Utilizing the truths in trapping, the best available science, ethics, & responsible stewardship to achieve trapping reform.

Action Alerts

  • After receiving over 25,000 public comments, the Montana Fish & Wildlife Commission held their public meeting on August 20, 2021 and made their final decisions for the Montana 2021/2022 wolf season.
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    After receiving over 25,000 public comments, the Montana Fish & Wildlife Commission held their public meeting on August 20, 2021 and made their final decisions for the Montana 2021/2022 wolf season.

    The far majority of public comments submitted were in opposition to killing more wolves in Montana or the means proposed to do so. TFMPL reviewed and tabulated the individualized comments from those who identified themselves as Montanans. At least 2/3rds or 66% were in opposition to the goal to increase the killing of wolves or by the measures brought forth to the Commission by Fish, Wildlife and Parks. As in the 2021 Montana legislature pro-wildlife, pro-wolf dominated in verbal and submitted written comment. There were so many opponents, over zoom, to the wolf proposals for the June 24, 2021 Montana Fish & Wildlife Commission hearing, a second one was held on the night of June 30th. It is not evident if any of the Commissioners watched or listened to that zoom meeting.

    During the August 20, 2021 public Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission hearing, the first held in person since Covid-19 2020, Commissioner Vice Chair, Pat Tabor, of Whitefish in NW Montana, an outfitter, made the following motion for wolf regulations. They were then open for public comment to those present for the hearing, those participating at the FWP regional offices, and for those who signed up the day prior to comment via zoom.

    WOLF REGULATION MOTION
    I move to adopt the following Wolf Regulations for the 2021-22 Season:
    A harvest of 450 wolves shall initiate a commission review with potential for rapid in-season adjustments to hunting and trapping regulations. Thereafter the commission shall be similarly re-engaged at intervals of additional 50 wolves harvested, if season adjustments allow for additional wolf harvest. Additionally the following harvests by any Region alone shall initiate a commission review with potential for rapid in-season adjustments to hunting and trapping regulations:
    Region 1 195 wolves
    Region 2 116 wolves
    Region 3 82 wolves
    Region 4 39 wolves
    Region 5 11 wolves
    Region 6 3 wolves
    Region 7 4 wolves
    A non-target capture of one lynx or grizzly bear shall initiate a commission review with potential for rapid in-season adjustments to trapping regulations. Afterwards the commission shall be similarly re-engaged for any additional non-target capture of lynx or grizzly bear.
    All non-target captures shall be reported to the department with 24 hours (as currently required) to include captures from foothold traps and snares.
    Wolf snares include required equipment and setting requirements to minimize the potential for snaring and holding non-target species. Specifically:
    Snares must be equipped with a loop stop that will close to a loop no smaller than 2.5 inches in diameter (stop placed at no less than 8 inches from end of loop). Snares must have a breakaway device rated at 1,000 lbs. or less installed on the loop end,
    Snares must be placed such that the bottom of the snare loop is at least 18 inches above the surface.
    If snares are allowed on public lands, power-assisted (e.g., spring-loaded) snare locks are prohibited on wolf snares on public lands.
    A relaxing snare lock is required on snares in lynx protection zones (LPZs).
    Wolf and furbearer seasons continue to be set by the commission annually, to allow opportunity for season adjustments between consecutive seasons based upon review of harvest, population size, and conflicts.
    Hunters will be allowed to purchase and possess 10 wolf hunting licenses
    Trappers will be allowed a bag limit of 10 wolves
    Season dates for trapping wolves will be the first Monday after Thanksgiving to March 15 for the entire state. For those districts located in the federally designated Grizzly Bear Recovery Zone the Department will apply a floating open season date that could start the Monday after Thanksgiving or any day thereafter as determined by the Department based upon a real time reading of conditions. If the Department does not select a date prior to December 15, then the season will open on December 15 and close March 15.
    Snaring is permitted on public and private lands consistent with trapping season dates with the exception of those areas Federally designated as Grizzly Bear Recovery Zones.
    Night hunting is permitted on Private lands Statewide
    Use of baits for hunting/trapping wolves is permitted Statewide with current wolf trapping bait definition.
    Eliminate quotas in WMUSs 110, 313, 316.

    THE MOTION PASSED 3:2 with Commissioner Brian Cebull of Billings, and Chair Lesley Robinson of Dodson supporting Commissioner Tabor's motion. Commissioner Pat Byorth of Bozeman and Commissioner KC Walsh of Martinsdale voted in opposition.

    “My largest concern is that we are selling our souls and our fair chase in order to provide methods that are unnecessary and more likely to have repercussions.” ~ Commissioner Byorth.

    Commissioner Byorth is a holdover from Montana Governor Steve Bullock. The other four Commissioners were appointed by newly elected Governor Greg Gianforte.
    Of public record, Commissioner Walsh, Commissioner Tabor, and Commissioner Cebull all donated to Gianforte's campaign. Commissioner Cebull has donated more than $13,000 to Gianforte’s campaigns between 2017 and 2020, according to contribution records.

