Dogs dig the BTNF.
The BTNF welcomes dogs. Because of the wildlife that lives on the forest and the critical watersheds in the forest, being a dog parent on the BTNF comes with additional responsibilities. To minimize their impact on wildlife, other users, and the landscape, and to protect your beloved pet, follow these rules and guidelines:
- Keep your dog close. Scientific evidence shows that dog presence can cause severe stress to wildlife and even displace animals from areas where they need to be. Dogs on the Bridger-Teton National Forest are required to be at your side or under voice control. If you don’t have full confidence that your dog will respond to your voice commands if it encounters wildlife—a highly likely scenario on the BTNF—keep it leashed. (Read more about the effects of dogs on wildlife in dog owner Todd Wilkinson’s article, “Doggone Truth—Domestic Canines Are Not Wildlife’s Best Friends” in Mountain Journal.) Leashing your dog around wildlife also keeps your pet safe; a 2,000-pound moose that feels threatened can hurt, or even kill, a dog with one kick.
- During hunting season—September–December—we advise you to put something that is blaze orange on your dog. A bandana tied to its collar is the easiest way to do this.
- Scoop your dog’s poop and put the mutt mitt in the trash. Like human poop (check here for LNT’s guide to proper waste removal), dog poop might contain traces of things not found in nature. These can be attractants to wild animals and can also filter into the watershed. In the Jackson District, our partners at PAWS provide Mutt Mitts at most popular trailheads. Or just keep a roll of bags with your outdoor gear.
- Be aware that animal traps are legal and set year-round on public lands in Wyoming, including on the BNTF. While meant to capture fur-bearing animals and predators, pets, including dogs, are sometimes caught in traps. Trappers are not required to report these incidents. The Jackson-based nonprofit Wyoming Untrapped, which is working to promote trapping reform in the state, reports that almost 80 dogs have been caught in traps since 2000 and more than 12 of these have died. The nonprofit has a robust video library of how to release your dog if it gets caught in a trap.
The Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce has a guide to a dog friendly trip to Jackson Hole.
Meet the PAWS Poop Fairies and learn why what they do is so important.