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Old 23rd April 2012, 09:12 PM   #1
Checkmite
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Most Dangerous Dayhike

So you're hiking in a Utah forest and up ahead, you see what looks like a neat makeshift but elaborate shelter built out of sticks and logs:



Intrigued, you approach one of the two entrances to take a look inside. As you get close to the "door", you feel an unexpected resistance against the top of your shoe. Catching movement out of the corner of your eye, you turn just in time to see this heavy object swinging down from somewhere above, directly at your head:



Lights out.

Luckily, the first person to come across this deadly setup was a forest ranger who was a military vet and had some training in identifying dangerous devices and not, say, some tween who would've seen the cool-looking stick shelter and run headlong toward it without noticing anything.

Quote:
A deadly booby trap rigged along a popular Utah trail could have killed someone if they had tripped a ground wire set up to send a 20-pound, spiked boulder swinging into an unsuspecting hiker, authorities said Monday.

Another trap was designed to trip a passer-by into a bed of sharpened wooden stakes, authorities said.

Two men arrested over the weekend on suspicion of misdemeanor reckless endangerment told authorities the traps were intended for wildlife, but investigators didn't believe the story.

The suspects built a dead-wood shelter as a possible lure for hikers who could step inside only through the two booby-trapped entrances, Utah County sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon said.

"This is a shelter put together by people, visited by people — anything that would be impacted by their device would have to be humans," Cannon said. "It took some time to build these traps. They took rope, heavy-duty fishing line, and they intended what the traps were going to do."

The structure was easy to see, Cannon said, but the booby traps could have been overlooked by everyone except a military-trained officer like James Schoeffler of the U.S. Forest Service, who was on a routine patrol along Big Springs Trail last week when he noticed the trip wires.

The U.S. Forest Service has not made Schoeffler available for an interview. Authorities said he disabled the traps after taking photos and video of the site.

...

Days after Schoeffler made the discovery, a tipster alerted authorities about comments on Facebook that mentioned the traps and the shelter. Detectives then tracked down the suspects, Cannon said.

Benjamin Steven Rutkowski, 19, of Orem and Kai Matthew Christensen, 21, of Provo were booked in the Utah County Jail on Saturday and released on bail.

Prosecutors believed the misdemeanor reckless endangerment allegations were the strongest claims they could pursue without anyone being injured. Charges have not yet been filed.
Source
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Old 23rd April 2012, 10:54 PM   #2
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Prosecutors believed the misdemeanor reckless endangerment allegations were the strongest claims they could pursue without anyone being injured.
That doesn't seem right. You can set a potentially deadly trap on public property and that's not a felony?
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Old 24th April 2012, 03:38 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Modified View Post
That doesn't seem right. You can set a potentially deadly trap on public property and that's not a felony?
There's no evidence that the perps were actually after humans. They *could* have been trying to catch animals and neglected to put up warning signs, as they claim. The defendents' claims must be given due consideration, unless there is evidence to the contrary.
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Old 24th April 2012, 04:46 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Beady View Post
There's no evidence that the perps were actually after humans. They *could* have been trying to catch animals and neglected to put up warning signs, as they claim. The defendents' claims must be given due consideration, unless there is evidence to the contrary.
The article makes it appear that Sgt. Cannon already ruled out the possibility of it being used for animals.
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Old 24th April 2012, 05:13 AM   #5
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Even if you accept the traps were for animals I still doubt very much such devices be allowed, given the apparent risk to humans.

I found a publication (PDF) which documents various laws regarding animal trapping in the US:

http://www.animallaw.info/articles/arus9animall136.htm
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Old 24th April 2012, 05:37 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by commandlinegamer View Post
Even if you accept the traps were for animals I still doubt very much such devices be allowed, given the apparent risk to humans.
That's what makes it a "misdemeanor", as opposed to "legal".
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Old 24th April 2012, 05:42 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Modified View Post
That doesn't seem right. You can set a potentially deadly trap on public property and that's not a felony?
I imagine traps designed to kill human beings on Federally owned land are unusual enough that laws might not have been written to provide for the situation.
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Old 24th April 2012, 05:53 AM   #8
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Every once in a while someone comes up with a completely new activity, which is clearly harmful, but is not against the law because nobody thought about it before. New laws get created as result, but original initiator/inventor remains free.