    These unethical liberalized changes to the wolf regulations and which will indiscriminately and brutally injure and kill far more than wolves, were brought forth as a result of anti-wolf bills passing in partisan votes in the Montana 2021 legislature and signed into law by Montana Governor Greg Gianforte (R). The corresponding legislative bill sponsors, both from Thompson Falls, (HD13), in Northwest Montana, were Representative Paul Fielder (R), HB224 allow snaring of wolves, HB225 allow lengthened wolf trapping season, and Senator Bob Brown (R) SB267 allow reimbursement for trapping and hunting wolves, SB314 liberalize means to kill wolves with the intent to reduce the populations to no less than the minimum to avoid relisting under the ESA. See https://tfmpl.org/2021-legislation/2021-mt-trapping-related-bills

    TO REVIEW the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission August 20, 2021 hearing:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iZqfmTW1BA
    Wolves ~ 4:54
    Open mic ~ 8:48

    Thank you to all our supporters who have joined us in this fight for wolves and against trapping! As Commissioner Byorth stated, "It's a dark road we are going down." This war has just begun and the public will not stand for this!

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    2021 Wolf Regulations.

  • UPDATE: On August 20, 2021 a dark day was declared for wolves and other indiscriminate victims in Montana. The Montana Fish & Wildlife Commission rejected the majority of the public, rejected the science, rejected ethics, and reverted Montana back 100 years. https://tfmpl.org/alerts/2021-wolf-regulations
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    UPDATE: On August 20, 2021 a dark day was declared for wolves and other indiscriminate victims in Montana. The Montana Fish & Wildlife Commission rejected the majority of the public, rejected the science, rejected ethics, and reverted Montana back 100 years. https://tfmpl.org/alerts/2021-wolf-regulations

    Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) has made wolf proposals to the Fish & Wildlife Commission for the 2021 wolf season in response to the passage of multiple anti-wolf bills in the Montana 2021 legislature. FWP is proposing the 2021 wolf seasons and quotas for liberalizing wolf "bag" limits, trapping season dates, snaring, night hunting, and use of bait for hunting.

    DEADLINE TO SUBMIT PUBLIC COMMENT for the 2021 WOLF SEASON 7/26 5PM MST.
    https://fwp.mt.gov/hunt/public-comment-opportunities

    Noteworthy, during the legislative session was FWP's absence, failure to provide expert informational witnesses, and lack of sharing pertinent documentation.

    Although FWP identifies some of what must be implemented, they fail to propose or recommend what they are still able to do to try and mitigate this unnecessary, unjust, and unethical war declared on wolves that will cruelly and indiscriminately destroy far more than wolves. At best, they express concern for the trapping of ESA protected species, such as grizzlies. The public and our safety from these monstrous leghold traps and deadly snares remains muted.

    In their proposed wolf season option's supporting information, FWP refers to "limited, intermediate, or maximum new tools" in their 17 page document.
    https://fwp.mt.gov/binaries/content/assets/fwp/commissionagendas/june-24...

    In sync with a definition of "tool" as "a means to an end" the primary goal for the vocal and now much empowered minority is to kill as many wolves as possible. This war on wolves remains contradictory to the science and to the objectives for Montana wolf management:
    Livestock losses are down and wolf predation make up < 1% of causes of mortality to begin with;
    Elk populations remain ~45,000 over objective; Shoulder seasons continue to try to reduce elk populations;
    Chronic wasting disease is on the rise including in Region 1, the home base of these kill wolves bills;
    Overall big game hunter success is high;
    Trappers and killers are having no trouble hitting new highs annually of the number of wolves reported trapped and killed;
    The public was overwhelmingly opposed to these anti-wildlife bills in the Montana legislature, some bills 4:1, and from folks of diverse backgrounds;
    The planned agenda does not support "increasing broad public acceptance" of wolf harvest as "part of wolf conservation."

    For anti-wolfers, though, the only thing some hate or fear more than wolves are the feds. Thus, a priority of theirs has become to try to avoid triggering a review and re-listing of wolves under the Endangered Species Act.

    Regardless of the benign nomenclature or lame excuses used, when it comes to trapping these are weapons, not tools, and of mass and indiscriminate destruction. Far more than innocent wolves will suffer and die including rare, protected, threatened, endangered species, and family pets. They know it. You know it. Yet, who is going to get caught, report it, or stop it?

    Background:
    SIGNED INTO LAW by Montana Governor Greg Gianforte:
    HB224: Allow snaring of wolves by licensed trappers. Snares are already legal in Montana but had not been for wolves. "Trapping seasons must allow for the use of snares by the holder of a trapping license." Bill sponsor, Rep. Paul Fielder.
    HB225: Revise wolf trapping season. Enabling an additional month added to the wolf trapping season beyond the current Dec 15 - Feb 28. This will result in more trapped animals including grizzlies.
    "The commission may authorize a wolf trapping season that opens the first Monday after Thanksgiving and closes March 15 of the following calendar year, except that the commission may adjust the dates for specific wolf management units based on regional recommendations." Bill sponsor, Rep. Paul Fielder
    SB267: Allow reimbursements for hunting and trapping wolves. A bounty bill driven by an out of state organization. "Reimbursements for receipts of costs incurred related to the hunting or trapping of wolves may be given to persons licensed to hunt or trap wolves." Bill sponsor, Senator Bob Brown.
    SB314: Wolf Extermination bill. "The commission shall establish by rule hunting and trapping seasons for wolves with the intent to reduce the wolf population in this state to a sustainable level, but not less than the number of wolves necessary to support at least 15 breeding pairs." In other words, slaughter wolves by ~ 85%. "The commission may apply different management techniques
    depending on the conditions in each administrative region with the most liberal harvest regulations applied in regions with the greatest number of wolves. In doing so, the commission may authorize:"
    More than one wolf license per person, increased or unlimited wolf quotas per license, the use of bait to hunt and trap wolves, and on private land - night hunting with the use of artificial light or night vision scopes. Bill sponsor, Senator Bob Brown.

