What was supposed to be a relaxing day of hunting turned into a nightmare for Carson Mansfield when his dog, Bella, became caught in a conibear trap, killing her. Now he's urging wildlife officials to reevaluate where these traps are allowed so someone else doesn't experience the same loss.
"Her collar was caught and her mouth was open and I got over there and I knew what it was," said Mansfield Friday.
It was 10 a.m. on Valentines Day. Mansfield was hunting with his 20-month-old Beagle in Kanopolis. He never imagined just six minutes later, she would be gone.
"I put my chin on the trap and tried to get her out," said Mansfield.
Bella fell victim to the conibear trap, which is used to catch small game like raccoons for their fur. Mansfield, a lifelong hunter, was on public land where the traps are often set, but where hundreds of hunters and their dogs often walk.
"Those traps are designed to kill," said Mansfield.
The ordeal prompted Mansfield to go to the Department of Wildlife and Parks' commission meeting in Topeka this week. He urged them to rethink "kill traps" on public land.
"I'm not trying to ban trapping in any way," he said. "I'm just interested in kill traps on public land."
Officials say deciding whether or not to remove these traps is not a decision they take lightly because they're used largely for furbearer control.
"Furbearer control is an important objective of public lands management and traps are the primary tool by which this is accomplished," said Matt Peeks, a biologist with Wildlife and Parks.
But it's a case the parks department said left concern, something Mansfield said he appreciates.
"The fish and game people were friendly, open and very professional," said Mansfield.
"We intend to reevaluate the risks and benefits of allowing body gripping traps on public lands," said Peeks.
Mansfield, who now has a new hunting buddy, said he just hopes nobody else suffers the same experience.
"I could not imagine this," he said emotionally. "It was just so devastating."
Mansfield has already taken his new Beagle puppy, Lilly, out hunting, but he said he'll never again go on public lands, where traps could be set.