When US began minting coins out of nickel, very soon someone made counterfeit nickels (that was 1938, when 5 cents got you something). When arrested, crooks pointed out that law only bans counterfeit money made of paper, gold, silver, copper, and alloys thereof. They were let go.
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Old 24th April 2012, 06:17 AM   #9
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I'm sure there must be laws covering this.

Where I live there have been incidents with someone spanning wires across a bicycle path at neck-hight and someone once dug pits, set up metal spikes in them and covered them with grass.

Also, there was a recent incident where some idiot glued razors in the hand-grips of his beer crates. Some crates had been stolen from his back yard.
Moron returned them to the supermarket and some lady nearly lost her fingers.

That last one led to a conviction. I don't think anybody was arrested for the first two incidents.

Booby traps: not as uncommon as I'd like.
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Old 24th April 2012, 06:18 AM   #10
Beady
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Originally Posted by Careyp74 View Post
The article makes it appear that Sgt. Cannon already ruled out the possibility of it being used for animals.
His opinion and a charge that will stand up in court are two seperate things.
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Old 24th April 2012, 06:28 AM   #11
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I would think for animals you'd just build a little fence on the other side and shut the door once in.

Sounds like someone wanted to hurt a human. Or an idiot who wanted to test it on an animal, who should be jailed for animal cruelty. Or jailed for hunting in a grossly inefficient manner.
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Old 24th April 2012, 06:36 AM   #12
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Misinterpreted performance art.
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Old 24th April 2012, 06:51 AM   #13
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Why, just why?
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Old 24th April 2012, 06:59 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Eddie Dane View Post
I'm sure there must be laws covering this.

Also, there was a recent incident where some idiot glued razors in the hand-grips of his beer crates. Some crates had been stolen from his back yard.
Moron returned them to the supermarket and some lady nearly lost her fingers.
This story reminded me of another story where someone was growing (possibly watermelons), but somebody kept swiping them, so the grower put a sign up that read "One of these melons has been poisoned!", hoping to deter the thief. When he came back the next day, there was added to his sign that read "Now two of these melons have been poisoned!"

Psychological warfare...
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Old 24th April 2012, 07:12 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Cleon View Post
I imagine traps designed to kill human beings on Federally owned land are unusual enough that laws might not have been written to provide for the situation.
Actually, pot farms in US Forests sometimes have man-traps associated with them. It's not new.

http://www.the-signal.com/archives/30607/
http://comspark.com/esarc/articles/marijuana.htm
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=636138
http://www.examiner.com/article/52-m...-national-park
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Old 24th April 2012, 08:34 AM   #16
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He should have reset the trap and made a few new ones for whoever rigged them in the first place.
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Old 24th April 2012, 11:21 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Beady View Post
His opinion and a charge that will stand up in court are two seperate things.
If it went to a jury, I doubt you'd get much sympathy for these dopes. Seems to me an attempted murder charge would be a good start. A brief Google search seem to indicate that in human-booby-trap situations, an attempted murder charge is brought in most cases only when someone actually gets hurt. I suppose it's much easier to convict in those cases, but to me that's just rewarding luck. At least bring the charge and let them plead down to felony reckless endangerment.
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Old 24th April 2012, 11:27 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Modified View Post
If it went to a jury, I doubt you'd get much sympathy for these dopes.
Verdicts are based on the law, not sympathy. I've served on juries, and I've got a lot of faith in them. I've yet to see a member who didn't take his oath seriously.
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Old 24th April 2012, 11:32 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Beady View Post
Verdicts are based on the law, not sympathy. I've served on juries, and I've got a lot of faith in them. I've yet to see a member who didn't take his oath seriously.
I should hope so, but the piddling charge seems to indicate that prosecutors fear sympathy in favor of the booby-trappers.
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Old 24th April 2012, 11:45 AM   #20
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Trapping is completely outlawed in most states. Fullstop.

I disagree with that in principle, often not in practice.