    Comment may be emailed to the department: fwpwld@mt.gov or
    The Montana Wildlife Commission: Email: FWcomm@mt.gov
    BE SURE to include in the subject line: Wolf Proposals
    Or comment can be submitted online for the 2021 Wolf Season:
    https://fwp.mt.gov/hunt/public-comment-opportunities

    DEADLINE TO SUBMIT COMMENT 7/26 5PM MST

    For additional information or assistance with public comment email us at: info@tfmpl.org or sign-up to stay informed on significant matters of trapping in Montana. https://tfmpl.org/sign-up

    PLEASE BE A VOICE for the voiceless in Montana!
    THANK YOU!

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  • Protect swift fox and stop trapping them!Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks 2020 furbearer trapping proposal is to:
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    Protect swift fox and stop trapping them!

    Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks 2020 furbearer trapping proposal is to:

    1. Expand the swift fox trapping region to the East to abut the Fort Peck Indian Reservation and North to the Canadian border.
    2. Have the swift fox trapping season run Nov 1 - Jan 15 instead of Nov 1 - March 1.

    Instead, based on the best available science, what needs to happen is a closure of trapping swift fox, an end to the season, a moratorium, a 0 quota. Whatever, it takes, trapping swift fox is irresponsible and counterproductive to the Montana Swift Fox Conservation Strategy and the swift fox recovery objectives and goals.

    Photo of swift fox in a trap - Montana's legacy for the 5 pound swift fox?

    During the widespread trapping, poisoning, shooting campaign to kill wolves and other predators, the swift fox was eradicated in Montana and declared locally extinct by 1969. Today, despite various efforts, the rare swift fox does not appear doing near as well as expected. They are not expanding, surviving, reproducing, or remaining as anticipated, as hoped, as needed.

    Thanks to the reintroductions into Canada, at an approximate cost of $5,000,000, the swift fox crossed the border and returned to Montana 20 years ago.  They reached an estimated high of over 500 in 2005 in Montana but never to be seen again. At the request of Montana trappers a swift fox trapping season began in 2010 with a quota of 20, then a few years later, 30.

    In Canada, swift fox remain protected and are illegal to trap.

    The last final estimates in Montana had the swift fox down 33% in 2015 from the previous census and at only 347 remaining in our state. In response, FWP lowered the trapping quota in 2016 to 10.

    From the current swift fox data, their future in Montana is even more bleak. The swift fox is not recolonizing onto their historic ranges and apparently are not reproducing enough to do so. Adults are experiencing lower survivability. The northern population is separated from the pockets of swift fox in the southeastern part of the state by hundreds of miles and down there they are not reproducing or remaining.  

    The swift fox requires large home ranges in Montana and give birth to only one small litter a year. They disperse in the fall and just prior to breeding which starts in December. Montana's trapping season starts Nov 1 and runs until March 1st. Rather than ending the trapping of swift fox, Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks has proposed changing the closing date to Jan 15. Montana FWP has also proposed for the 2020 season to increase the swift fox trapping region East to the Fort Peck Indian Reservation and North to the Canadian border.

    This little, rodent and insect eating, fox has multiple obstacles to recovery and expansion. They are negatively impacted by severe winters, drought, predation, vehicles, agriculture, topography, climate change and loss of prey.

    Trapping is one form of unnecessary mortality we can quickly and easily end and must in order to effectively help the swift fox.  Trap modifications are determined to be 100% effective at avoiding swift fox while 94% effective at trapping coyotes. Therefore, the arguement swift fox get trapped anyways loses its sway. Their pelts are deemed worthless and trapping is market driven. After considerable research, Trap Free was able to find a price at best of $7. We are told the less than handful of Montana trappers who enjoy destroying these, smaller than a domestic cat, vixens do it for the notoriety.

    Some claim to fame....I annihilated the last swift fox in Montana.......again!

    From the best available science, Trap Free Montana Public Lands obtained, the basis in which the swift fox was removed from the ESA candidate list in 2001 are vastly different from the science and findings of today.

    Please Help Save the Swift Fox in Montana!

    CONTACT the Montana Wildlife Commission and URGE them to CLOSE the Trapping Season on swift fox!

    Email: fwcomm@mt.gov        
    Public Comment closes 5 pm 7/28/20.

    That is, only if you truly care!

