Upland Bird Hunting and Cable Devices

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Rick Tischaefer's picture
Rick Tischaefer
Joined: 10/30/12
Upland Bird Hunting and Cable Devices

My name is Rick Tischaefer and I am the President of the North Dakota Fur Hunters and Trappers Association. I also serve as a coordinator for the North Dakota Cooperative Fur Harvester Education Program, a joint outdoor education program with our association and the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

Many of you may remember this post from last year. I don't think it will hurt anyone too much if I post it again – not only as a reminder but to share the information with your friends or fellow hunters. For the most part, El Nino has again brought above normal temperatures and conditions to North Dakota, allowing for extended upland bird hunting opportunities (where birds may exist). Many trappers began building their trap lines through November, and with the close of the deer gun season, have been targeting coyotes with cable devices (e.g. snares).

WPA's and WMA's do not allow the use of cable devices until after the close of the upland bird season. The ability to use cable devices on private lands began November 27, 2017. Using cable devices on private lands requires written permission from the landowner or operator, including PLOTS. Make the time to visit with the landowner or operator so you know what other activities may now be occurring on those lands.

The intent of this information is to raise the level of awareness and reduce the potential for an avoidable circumstance. No trapper that I know of makes a set to catch someone's dog, but it can happen if circumstances permit. Knowledge of each others activities; communicating with landowners or operators; paying attention to your four legged hunting partner; and being prepared are key to having a safe, productive, and enjoyable day afield.

We have information brochures for safely releasing dogs; can provide needed training to dog owners; and are available to assist wherever needed – all anyone has to do is ask. The link to the three brochures is “www.gf.nd.gov/hunting/trapping-and-dogs”.

If you would like to know more about using cable devices in North Dakota, the link to the handbook is “www.gf.nd.gov/sites/default/files/publications/using-cable-devices-in-nd.pdf”.

Galvanized aircraft cable is commonly used in the construction of cable devices for coyotes. Some wire cutters or a leatherman tool may eventually cut this cable, but it will be very difficult and time consuming. Cable cutters are used to easily cut through this type of cable. They are inexpensive and small enough to carry in a hunting vest or jacket pocket. Two links to this product are:


The lock component of the cable device may also be manipulated to make the loop larger, allowing the loop to be removed from the dog. If you have any trouble with acquiring the publications or a pair of cable cutters; need hard copies of any printed material; have related questions; or would like to set up a future training opportunity, send a PM or contact me via e-mail through our website at “www.ndfhta.com”. Please share this information with those who you think may benefit by it, and have many safe and enjoyable days experiencing all that North Dakota has to offer.


Rick Tischaefer
President, North Dakota Fur Hunters and Trappers Association


bobkat's picture
Joined: 12/16/01

I emphasized a good quality Leatherman, Schroder Good info Rick.  This time of year, I always carry a good quality leather man tool, or equivalent.  Among other things years ago it probably saved my young barely leash trained pup caught in a Yotes snare.  Without it I’d have been hard pressed to remove the snare which had tightened to a choking level. Older dogs, solidly leash trained tend to sit and bark till their owners come a running! Been there, done that, too.

Any advice about connibears!  I worry more about them than snares. Lots of hunters don’t know how to remove one, assuming they even get to the dog in time.

Keep a trapping and cutting down  those game, birds and egg eaters to reasonable numbers! 

I should add that cable cutters are best, and inexpensive but even the small ones a bit big and clunky to carry.  That’s why I emphasized a GOOD QUALITY tool like Leatherman, Schrade, or several others.  Some of the cheaper ones are pretty junky and can be hard pressed to cut even soft iron wire!  No dog is worth the money saved on these!