Trapping is a highly effective way of hunting. I no longer hunt, but if I found myself in a survival situation I would not hesitate to setup traps.

I feel two ways about traps in general usage vs survival usage.

There are all kinds of natural dangers in any environment, and when a person goes about moving through these environments they need to use caution and need to educate themselves. This includes knowing a trap when you see it, Just my .02

Trapping has fallen out of use since most states make it illegal in all forms except live traps. Mostly due to animal suffering and animal rights activists. I personally stopped hunting after a few hunts went bad and suffering was a major issue for me. Again in a survival situation I would not hesitate, but currently no such need exists for me personally..

Trapping has been a technique used by man since tool making began. In some regards it should be a skill that is continued to be taught and understood regardless of the law, IMHO.

In principle trapping is a skill that should continue.
In principle a person should be able to hunt on there own land in whatever way they want.
In practice it is very dangerous to have unattended traps anywhere a stupid person might find themselves. In today's society we pander to the stupidest of stupid with paper protection laws. Hot coffee anyone?

I completely understand why it is practical to outlaw trapping. I disagree with the theme that we must outlaw all risk in an effort to protect the stupid/uninformed.
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Last edited by Xulld; 24th April 2012 at 11:47 AM.
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Old 24th April 2012, 12:24 PM   #21
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If it were me, I'd work the tipster and see if I could get a statement against interest (exception to the hearsay rule) as to why they set the traps. If the intent was to say kill/injure someone to rob them you could charge them with conspiracy (acting in concert with other people and taking the affirmative act of setting the trap). I'll also go out on a limb and say that after separating these two mopes, getting a confession as to their intent with the traps wouldn't be all that hard.
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Old 24th April 2012, 12:40 PM   #22
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I understand your point Xulld when it comes to trapping on private land. However this was public property, an open park where anyone from a troop of boyscouts to someone's grandfather could have stumbled into it.

I will also point out that part of making a good trap is making it difficult for the animals to notice. If you made the trap well and didn't mark it for humans then it is certainly just as likely to catch a human as any other animal. Do you expect people to spend all of their time in the wood watching carefully for hair thin trip wires, covered pits and bear traps buried under dirt and leaves? That seems unnecessary to me, trap hunting is not an essential activity and the benefits just don't outweigh the risks.
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Old 24th April 2012, 12:57 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Xulld View Post
Trapping is completely outlawed in most states. Fullstop.

Not sure where you got this information, but it's wrong.

Traps like the one in the picture are illegal, and some states have outlawed leghold traps, but just about all fifty states allow some kind of trapping for furbearing animals.
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Old 24th April 2012, 01:06 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Moon-Spinner View Post
This story reminded me of another story where someone was growing (possibly watermelons), but somebody kept swiping them, so the grower put a sign up that read "One of these melons has been poisoned!", hoping to deter the thief. When he came back the next day, there was added to his sign that read "Now two of these melons have been poisoned!"

Psychological warfare...
.
Long, long time ago, my Daddy told me of the guys that would put a sign on their beer glasses on the bar when they'd leave to make room for more beer...
"I spit in this beer"... and they'd come back to see" So did I" on the sign...
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Old 24th April 2012, 01:11 PM   #25
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In Germany in the early 50's, hunting through a small forest outside Kitzingen, I heard a commotion over there.. went over there and found a Roebuck in a noose-snare... freshly dead of a broken neck.
My daddy and I took it to the other side of the forest and left it there.
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Old 24th April 2012, 01:11 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Weak Kitten View Post
I understand your point Xulld when it comes to trapping on private land. However this was public property, an open park where anyone from a troop of boyscouts to someone's grandfather could have stumbled into it.
I agree completely. In practice putting traps where people can unintentionally trigger them is bad mojo. Public or private land is really the same in the sense that most people do not know when they are on one or the other without fences and signage.
Originally Posted by Weak Kitten View Post
I will also point out that part of making a good trap is making it difficult for the animals to notice. If you made the trap well and didn't mark it for humans then it is certainly just as likely to catch a human as any other animal.
Animals are notoriously bad at getting used to anything that has been in there environment for many days on end. You could paint your trap bright orange with pink poka dots and use chrome and still catch any animal if the trap had been there long enough for them to become desensitized to its presence.

