Trap Free Montana

A nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization

Promoting education, modern day science, and non-lethal alternatives to trapping that foster responsible stewardship and respectful coexistence with wildlife.

Montana Trappers Association claim "trapping is not impacting the Grizzly Bear population".

May 3,2016

Tell that to the Grizzlies that fall victim to trapping.

473lb subadult Griz caught in leghold trap set for wolves 2 days after the wolf trapping season opened. The Griz was caught and sedated after escaping with the leghold trap attached. It suffered swollen joints to its paw.
Wolf trap nabs Grizzly. Great Falls Tribune
Photo: PHOTO COURTESY OF MIKE MADEL

Montana Trappers Association promoting delisting Grizzlies, goes on to dismiss trapping of Grizzlies on their public facebook posting writing "According to MTFWP 01 yearling grizzly in the past 10 years has been caught in a wolf trap. The bear was euthanized by MTFWP."

What they fail to mention is despite the Grizzly's current protections under the Endangered Species Act,  the recovering Grizzly Bear population  cannot escape the wrath of trapping. In 14 months, a minimum of  4 more Grizzlies fell victim to traps in Montana.

According to Montana FWP reports: (Trapped Non-target Montana Wildlife Reports)

One Grizzly on 10/26/13 in Pondera county suffered foot damage caught in a  leghold  legal set for coyotes on private land.

One Grizzly, just 2 days after wolf trapping season opened, on 12/17/13, was caught on private land in a leghold trap set for wolves in Teton county.  The 473lb subadult male pulled the trap free but got tangled up in some brush from the trap drag as it tried to escape. Another animal escaping with the trap attached! All five of its toes were caught in the trap resulting  in swollen joints. The bear was sedated in order to release it from the legal trap set.

For more See:  Wolf trap nabs grizzly on Front

Another grizzly was caught in a wolf trap on the Flathead Reservation last year, Madel said. (article was 2013 so this was 2012).  "In November, a grizzly cub was captured in coyote trap west of Valier. The cub was not seriously injured, and FWP released it to reunite with its mother".

One Grizzly on 1/12/14, in Lincoln county, apparently not hibernating, was caught on USFS land in a leghold legal trap set for coyotes and was reportedly released "uninjured."

Although all Grizzlies caught in traps are required to be reported, are they? What later becomes of them? How many get away with the trap still attached? How much mortality and handicaps to its survival can this low population, slow reproducing, animal withstand?

Do you think it's coincidence the trapping season on wolves in Montana runs Dec 15 - Feb 28? This is considered the time frame Grizzlies would be hibernating. However, the grizzly is now entering hibernation later and exiting it sooner according to bear experts. Without protections for the grizzly under the ESA,  trappers will be pushing for a longer trapping season on wolves. If that ensues, with the overlapping of the trapping season and the bear's period of activity heavily focused on searching for food and attracted to bait and lures we can expect more Grizzlies will be caught in traps.

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