    ​Learn more about the swift fox in Montana at  trapfreemt.org/wildlife-species/swift-fox

    All Rights Reserved. 2020

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  • Montana 2018 Trapping ProposalsUPDATED with Wildlife Commissioner’s decisions below:
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    Montana 2018 Trapping Proposals
    UPDATED with Wildlife Commissioner’s decisions below:

    UPDATE: Wildlife Commissioner’s hearing Aug 9. FWP Headquarters - 1420 East 6th Avenue - Helena, MT.  The public meeting begins at 830 with the furbearers final decisions scheduled to start around 1:00 after the lunch break.
    Two wildlife advocates, the board presidents of Trap Free Montana Public Lands (TFMPL) and Wolves of the Rockies, attended the Aug 9 hearing and gave verbal comment, again.

    During the August 9, 2018 Wildlife Commissioner’s furbearer decision meeting, TFMPL board president, KC York, advocated for the need for opportunities for all stakeholder participation.  York raised the issue of wildlife advocates are set up to be more informed and reactive than provided the means to be proactive and involved in the actual furbearer trapping proposals to begin with.  Chairman Vermillion agreed that ALL interested parties should be given advance notice and the opportunity to participate in the annual furbearer discussion and propositions with FWP.

    275 comments were reportedly submitted to FWP for the Montana 2018/2019 furbearer proposals by the July 15, 2018 deadline. Well done!

    About 15 of the comments were from trappers,11 of whom listed as Montana residents.

    Although, again, not open for public comment, roughly 2 dozen organizations, 18 from Montana, representing conservatively tens of thousands, plus over 425 individuals, 87% being Montanans, signed on to a letter for 24 hour/daily trap checks from Zack Strong of NRDC that we helped circulate online. This is double the number gathered in a very short time last year.

    Here are the 2018/2019 FWP Montana furbearer trapping proposals and our recommendations:
    1. Proposal for Region 3: Decrease bobcat quota from 250 to 150.
    SUPPORT
    Passed
    Over 1500 bobcat were reported killed legally throughout Montana this past trapping season. Region 3, located in SW Montana, had a pattern, along with Regions 1 and 2 in western Montana of going over quota from 2010-2015.  An additional 187 bobcats were reported killed! The usual response has been for FWP to increase the quota. Good to see the department is now taking some notice in Region 3.
    We support the reduction in quota but animals killed over quota need to be removed off the next year's quota, too!

    2.  Proposal for a Conservation Strategy for Swift Fox.
    SUPPORT but INSIST on a Trapping Moratorium on swift fox.

    41 Comments submitted. 40 comments URGING closing trapping of swift fox!
    Commissioner’s decision POSTPONED until Oct. mtg, then Dec mtg, then February 2019!
    Meanwhile, rare swift fox continue to be legally trapped in Montana Nov 1 -March 1 and during their dispersal, breeding and pregnancy until FWP closes the season after a quota of 10 are reported trapped & killed.
    Who would oppose a "conservation strategy"? Why though is one now being proposed for the little swift fox? In the war against coyotes and wolves, swift fox were formerly wiped out in Montana. Approximately 1,000 swift fox were later reintroduced into Montana along the Canadian border between 1983-1997. Another roughly 200 were released on to two Native American Reservations in 1998-2002 and 2006-2010. However, in the last census, swift fox populations have plummeted 67% in Montana! 

    In response to our communicated concerns and upset. FWP said the final population estimate in 2015 was 347, down still a significant 33%.
     
    Table 1. Swift Fox Population Estimates for the International Census area in north-central Montana and southern Alberta and Saskatchewan.
     
         

    (Draft Conservation Strategy)
    Did you know that Swift fox are protected in Alberta and Saskatchewan? It is illegal to trap them! Not so in Montana.  
     
    According to the USFWS the little swift fox are also very easy to trap. Compound that with their very curious nature (Stewart, 1999) and you have the perfect storm to easily award yourself with a whopping $7 swift fox pelt. Yes, you read that right.  Seven dollars!

    In the 2016/2017 trapping proposals, the quota on swift fox was reduced from 30 to 10 which was reflective of the averages reported trapped and killed over the years since Montana resurrected trapping them. TFMPL expressed concern then to the Commissioners if this kill rate was reflective of the low population or low interest of trappers. Now evidence points to our bigger fear. Montana estimates only 175 swift fox!

    We cannot have a legitimate conservation strategy for the declining swift fox encompassing the stated goals for population monitoring, dispersal, and habitat acquisition, yet continue to trap them! Please note the time in which swift fox venture off to new areas is just prior to the mating season, i.e. Feb/March. Montana trapping season on swift fox runs NOV1-MAR1 unless the quota is reached.

    INSIST ON A 0 QUOTA FOR SWIFT FOX CONSERVATION & RECOVERY! Otherwise, it is mute.
    For more information on the swift fox visit trapfreemt.org/wildlife-species/swift-fox
    Although not on the proposals Trap Free Montana Public Lands and our charitable affiliate, Trap Free Montana, continue to advocate for beavers. 

