Considerable interest in Montana's first wolf trapping season recently led state wildlife officials to add more opportunities for would-be trappers to enroll in a mandatory certification class.
Earlier this year, the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission approved Montana’s third wolf hunting season and added a trapping season to begin on Dec. 15 and end Feb. 28, 2013.
To trap wolves, however, prospective trappers must attend a wolf-trapping certification class—offered statewide in September, October and December—and have a Montana trapping license.
More than 1,700 people contacted FWP in August to express an interest in becoming certified to trap wolves in Montana. About 830 have already been certified, 1,050 more are registered for upcoming classes and now 420 more trappers will be accommodated by FWP's expanded offerings.
FWP initially offered 28 certification classes statewide with up to 50 slots each but due to public interest officials supplemented those sessions with six more opportunities. FWP also quickly expanded most classes to include up to 60 people and now some venues will allow for up to 100 people.
"We're offering additional classes in Anaconda, Bozeman, Kalispell and Missoula," said Ken McDonald, chief of FWP's wildlife bureau in Helena.
Most of the remaining six-hour-long certification classes, the last that will be offered this year, are held on weekends. Like many of the September classes that filled immediately, the October and December opportunities are full or filling fast.
"We've redoubled our efforts to accommodate everyone who expressed an interest," McDonald said. "With the added classes and expanded class sizes, we've worked to meet that need. If you're interested in trapping wolves this winter, register online now because these are the final certification classes that will be offered this year."
Prospective trappers can register and find remaining certification locations, dates and times on FWP’s website at fwp.mt.gov. Click "Wolf Trapping Certification."
To participate in wolf trapping this winter, certified wolf trappers only need a Montana trapping license, currently on sale for $20 for residents and $250 for nonresidents. For those wishing to participate in the rifle and archery seasons, wolf hunting licenses cost $19 for residents and $350 for nonresidents. The wolf archery season, which is now underway, will close Oct. 14 and the general rifle season will run Oct. 20-Feb. 28, 2013.
Montana wolf trappers can also get certified by taking a wolf trapping class offered by Idaho Fish and Game. For information on Idaho's wolf trapper class visit fishandgame.idaho.gov.
FWP has led wolf management under the federal guidelines since 2004. The delisting of wolves in May 2011 allows Montana to manage wolves in a manner similar to how bears, mountain lions and other wildlife species are managed, which is guided by state management plans, administrative rules, and laws.
To learn more about Montana’s wolf population, visit FWP online at fwp.mt.gov. Click "For Fish & Wildlife Information," then click Montana Wolves.