Montana's FWP Commission adopted final trapping regulations for the 1999 furbearer trapping season at its regular meeting August 6 in Helena.
Many of the changes adopted were recommended by the statewide Trapping Advisory Committee, a ten-member group made up of trappers and non-trappers appointed through FWP and the Commission. The advisory committee recently completed a year of work to come up with recommendations to reduce conflicts between trappers and other recreationists. The new regulations adopted by the FWP Commission include:
* Definitions for water sets, ground sets and other sets.
* Recessed body-gripping traps and limited trap size openings to guard against non-target animal catches.
* Setback from publicly owned and maintained roads for ground set body- gripping traps.
* Landowner notification when ground-set traps are within 1000 feet of an occupied dwelling.
* Restriction of ground sets within 1000 feet of a campground.
* Setback of body gripping ground sets along designated cross-country ski trails and hiking trails with designated trailheads that are used during trapping season.
* Requirement of breakaway devices on land snares to allow non-target animals to pull out of sets.
* Restricting trapping within 30 feet of an exposed carcass or bait which can be seen by soaring raptors.
* Wildcats: 24-hour bobcat harvest reporting requirement; closed to hunting and trapping for lynx during the 1999 season. However, FWP was authorized to trap and transplant up to five lynx to augment populations in the Northern Rockies.
Commission Chairman Stan Meyer said he is hopeful that the regulations, which were approved after extensive public comment, significantly reduce the potential for conflict between trappers and other forest users. Trappers should check a copy of the official regulations for details when they are published this fall.