    3. PRO-BEAVER MEASURES!
    URGE FOR Quotas
    Mandatory reporting
    Protections from trapping in the higher elevations
    Support reintroduction

    No changes were made to the unregulated trapping of beaver. However, in response to TFMPL’s  verbal comment, the Commission said beaver needed to be added to the Trapping Advisory Committee list for review.
    Beaver are nature's hydro-engineers. They are a critically necessary keystone species designed to create wetlands, water reservoirs, fire breaks, slow snow melt runoff and improve our water quality. Not surprising, there is no science involved in the current trapping of this invaluable and perhaps dwindling species. Beaver can be trapped for fun and fur 5 1/2 - 9 months out of the year, dependent on the region, in unlimited numbers, telling no one, for a mere purchase of a $29 trapping license in Montana. Trapping damage permits are permitted year-round. A beaver pelt is selling now for less than $10. To trap and relocate a beaver pays, $50! We need beaver. We need safe places for them to go and where they cannot be lethally trapped. Although we know our supporters submitted comments for the beavers in the past, the Commissioners say they have no recollection. Please speak up and continue!

    Your comments on the Montana trapping proposals and our recommendations can be brief and to the point and should be in your own words.
    Email to:
     
    FWComm@Mt.gov
    Closes July 15, 5pm mst
    Subject line "Comments for 2018-2019 trapping proposals"
    And BE SURE YOU SIGNED ON TO THE 24 TRAP CHECK LETTER!
    TFMPL submitted signatures from over 100 Montanans, close to 50 non-residents and several organizations.    
    Mandatory trap check intervals again were NOT open for public comment and Commissioners did not propose or vote on it. However, Commissioner Stuker commented that something has to be done.

    Simply provide us: your name, city, state
    We will add you to the letter compiled by Zack Strong of NRDC urging for a 24 hour trap check time period. No, this does not mean that we condone trapping, but there is no excuse for trapped animals to linger and suffer, indefinitely as the regulations in Montana permits. The only exceptions are trap sets for bobcats in designated lynx protection zones and for traps set for wolves require a 48 hour visual trap check.

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  • UPDATE:  Montana House Fish & Wildlife Committee voted 12:6 against HB287 on 2/19/19 and the bill was tabled!   For more information see Legislation.
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    UPDATE:  Montana House Fish & Wildlife Committee voted 12:6 against HB287 on 2/19/19 and the bill was tabled!   For more information see Legislation.

    Hearing scheduled before the House Fish & Wildlife Committee 2/7/19 at 3:00 rm 172 Capital, Helena

    Montana has no required time frame a trapper must check his/her traps.

    Only traps set for bobcats in designated lynx protection zones require a 48 hour trap check.
    The other exception is traps set for wolves require a visual trap check every 48 hours.
    48 hours trap checks for all others is a recommendation in the regulations, not a requirement.  All other traps and snares can be left secreted, baited, unattended and unchecked legally for days, even weeks in Montana, leaving trapped animals to suffer indefinitely.

    Trapped animals are exposed to the elements, become dehydrated, have documented injuries, are at risk of frostbite and predation by other animals. The longer they are trapped the evidence shows the greater the damage. 

    Scientists and researchers that want the animal alive and uninjured conduct 24 hour trap checks at minimum. For most it is every 12 hours. This includes the practices of Montana FWP biologists.

    Trappers say the number one reason they trap is for fun. The days of the mountain man trying to scrape by are long past. The findings are today's trappers have full time jobs.  The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies states, "Make a commitment to check your traps at least once every day."

    Here is the language of HB287

    HB287 adjusted the original language from a mandated 24 hour trap check to a mandated DAILY trap check in order to grant trappers more leeway and not have them potentially cited as within a strict 24 hour requirement.
     
    HB287 provides an exception for a trapper under special circumstances who cannot attend to his/her traps daily to give permission to a licensed trapper.  The regional Montana fish wildlife and parks is to be notified of the arrangement.

    HB287 isn't about ending trapping. It is about ending the legalized prolonged suffering of trapped animals whether that be a targeted species  i.e. a coyote, a bobcat, pine marten, wolf or a protected one such as a raptor, wolverine, grizzly, deer, mountain lion, a lost dog or a working dog and giving the latter a better chance to survive and with less injuries once they are released from the trap. 

    There is no excuse to condone animal suffering. Ethical hunters do not. 36 other states have 24 hr/daily trap checks in their regulations. Our trapping regulations are an increasing black eye to our state of Montana and our management of our incredible precious wildlife.

    URGE MONTANA LEGISLATORS TO VOTE YES ON HB287

    Please contact Representatives, NOW, especially, the Representatives on the House Fish and Wildlife Committee!
    Call and simply INSIST THEY VOTE YES FOR HB287. 
    Leave a message if they do not answer, urging them to VOTE YES on TRAP CHECK Bill HB287 with your name and Montana town.

