M44. It makes no sense to use such a device. The potential harm far outweighs the benefits from its use. it needs to be outlawed.

  4. Thanks for this post, it caused me to brush up on how to release my dog from a trap. M 44’s should be banned. Period.

  5. There is simply no excuse to use an indiscriminate, non-targeted method of predator control – especially on lands open to the public.

  6. There are many hazards while running bird dogs – barbed wire, traps, open mine shafts, rattlesnakes, porcupines, contaminated water, and M44 cyanide bombs. The cyanide bombs are the most dangerous and nearly always fatal. There is no excuse or justification for setting these lethal hazards on public lands – Hell, no excuse for them on ANY lands.

  7. M-44’s, Conibears, Snares, etc…ALL indiscriminate instruments of death, regardless if set by a junior high kid, weekend warrior or government trapper.

    Coyote, badger or your once in a lifetime bird dog, the instrument don’t care. If you ever peruse the online bird hunting forums you’ll find about a 50/50 split on the use of these devices. I imagine one side of the spectrum fully respects and fears them, the other 50% blindly thinks that the supposed predator control outweighs the danger to their dog…or is in the “won’t happen to me” camp.

    A person isn’t allowed to indiscriminately set a land mine so why are M-44’s, Conibears and Snares lawful…especially on PUBLIC land?

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