Trap Alerts

April 10, 2020 – Prickly Pear Creek, south of Clancy, Montana

Friends beware just as we have been speaking of beaver, a heeler mix has been caught in a leghold trap submerged in Prickly Pear Creek, south of Clancy, Montana. At this time, we are unaware of it being illegal but FWP is reportedly investigating. 

What is known is beaver trapping for Western Montana Regions 1-3 which would include Clancy, runs Nov 1 – April 15. For the rest of the state, i.e. Regions 4-7 it runs Sept 1 – May 31. The dog appears to be physically okay but the owner was bitten multiple times in attempts to free their trapped, hurting and frightened pet.  
With our beautiful spring weather, and our social restrictions, more people are enjoying the outdoors in the accompaniment of their pets. Trap setbacks, the distance a trap has to be set back to try to protect the public, do NOT apply to waterways. Few dogs can pass up a drink, wading in, running along the banks, or a swim. Not only are small to large leghold traps legal to be set in the water, deadly body crushing conibears measuring 10″ by 10″ across are legal as long as 1/3 or more is submerged in water.

No signage is required.
Again the recreational trapping of beaver is legal throughout most of the state for 9 months of the year!
Be safe out there and in more ways than one.

March 26, 2020 –  Fairweather Fishing Access Site in Gallatin County, Montana

A petowner advised us their dog was recently caught in what appears an illegal leghold trap set at the Fairweather Fishing Access Site in Gallatin County, Montana.

Other than some apparent localized swelling, the dog is physically okay. The trauma from trapping though is real and unforgettable for both pets and their people. 
It is our policy to withhold sharing this kind of information as to not jeopardize the investigation. The dog owner in this case was in agreement to wait. However, it has now been brought to our attention, it was posted publicly elsewhere. Whenever we are notified at Trap Free of a trapped pet or suspicious trapping, our first question is did you contact FWP/tip mont? 

This trap was most likely set for mink or muskrat. The unlimited trapping season on them doesn’t close until April 15. However, there are still a couple of trapping regulations that apply. Where there is one trap, it is almost a given there will be more. 
Note trapping itself is legal year round in Montana.

TFMPL offers rewards for the arrest and conviction of trapping violations. You can private message us, email: info@tfmpl  or call 1-406-218-1170
As always, thank you for advising us of trapping and trapped animals in Montana. Within the secreted hidden world of trapping, we count on you to be the eyes and ears for the public’s safety. The wardens cannot do it all. We often provide you information on whether something may or may not be legal. Most unfortunately are. Pictures though are always helpful. 

We do keep your personal information confidential.
To report a suspected trapping violation in Montana:
( 1-800-847-6668 )
Please be especially safe out there as many are now frequenting outside recreation with their children and their dogs. So are trappers. As they say, “Especially for fun.”
“For something to do.”

January 22, 2020 – Stevensville, Montana

We received word, Stevensville, Montana: Leghold traps are set and baited with scents and horse meat on unfenced private property along Northview drive in Stevensville.

The traps are near a housing development.
The area is located within 1/2 mile of the Metcalf Wildlife Refuge. 
Thank you friends for being our eyes and ears and letting us know the whereabouts of traps and snares. Pictures are always helpful. You can message us, email [email protected] or call us at 1-406-218-1170. We will respect your privacy and honor your confidentiality.

December 30, 2019 – Traps have been reported in the Bitterroot along Rye Creek

Traps have been reported in the Bitterroot along Rye Creek on the trail, approx 1/2 mile from camping area. Two dogs were caught in the leghold traps. Where there is one trap there are more.

December 23, 2019 – Leghold traps are set near Peters Ridge & Trail Creek Roads

Leghold traps are set near Peters Ridge & Trail Creek Roads on the East side of the Flathead valley. These traps are endangering grizzlies as one has been tearing up the sets. We speculate the traps are set for wolves. This isn’t the first either that we have heard of grizzlies still being out! 

Trappers pull your traps!

Leave the animals alone!

Friends, please continue to advise us of known areas of active trapping so we can provide a public service to all. 
We will maintain your confidentiality.

Dec. 28 2018 – BEWARE-RIVERFRONT PARK Lolo Montana

We received notice that according to FWP, someone is setting traps in Riverfront Park in Lolo and one dog has already gotten hurt. Whoever set them removed them before anyone could get identifying info on them. The FWP has an active investigation going. Please be mindful of your dogs while in the park! If you have any info, please contact the FWP immediately! Region 2 (406) 542-5500 or
call Tip-Mont 1-800-847-6668. You can remain anonymous.

TFMPL provides these public safety notices and appreciates you being our eyes and ears. Whenever possible take photos. You can private message us, call, or email. We will protect your identity. Tampering with or removing another’s traps and snares is illegal in Montana.

#StopTrapping #ProtectWildlife #SafePublicLands

Dec. 3 2018 – A missing terrier mix was recently caught in a leghold trap in Helena’s Scratchgravel Hills.

In her attempt to escape the trap and the overnight bitter cold, she lost two teeth biting at the trap. She is lucky she was found by her owner and survived! Otherwise, legally she could have been trapped for days, even weeks, unable to get home, before the trapper bothered to return.