Originally Posted by Weak Kitten View Post
Do you expect people to spend all of their time in the wood watching carefully for hair thin trip wires, covered pits and bear traps buried under dirt and leaves? That seems unnecessary to me, trap hunting is not an essential activity and the benefits just don't outweigh the risks.
Not at all, but really as soon as I saw that picture in the OP I would have been on high alert. Traps for animals really do not need to be overly hidden to be effective, however some of the best traps use very little engineering and just by the fact that they are simple, they are often hard to detect, unlike the trap in the OP.

Like I said, I have very mixed feelings about traps when it comes to non-survival situations. Even with good signage, or warnings that is just no guarantee the hapless person will even see the warnings.

Given that hunting is sooo highly regulated anymore trapping has become mostly a thing of the past, and so has the skills used to avoid them, I think that is a problem. What to do, not sure.

Mostly my desire to post in this thread was really just to express my own mixed feelings, not take any given side.

Imagine for a moment that this trap was set and hidden under leaves.


I would have a much harder time even seeing this vs what was in the OP.
In some states you can still hunt with these traps.

Originally Posted by Howie Felterbush View Post
Not sure where you got this information, but it's wrong.

Traps like the one in the picture are illegal, and some states have outlawed leghold traps, but just about all fifty states allow some kind of trapping for furbearing animals.
You know, I have only hunted in a handful of states, but everyone I have has regulated trapping to the point of scarcity. I guess I could have been more specific. Restrictive law to me is not far from a ban. My statement was very poor, but I still believe the theme. Trapping has been restricted almost to death.

Good information, thanks!
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Old 24th April 2012, 01:14 PM   #27
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Trap lines must be marked to be legal.
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Old 24th April 2012, 01:27 PM   #28
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Quote:
RALEIGH, N.C. (Dec. 15, 2011) – The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has adopted temporary rules that allow the trapping of feral hogs with no closed season and no bag limits.

Under the new rules, trappers must have a Commission-issued permit (available free at www.ncwildlife.org) in addition to a hunting or trapping license; feral hogs may be live-trapped using only corral or box traps, constructed in such a way that a non-target animal can be easily released or escape without harm; permit numbers must be placed on all traps; and feral swine must be euthanized while in the trap and may not be removed alive from any trap.

Self-issued permits will be available at www.ncwildlife.org after Dec. 29, when the rules go into effect.

Under previous rules, feral swine could be trapped only under a depredation permit, which requires an economic justification, threat to human safety or documented overabundance.

Permanent rules will be adopted at a later date.
More and more often this is the theme of trapping regulations. Strict to the point of making trapping a novelty.

Live traps are expensive, large, and not as effective. The high cost with the large maintenance make it cost prohibitive, and traditionally trapping has been a poor mans hunting technique.
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Old 24th April 2012, 01:31 PM   #29
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I think we can all agree that Skyrim needs to be outlawed.
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Old 24th April 2012, 01:32 PM   #30
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Thanks for clarifying your position Xulld. Traps just make me nervous. I grew up in Michigan and while I never ran into a trap in the woods out there I heard stories about how the fur traps could mess up your foot or leg. I also heard lots of stories of hunters accidentally shooting bystanders and each other every deer season. I guess I just don't trust a bunch of drunken hunters to properly mark their traps. It's a bummer for those who would be responsible hunters but in the USA we seem to find it easier to ban a thing entirely than to require proper certification.
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Old 24th April 2012, 01:34 PM   #31
Howie Felterbush
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Originally Posted by Xulld View Post
More and more often this is the theme of trapping regulations. Strict to the point of making trapping a novelty.

Live traps are expensive, large, and not as effective. The high cost with the large maintenance make it cost prohibitive, and traditionally trapping has been a poor mans hunting technique.
That's just for hog trapping (not real mainstream).

