With standard furbearer seasons set to begin in Montana on Saturday, and wolf trapping set to begin on Dec. 15, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks reminds pet owners to be mindful that there could be trapping activity in the woods.
"Trappers are similarly reminded to follow Montana's regulations aimed at avoiding accidental pet captures and to use every precaution to avoid capturing a dog," said Brian Giddings, FWP's furbearer coordinator.
While such incidents are uncommon, Montana law nevertheless requires traps on public lands to be set back at least 50 feet from a road or trail—150 feet for wolf traps; 300 to 1,000 feet from a trailhead depending on the type of trap used; and 1,000 feet from a public campground.
After a process to improve trapping regulations a decade ago, Montana now has some of the most effective regulations in the nation to avoid unintended captures. All trappers must study the Montana Trapping Regulations for details. Knowing that regulated trapping activities can occur on public and private lands through February, dog owners can take the following steps to further minimize risks:
"On the rare occasion when a dog does get caught, it would most likely be a in foothold device that can be opened to remove the dog’s paw," Giddings said. "Both dog owners and trappers care greatly about family pets. Trappers must take precautions when setting traps by ensuring that the trap set is legal and by always bearing in mind the recreational pursuits of other people sharing the outdoors."
Trapping is a tightly regulated activity in Montana and most other states. During the standard furbearer seasons, and depending on the location and the status of each regulated quota, licensed trappers can pursue bobcat, fisher, marten, and wolverine.
Currently, Montana has about 4,000 licensed trappers who contribute to furbearer management and wildlife research.
For more information visit FWP’s website at fwp.mt.gov. Click Hunting then Trapping.