    The House Fish & Wildlife Committee Members are:

    Chairman Rep. Bob Brown (R) THOMPSON FALLS, MT
    Primary ph: (406) 827-9894 Secondary ph: (406) 242-0141 Email: Bob.Brown@mtleg.gov

    Vice Chair Rep. Ross Fitzgerald (R) FAIRFIELD, MT 
    Primary ph: (406) 788-1443 Secondary ph: (406) 467-2032 Email: Ross.Fitzgerald@mtleg.gov

    Vice Chair Rep. Zac Perry (D) HUNGRY HORSE, MT 
    Primary ph: (406) 261-9642 Email: Zac.Perry@mtleg.gov

    Rep. Seth Berglee (R) JOLIET, MT
    Primary ph: (406) 690-9329 Email: Seth.Berglee@mtleg.gov

    Rep. Zach Brown (D) BOZEMAN, MT
    Primary ph: (406) 579-5697 Email: brownformontana@gmail.com

    Rep. Neil Duram (R) EUREKA, MT
    Primary ph: (406) 471-2356 Email: neil.Duram@mtleg.gov

    Rep. Robert Farris-Olson (D) HELENA, MT 
    Primary ph: (406) 794-4780 Email: robformontana@gmail.com

    Rep. John Fuller (R) KALISPELL, MT
    Primary ph: (406) 253-4897 Email: john.Fuller@mtleg.gov

    Rep. Rhonda Knudsen (R) CULBERTSON, MT
    Primary ph: (406) 489-5253 Email: rhonda.Knudsen@mtleg.gov

    Rep. Joel Krautter (R) SIDNEY, MT
    Primary ph: (406) 482-9610 Secondary ph: (406) 560-5952 Email: joel.Krautter@mtleg.gov

    Rep. Denley Loge (R) SAINT REGIS, MT
    Primary ph: (406) 649-2368 Secondary ph: (406) 544-5220 Email: Denley.Loge@mtleg.gov

    Rep. Tyson Runningwolf (D) BROWNING, MT
    Primary ph: (406) 338-2125 Secondary ph: (406) 845-2115 Email: tyson.rw@mtleg.gov

    Rep. Bridget Smith (D) WOLF POINT, MT (The bill sponsor!)
    Primary ph: (406) 230-2268 Secondary ph: (406( 653-1234 Email: repsmith@gmail.com

    Rep. Sharon Stewart Peregoy (D) HD42 Crow Res.
    Primary ph:  (406) 639-2198  Email: Sharon.StewartPeregoy@mtleg.gov

    Rep Mark Sweeney (D) - HD77  PHILIPSBURG
    Primary ph: (406) 560-0171 Email: Mark.Sweeney@mtleg.gov

    Rep. Sue Vinton (R) BILLINGS, MT
    Primary ph: (406) 248-1984 Secondary ph: (406) 855-2625 Email: sue.Vinton@mtleg.gov

    Rep. Marvin Weatherwax Jr (D) -HD15 Browning
    Primary ph: (406) 338-7741 Secondary ph: (406) 270-7571 Email: Marvin.Weatherwax@mtleg.gov

    Rep. Kerry White (R) -HD64 Bozeman
    Primary ph: (406) 587-3653 Email: winwithwhite@gmail.com
     
    If you live in the district of the Committee members be certain to let them know! 
    Tell the legislator you will vote for or against them accordingly!

    CALLING THEM IS MOST EFFECTIVE! It's good if you can also follow up with an email. Given the number of emails Montana Legislators receive be sure to put in the subject line: 
    Vote YES on Trap Check Bill HB287! 
    Always be respectful, stay on the topic at hand, and use your own words

    Briefer is better!

    To email all the House Fish and Wildlife Committee members at once, copy and paste: 
    Bob.Brown@mtleg.govRoss.Fitzgerald@mtleg.govZac.Perry@mtleg.govSeth.Berglee@mtleg.gov;
    brownformontana@gmail.comneil.Duram@mtleg.gov robformontana@gmail.comjohn.Fuller@mtleg.gov;
    rhonda.Knudsen@mtleg.govjoel.Krautter@mtleg.gov;  tyson.rw@mtleg.gov;
     repsmith@gmail.com;  Sharon.StewartPeregoy@mtleg.govsue.Vinton@mtleg.govDenley.Loge@mtleg.gov
    Mark.Sweeney@mtleg.govMarvin.Weatherwax@mtleg.govwinwithwhite@gmail.com
     
    Subject line: Vote YES on Trap Check Bill HB287
    PLEASE BE SURE to let your own Legislator know that you want daily trap checks!
    TRAPPING IS A BIPARTISAN ISSUE! Both Democrats and Republicans oppose it!

    To lookup your Representative and contact info: https://leg.mt.gov/legislator-lookup/

    Photo of a bobcat in a trap suffering from cold and pain. Yes to  HB287 for daily trap checks

    More Reasons for 24hr/Daily Trap checks click here

    All Rights Reserved. 2019

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  • On June 7, 2017, Montana Wildlife Commissioners voted to keep the wolf hunting and trapping proposals, i.e. number trapped/hunted per person, season dates, boundaries, and SB200 (allows landowners to kill wolves that are a potential threat to human safety, livestock, or domestic dogs), as status quo making no changes from 2016. Only three areas, i.e.
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    On June 7, 2017, Montana Wildlife Commissioners voted to keep the wolf hunting and trapping proposals, i.e. number trapped/hunted per person, season dates, boundaries, and SB200 (allows landowners to kill wolves that are a potential threat to human safety, livestock, or domestic dogs), as status quo making no changes from 2016. Only three areas, i.e. two outside Yellowstone National Park and one outside Glacier, have wolf quotas for the number that can be killed. Elsewhere, no quota exists. The limit is 5 wolves total per season can be trapped and/or hunted per person. Only 61 public comments were submitted and few showed up to give verbal comment in front of the Commissioners. The huge majority of the comments were reportedly from out of state.
     