North Carolina still allows traditional trapping for quite a few species, including armadillo! The fur market is not what it used to be, but you can still make a few bucks trapping furbearing mammals. I haven't looked to see what an armadillo pelt is worth.
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Old 24th April 2012, 01:41 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Weak Kitten View Post
Thanks for clarifying your position Xulld. Traps just make me nervous. I grew up in Michigan and while I never ran into a trap in the woods out there I heard stories about how the fur traps could mess up your foot or leg. I also heard lots of stories of hunters accidentally shooting bystanders and each other every deer season. I guess I just don't trust a bunch of drunken hunters to properly mark their traps. It's a bummer for those who would be responsible hunters but in the USA we seem to find it easier to ban a thing entirely than to require proper certification.
It's not even close to being banned.

Most states require the traps to be tagged with their owner's name, and that trap lines be checked (often daily, sometimes every 72 hours, depending on the state). Some states don't allow leghold traps, or require that leghold trap jaws be smooth (no teeth). Hell, some states still allow snares, as long as the snare opening is smaller than a certain size (to prevent catching deer).

Even California allows trapping, (with legholds) for crying out loud. And they don't allow anything!
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Old 24th April 2012, 01:43 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Howie Felterbush View Post
It's not even close to being banned.

Most states require the traps to be tagged with their owner's name, and that trap lines be checked (often daily, sometimes every 72 hours, depending on the state). Some states don't allow leghold traps, or require that leghold trap jaws be smooth (no teeth). Hell, some states still allow snares, as long as the snare opening is smaller than a certain size (to prevent catching deer).

Even California allows trapping, (with legholds) for crying out loud. And they don't allow anything!
http://www.ncwildlife.org/Portals/0/...Trap Types.pdf

Yea Howie is right, I was being overly dramatic. My impression was based off of a time when I was very poor and many of the regulations made the traps I had illegal.
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Old 24th April 2012, 01:47 PM   #34
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It's not a cheap hobby, that's for sure.

The guys I know that do it, don't do it for a living. One guy I know sat down and figured what he made last year versus the time and energy he expended ended up being about a dollar fifty an hour.

Not exactly living wages.
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Old 24th April 2012, 02:24 PM   #35
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I have trouble believing these folks set their traps for animals, since according to the ranger who found them they seemed to be designed to kill something the general height and shape of a human. Going to use a 20-pound spiked ball swinging at human-head-height to kill a rabbit? Give me a break. And their "accidentally forgot about it" claim might not be worth much if it's true they were talking about the traps on Facebook.

Can't they be charged with attempted murder of the park ranger? He wasn't hurt, but it's purely by chance. What are people who plant explosive devices usually charged with if the device is found and disarmed without hurting anyone?
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Old 24th April 2012, 02:50 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
I have trouble believing these folks set their traps for animals, since according to the ranger who found them they seemed to be designed to kill something the general height and shape of a human. Going to use a 20-pound spiked ball swinging at human-head-height to kill a rabbit?
The only thing I can think of anywhere close to human size would be a bear, or Bigfoot.
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Old 24th April 2012, 03:30 PM   #37
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A bear, nah. The thing has to be moving forward to activate the trip wire, which means it would be on all fours and the stake-ball would swing right over it.

Bigfoot I can buy. It's time someone really put the "hunt" back into Bigfoot hunts. I'd pay for a Sasquatch pelt.
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Old 24th April 2012, 03:34 PM   #38
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It sort of makes me wish that setting a trap such as that one would result in charges of third degree felonious stupidity. Posting about it on Facebook would kick it up to first degree felonious stupidity.
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Old 25th April 2012, 03:36 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Modified View Post
I should hope so, but the piddling charge seems to indicate that prosecutors fear sympathy in favor of the booby-trappers.
No, they fear an acquittal on a more-serious charge that can't be sustained by evidence.
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Old 25th April 2012, 03:41 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by Mark6 View Post
Every once in a while someone comes up with a completely new activity, which is clearly harmful, but is not against the law because nobody thought about it before. New laws get created as result, but original initiator/inventor remains free.

When US began minting coins out of nickel, very soon someone made counterfeit nickels (that was 1938, when 5 cents got you something). When arrested, crooks pointed out that law only bans counterfeit money made of paper, gold, silver, copper, and alloys thereof. They were let go.
Why doesn't common law work in cases like this?
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