Non-Target Wildlife Captured in Wolf Traps Reported to FWP, 2012-2015
Non-Target Wildlife Captured in Traps (non-Wolf Traps) Reported to FWP, 2012-15
FINDINGS based on these reports received directly from Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks (FWP):
Non-targets in "non-wolf" trap sets: 63 non-targets reported in 15 months (10/26/13-1/24/15) 30% on private property Only 1 ILLEGAL trap set 71% DEAD
Non-targets included: A grizzly caught in a foothold for a coyote; 3 wolverines killed, including one in a foothold for pine marten and one in a conibear for bobcat; deer, wolverine, raptors, and mountain lion dead in snares; bobcats and fisher also killed in conibear traps for pine marten; otters killed in sets for beaver; lynx; multiple mountain lions dead in foothold traps for bobcat and a mountain lion killed in a conibear set for raccoon!
Non-targets in "wolf trap" sets: 21 non-targets. (12/19/12-1/21/2015) 1/3 on private property 1 illegal trap set
Non-targets included: A dead deer, a golden eagle, elk, a grizzly, lynx, and 16 mountain lions.
NON-TARGETS are not required to be reported in Montana unless they are determined injured, the exception is for lynx and ALL ANIMALS caught in sets for wolves, whether injured or not, are REQUIRED TO BE REPORTED.
Forensic evidence confirmed mountain lion paw remains in a wolf trap set, MB 750 foothold, authentic. Montana April 2015
Severed off Mountain Lion paw found in trap set for wolves in Montana
Wildlife that are incidentally captured in traps in Montana, that can be released uninjured, are not required to be reported.
The determination of injury generally falls upon the trapper once they return to check their trap. We have no required trap check time interval in Montana, other than wolves are permitted to suffer for up to 48 hours stuck in a trap. Trapped animals suffer from dislocations, cuts, abrasions, loss of circulation, broken bones, mouth and teeth injuries, stress, starvation, dehydration, exposure to the elements, frostbite and predation. Experts tell us after 24 hours in a trap, injury is a given. This is why trapping methodology differs by those that seek to learn and help the animal vs trappers that seek their fur. A trapped animal alive, running off or flying away after release does not equate to uninjured. The future is bleak for those later released and their fate remains unknown.
The exception for reporting is for the "incidental" trapping of lynx, a threatened species under the ESA, therefore all trapping of lynx are to be reported in Montana. Although, rarely mentioned, in Montana, regardless if injured or not, ALL animals caught in trap sets for wolves are also required to be reported.
To try to prevent raptors from getting trapped, Montana regulations require bait greater than 1lb in weight that is visible from above be set 30 feet from the trap. Clearly, this isn't working. Raptors, particularly eagles, are attracted to the bait as they scavenge along on the ground. How many trapped wildlife perish, never to be discovered, never reported? Meanwhile, wildlife rehabbers, veterinarians, FWP, you and we, pay for the fun and fur that less than 1% of Montanans seek out through trapping. However, animals, both the targeted and indiscriminate victims of trapping pay with their lives.
According to Montana FWP reports, predominantly from 1/3 of licensed trappers voluntarily reporting, 61,680 are the average ANNUAL number of wildlife trapped and killed in Montana's last 3 recorded years, 2010-2013. This number is rising! "Incidental" trapping victims and the collateral damage to orphaned and unborn young are not factored into these figures.