Trappng is in full swing in Montana. Be aware – traps can be anywhere on Montana’s public lands.
Recreational trapping season runs from September, 2012, through May, 2013, in Montana. Tens of thousands of steel-jawed and snare traps are hidden on public lands. This season will be more dangerous than ever due to a new wolf trapping season from December 15 through February. This will add thousands more large, deadly 9-inch traps to the landscape.
Traps are not marked. Dogs are lured to them by the scent of bait. Footloose Montana recommends carrying heavy-duty fence cutters and extra rope to release traps. However, the pain and panic an animal suffers in a trap may make it impossible to try to release your pet. You may have to take the trap and animal to a vet who can anesthetize the animal, or put it down, if necessary.
Footloose Montana is a nonprofit organization promoting trap-free public lands for people, pets and wildlife. It urges all pet owners, hunters, anglers, skiers and hikers to be aware of harmful, dangerous traps. Footloose Montana has received alerts this month of traps and snares on Squires Lane in Stevensville, the Florence fishing access on the Bitterroot River, Canyon River golf course and in a campground on Thompson River. In two instances, dogs were injured, one severely.
Traps can be legally set 300 feet from trailheads, 30 feet from a trail and 50 feet from the centerline of a public road.
However, traps set for predators such as coyotes and foxes can be set anywhere, on roads, trails and at trailheads all year long. Because of the hidden, indiscriminate nature of traps and snares, your dog may be in danger of getting injured or killed in traps and snares set on public lands and waters.
For detailed information please see furbearer trapping regulations and wolf trapping regulations at these sites:
Check the map at www.footloosemontana.org to see where traps have been found before you go. For up-to-date information check Footloose Montana’s Facebook page.
If you find a trap, or your pet is caught in one, or if you have questions and need safety tips, please contact Footloose Montana at
firstname.lastname@example.org or call (406) 274-7878.
Footloose Montana will help pay restitution and court costs for anyone whose pet is caught in a trap.
Constance J. Poten