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.

Beaver

Trapping in Montana is done by roughly half of 1% of Montanans. Yet the trapping and killing of beaver significantly costs our ranching, tourism, fire fighting, big game, and fishing industries  through reduced groundwater, destroyed wetlands, and lost big game browse.

The Montana landscape we know was fundamentally changed by the removal of beaver before Montana was settled. In November 1841 the famous trapper Osborne Russell wrote: “The trappers often remarked to each other as they rode over these lonely plains that it was time for the white man to leave the mountains as beaver and game had nearly disappeared."

Trapping on public lands in Montana employs a handful of people while costing our ranching, tourist, big game, and fishing industries hundreds of millions of dollars through wasted groundwater, destroyed wetlands, and lost big game browse
Photo credit © Cheryl Reynolds - Worth A Dam

Fur trappers pillaged North America’s rivers, slashing beaver populations from more than 60 million to 100,000. Not until the 20th century did we begin to regard the creatures as more than pelts.

"Beavers are landscape miracle drugs. Need to enhance salmon runs? There’s a beaver for that. Want to recharge groundwater? Add a beaver. Hoping to adapt to climate change? Take two beavers and check back in a year.""1"

 While efforts are underway in many western states to relocate and reintroduce beaver, some, i.e. 6,000 trappers, less than 1% of Montanans, are stuck way in the past and continue to seek and proudly destroy as many as possible of these incredible ecosystem engineers....worse, it's legal. Without beaver ponds many of Montana’s creeks shut down, draining aquifers which once stored millions of acre feet of water and supported widespread riparian zones. These are the arid creek sides the first ranches found. These are the arid creek sides we think are natural today.

Beaver management in Montana

  • Pre-Settlement 60-400 Million Individuals
  • 1900 beavers were designated as a protected species
  • 1941 beavers were listed as a fur bearer but protected
  • 1953 beavers had a trapping quota per person based on the # of trappers
  • 1970 unlimited trapping was allowed with a per person limit
  • 1993 - present Unlimited trapping with no tagging or limits

Graph showing beaver take from 1900 of 16,000 to present day with a take of less than 7000 - showing a sharp decline

Graph showing beaver take from 1900 of 16,000 to present day with a take of less than 7000 - showing a sharp decline

Get in touch

Trap Free Montana

PO Box 335

Hamilton, Montana 59840

Phone: 406-218-1170

Email:info@trapfreemt.org

Trap Free Montana

www.trapfreemt.org

All Rights Reserved. 2017