Trap Free Montana

A nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization

Connect people's heart and mind through science, truths in trapping, & compassion for wildlife, biodiversity, coexistence, & responsible stewardship.

Trapped Non-target Montana Wildlife Reports

Non-Target Wildlife Captured in Wolf Traps Reported to FWP, 2012-2015

Graph of Non-Target Wildlife Captured in Wolf and non Wolf Traps Reported to FWP 2012-2015


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


Non-Target Wildlife Captured in Traps (non-Wolf Traps) Reported to FWP, 2012-2013


Non-Target Wildlife Captured in Traps (non-Wolf Traps) Reported to FWP, 2013-2014


Non-Target Wildlife Captured in Traps (non-Wolf Traps) Reported to FWP, 2014-2015

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 this was real and the remains of a mountain lion trapped found in the Bitterroots of Montana.
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

Recent changes in the reporting of "non-targets" came about after our complaints to the department and Fish & Wildlife Commission that only trapped "injured" or dead non-target wildlife had to be reported, unless caught in wolf trap sets. Currently, the regulations restrict non-target reporting to- Capture of any animal that cannot be lawfully trapped, including domestic animals. That leaves a large gamut of animals that do not have to be reported trapped.

Per 2022 Montana Wolf & Furbearer Regulations:  Non-target Capture Requirement (CR) - The capture of any animal that cannot be lawfully trapped or snared, including domestic animals, must be reported to FWP within 24 hours. Any such animal that is uninjured must be released prior to the trapper leaving the trap site. If unable to safely release the animal, call FWP. Exception: Any such animal that is injured or dead must promptly (with little or no delay) be reported to FWP to determine disposition and/ or collection of the animal. Animals that may be lawfully trapped or snared are furbearers or wolves for which the season is open and an individual possession limit has not been reached, nongame wildlife and predators. A trapper may NOT trap any game animal, game bird or migratory bird.

Note in the reporting of the non-target's condition, 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 and trap sets for bobcat require a 48 hour visiual check in designated lynx protection zones. 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.

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 and hop 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 only 1/3 of licensed trappers voluntarily reporting, 61,680 were the average ANNUAL number of wildlife trapped and killed in Montana's recorded years, 2010-2013.  "Incidental" non-target trapping victims and the collateral damage to orphaned and unborn young are not factored into these figures. With the declining price, weakiening popularity of fur, and the public's growing disdain for trapping, reported trapping has been declining, too.

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Trap Free Montana

PO Box 335

Hamilton, Montana 59840

Phone: 406-218-1170

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