    Once Chronic Wasting Disease was confirmed in Montana, an opportunity presented itself again to support wolves and their rightful place in targeting diseased animals thereby helping to strengthen the herds. Public comment period closed on January 24, 2018. This time, over 250 comments were submitted. TFMPL supporters and the multitude of comments and supporting science urging to initiate or decrease quotas, close off areas to wolf hunting and trapping especially where elk are well over management objective levels and where chronic wasting disease was confirmed, were denied.
     
    Despite large predators being much more sensitive to persecution, wolves, bears and mountain lion management will now be reviewed biennially instead of annually in Montana.

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  • UPDATE: On August 10, 2017, the Montana Wildlife Commissioners voted in favor of FWP and the trappers.
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    UPDATE: On August 10, 2017, the Montana Wildlife Commissioners voted in favor of FWP and the trappers.

    • Mandatory Trapper education – approved. It will be run by trappers, applies only to some trappers and will be reviewed at times by trappers and some FWP personnel.
    • Mandatory Leghold Trap Modifications were deleted. A single center swivel under the trap is all that will be required.
    • Trappers in Region 1 & 2 will each be able to trap and kill 3 instead of 2 otters within the quotas.
    • Denied for public comment was a 24 hr trap check requirement. Roughly 200 signatures, almost 90% Montanans, plus numerous pro-wildlife/animal organizations, a dozen of which were from Montana, and together represented tens of thousands of supporters, signed on to a well documented letter compiled by Zack Strong of NRDC! TFMPL helped circulate the letter and we wish to thank all those that signed on!

    FWP reported receiving 282 comments. 43, i.e. 15%, were from trappers.  Here is FWP's summation of the comments.  Reminiscent of 2016, they failed to acknowledge the aforementioned letter. It remains quite evident who is driving the bus. TFMPL, however, is not getting out of the road and we’ll continue to fight for ethical, responsible, science based management of our wildlife.



    The Montana Wildlife Commissioners voted to open the following trapping proposals for public comment:

     


    Mandatory trap modifications, mandatory trapper education, increase otter/trapper in regions 1 & 2.
    Not included were: Mandatory 24 hour trap checks; tagging/quotas for beaver.

     

    At the June 7, 2017 public meeting, a Montana Trapper’s Association trapping instructor and a few FWP personnel presented a working session about trapping to the Wildlife Commissioners. Contributions trappers make to science and how highly regulated trapping is in Montana were emphasized. Afterwards, the hearing was open to the public for the discussion on Fish Wildlife and Park’s (FWP) 2017 trapping proposals.

    It is no secret we oppose trapping, but it is important we all advocate for trapping reform, not be silent or ignored.

    PUBLIC COMMENT CLOSES SUNDAY, JULY 16, 2017 AT 5PM MST.   Link to submit comment is below. 

    Here are Trap Free Montana Public Lands’ position on the 2017 trapping proposals and our requests:

    1. MANDATORY TRAP MODIFICATIONS: YES.
      We support any trapping modifications and regulations that might help ease pain, suffering and injury.


      When the welfare of the animal takes priority, as in research and relocation efforts, more expensive but less damaging traps and frequent trap checks are utilized by wildlife professionals. Many trappers, including Montana trapping instructors, oppose requiring improvements, i.e. leghold traps with offset, laminated jaws, extra swivels.  FWP states the trap modifications would be costly to trappers. Trappers trap by choice, not to eat, or to survive. The costs should not trump the need for mandatory trap modifications evident in the scientific findings.

       

       From a comprehensive review of animal welfare standards of killing and restraining traps, “We conclude that many of the practices  commonly used to trap mammals cannot be considered humane. Current legislation fails to ensure an acceptable level of welfare for a  large number of captured animals. New welfare standards for trapping wild mammals need to be established so that in future a  minimum level of welfare is guaranteed for all trapped individuals.”    

       According to the American Veterinary Medical Association“Any sanctioned use of leg hold traps should be accompanied by evidence that their use is necessary and the most humane option that meets the needs of the research or other sanctioned use.” 

    2. 24 HOUR TRAP CHECKS:   INSIST ON IT!
      The type of trap and modifications are rather insignificant when animals can legally be left trapped for days, weeks, a month ….  in Montana.


      Trapping season is in the winter to obtain the finest furs. Trapped animals are exposed to the elements, dehydration, starvation, frostbite, leg dislocations, mouth injuries, and predation. The research shows the longer the animal is trapped the greater the injury and less chance for future survival. Trapping is added mortality to rare, protected, and endangered species. The majority of the other states require daily trap checks.

      “Reducing the time in traps by either checking more frequently (Proulx et al 1993) or monitoring traps with electronic devices can reduce the number of serious injuries (Kaczensky et al 2002; Potočnik et al 2002; Larkin et al 2003).

