A Man Was Injured by “Nail Traps” During a Hike in North Carolina

Whoever set the traps tried to pin them on PETA

north carolina forest
Mikey B./Unsplash

A man named Tyler Mayo was hurt this past Sunday while hiking in Pisgah National Forest — 500,000 acres of hardwood forest and whitewater rivers in western North Carolina — with his dog Bobby-Joe, a pair of friends, and their dog Delilah. He stepped on a “nail trap,” a piece of plywood with about 12 jagged, two-inch nails sticking sharp side up. Two of the nails went deep into his heel. There were multiple traps, both covered by leaves, and Mayo’s friend stepped on the other. Luckily, her Chaco shoe absorbed the impact, and she was able to pick her heel up before it punctured her skin.

Mayo was able to get both nails out of his foot (though with a bit of effort), and the group immediately reported to the county sheriff’s office, which pledged to refer the case to the U.S. Forest Service. Mayo is now on antibiotics, regularly flushing the wounds, and just thankful that one of his dogs didn’t step on the nails. He also pointed out to local paper The Citizen Times that if a wild animal had happened upon the nails — say, a bear — it probably would’ve caught an infection and died.

That makes the strange message scrawled on the trap, “PETA PAYBAK,” all the more sinister. It’s not clear if whoever left the trap was trying to get back at PETA by killing wild animals, or hurting hikers, or even working as a vigilante in delusional support of PETA’s mission (perhaps in an effort to injure area hunters). For their part, PETA is currently working with the Forest Service for forensic evidence involving the crime, and has offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

PETA President Ingrid Newkirk released the following statement: “Reportedly, the makeshift traps had the words “PETA Paybak” [sic] scrawled across them, but we not only detest violence to any living beings, we can spell.”

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