Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks 2020 furbearer trapping proposal is to:
- Expand the swift fox trapping region to the East to abut the Fort Peck Indian Reservation and North to the Canadian border.
- 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.
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!
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