      Twice, Zack Strong, of NRDC, has submitted proposals for mandated 24 hour trap checks. In 2016, FWP claimed 24 hour trap checks was too much to ask of trappers. However, the Wildlife Commissioners encouraged FWP to work with all on trap check intervals and said they looked forward to it for 2017.

      We are in the works with all stakeholders on trap check time.”   said John Vore, Montana FWP Game Management Bureau Chief, at the 7/13/16 Wildlife Commissioners hearing. 

      Despite Mr. Strong’s request, public knowledge of TFMPL, and the highly supportive response for involving all user groups during FWP’s “15 and Forward” vision planning, FWP spent 6 months working with only two groups, i.e. Montana Trappers Association and Montana Fur Harvesters. Together they concluded no to mandatory trap checks. 48 hours is only a recommendation other than bobcat sets in designated lynx habitat and for wolf trap sets.

      Repeatedly, this proposal it is not opened for public comment. Don’t let that stop you from submitting comment insisting on 24 hour trap checks!

    3. MANDATORY TRAPPER EDUCATION:   NO
      The goal is to recruit new trappers, increase MTA membership, and try to improve the poor image of trapping in the public’s eye.

      On the surface mandated trapper education might appear beneficial but our concern lies with who, what, why, and potentially, where.

      The classes would be taught by trappers, i.e. Montana Trapper’s Association (MTA). In trapping classes they say they promote ethics. Trappers, among them MTA active members, directors, and volunteer trapping instructors, have publicly bullied, name called, harassed, stole from, deceived, and even threatened anti-trappers. In addition, the MTA remains under litigation/settlement for failing to disclose a minimum of $25,000 in their fight against our 2014 ballot I-169 initiative.

      Josh Bransford, depicting his prowess in the public photo, in front of the trapped bloodied wolf, had taken a mandated Trapper Education Class and was taught ethics, too. He would be exempt from needing to take the mandatory trapper education class in Montana.

      Josh Bransford, with his smiling grimace in front of the trapped bloodied wolf, took a mandated Trapper Education Class and was taught ethics, too.

      Many trappers, including the potential instructors, are opposing requiring any semblance of humanity insisting again that it be up to the trapper’s choice.

      MT - Specific trap Best Management Practices (BMPs) are not presented in the voluntary MTA course.

      Warden Captain Anderson told the Wildlife Commissioners that among trappers there is good compliance of the regulations. This raises the question why, then, is a mandated class necessary? Anyone born after 1985 and also anyone who has purchased a trapping license in the last 5 years would be exempt from taking the class. Does that mean those excluded are not breaking the law, not getting caught, or do our few and lax regulations negate any charges?

      There has been no mention of a cost to take the trapping class. Pittman Robertson funds would be used. Unlike guns and ammunition, there is no excise tax on traps. Wolf trapping certification would be included. The trappers and a few FWP staff would form a committee to provide the oversight of the classes.

      Given the behaviors, the motives, the bias, and the lack of inclusion with ALL user groups, we cannot support this proposal and believe mandated trapper education without warranted regulation is senseless.

    4. INCREASE OTTER PER TRAPPER REGIONS 1 & 2:  NO
      FWP justification for proposing trappers in these 2 regions "possession" of 3 otters writes, "it's to match opportunity with distribution." Region 1 went over quota on otters 4 of 5 years. The response was to increase the quota. Again, trapping is consumer driven and isn’t based on science.

       
    5. REQUIRE TAGGING OF BEAVER AND SET A QUOTA:   Include in your comment
      Your support is needed. Beaver can be trapped in unlimited numbers for recreational purposes 5 ½-9 months out of the year and trappers need not tell anyone. Outside of the beaver season, beaver can be trapped for property protection claims. We do not know how many of these critically necessary keystone species remain or how many are being trapped and killed.  This is completely contrary to science based management and change is long overdue.

       

      An average of 60,000 wildlife are reported trapped and killed in Montana, annually. These are just the ones reported!

      Please speak up for them!

    TO COMMENT:
     Respectfully in your own words, submit your comment to  Montana FWP regarding the trapping proposals.
    DEADLINE IS JULY 16, 2017 BY 5PM MST. 

    You can also email and phone the Wildlife Commissioners: 
    E-mail: fwcomm@mt.gov

    Wildlife Commissioner’s decision making public hearing will be August 10, 2017, in Helena.

    MONTANA WILDLIFE COMMISSIONERS
    District 1:  Tim Aldrich: 
    Phone: (406) 542-3144

    District 2: Chairman Dan Vermillion
    Phone: (406) 222-0624

    Dan@Sweetwatertravel.com 

    District 3: Vice Chair Richard Stuker
    Phone: (406) 357-3495

    rstuker@mtintouch.net

    District 4:  Logan Brower
    Phone: (406) 230-2188

    District 5:  Shane Colton
    Phone: (406) 670-2374

    Map of Commission Districts

    Map of Montana Commission Districts
    © Trap Free Montana Public Lands 2017

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Trap Free Montana Public Lands (TFMPL)
PO Box 1347
Hamilton, Montana 59840

Phone: 406-218-1170

Email:info@TFMPL.org

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www.TFMPL.org

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