If your dog is missing please be sure to contact your local FWP office to see if a trapper reported trapping your dog. We encourage you to leave your dog’s description and contact information for the FWP personnel.

Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks
Region 1 (Kalispell)(406) 752-5501
Region 2 (Missoula)(406) 542-5500
Region 3 (Bozeman)(406) 994-4042
Region 4 (Great Falls)(406) 454-5840
Region 5 (Billings)(406) 247-2940
Region 6 (Glasgow)(406) 228-3700
Region 7 (Miles City)(406) 234-0900
Note trappers are now required to report trapped dogs, other than their own, to FWP within 24 hours. However, they do not have to assist the dog, contact the owner, or turn the dog in. They can simply let it go. We have no required trap check interval in Montana, other than sets for wolves must be checked every 48 hours and also for bobcat trap sets in designated lynx protection zones. Therefore, your missing dog or cat can be trapped for days, even weeks, legally, before even the trapper knows it. Petowners are not required to report the trapping of their pet. We know some never do and others simply never make it on the report. No record is kept and no reporting is required for cats that are trapped in Montana.

To learn more visit our affiliate: Trap Free Montana – Truths in Trapping – Incidental Trapped Dogs Reports

We hope this poor girl recovers and heals well. It is always the pets and the owners that incur this cost of trapping, emotionally and financially.

Please continue to advise us of trap alerts in Montana so that we can provide this public service. We will respect your privacy and maintain your confidentiality.

Nov. 2018 – Bonner’s Ferry near the Montana and Idaho border

Along with the cold, comes more and more trapping, friends!We just got word a missing dog was found caught in a trap in a nearby field. The dog was missing for hours and is in pain but alive. Thankfully someone became alerted and responded to the dog’s barks.The longer an animal is caught in a trap the greater the damage. We have NO required trap check time period in Montana. The exceptions are traps set for wolves require 48 hr trap checks and those set for bobcat in designated lynx protection zones. Otherwise, trapped animals can remain so legally for days, weeks, until the trapper bothers to return.This dog was trapped around Bonner’s Ferry near the Montana and Idaho border.We hope the dog will be okay.Please continue to alert us of any known trappings so we can alert the public. Names will remain confidential.Thank you. Be safe, aware and diligent. Traps and snares are secreted, unmarked and attractants such as food or scented lures are used. Your missing pet just may not be able to come back home.

Feb. 2016 – Flathead National Forest

Round Meadow Cross Country Ski Area
Someone recently posted several wolf-trap warning signs at the entrance to the Round Meadow XC-ski area (Flathead NF), which is heavily used by local dog walkers.

Feb. 13 2016 – Missoula

The trap was found behind the apartments at the end of the Pullman Court cul-de-sac.

Jan. 24 2016  – Tin Cup area of the Bitterroot.

A trapper and representative of Montana Trappers Association contacted us and claims as a result of our public safety concerns and warnings with our TRAP ALERTS that he will be setting two dozen “wolf traps” in the Tin Cup area of the Bitterroot.

Jan. 23 2016 – Bitterroots

Between Bass Creek and Kootenai Creek, above Ruffatto’s ranch lands and where there is also a block management hunting area. It is also an area where snares have been found before as well. The trap was no longer here and they had dragged whatever they killed out. “I followed drag marks to this site after my dogs keyed in to it and went crazy. It was heavily scented and reeked of fox urine. Deer hair was at the base of a tree near a black string that was probably used to tie on bait. The entire area was completely dug up and two large holes made by whatever suffered to death there.”

Jan. 15 2016 – Brackett Creek area in the Bridgers north of Bozeman

Trapping suspected. Skinned out animal thought to be a coyote found by the trailhead off forest service road on the west side of Bridger Canyon road.

Jan 2016 – Westside Ninemile Rd., Alberton, MT

Wolf trap sets near


4-5 ground set traps, 100 ft. off Peters Ridge Rd. and Trail Creek Rd. These roads are East of Kalispell on the Flathead National Forest. Trap sets have CD discs hanging for visual attractant which would be for Bobcat to lure them with their curiosity. Homemade covey set of 2″x4″‘s and chicken wire, with 12″ x 12″ +/- opening. Scented with skunk lure. (Photos below)


Over the past several years, a dog and its owner have encountered a trapline along the steep rocky ridge just north of Haskill Pass (48.165281/-114.745749 approx. coordinates). The line consists of 4 or 5 log cubby sets, with scented bait (“I don’t know the trap type, however, since I discovered them after the end of the trapping season in early Spring”). Also note that this trap line is not on public lands, rather, on Plum Creek lands. Note: A dog was recently reported trapped in the area.

Dec 18, 2015 – DRUMMOND by Ghost Town

Large dog caught in snare while accompanied with owner. Luckily released unharmed. Reported to authorities and traps and snares apparently have been removed.


Dog caught in leghold for 3 days. Broke off several teeth trying to free herself from leghold trap. Very swollen paw. Reunited with owner.

Oct.9 2015 – Traps on Sheep Creek and Continental Divide Trail, South, on the popular hiking trail off Hwy 87. Madison Valley.


Montana’s furbearer trapping season begins Nov 1 for some species, Dec 1 for others and Dec 15 for wolves. The legal trapping of furbearers closes between Feb 15 and April 15, depending on the species. Beaver are open to trapping Nov 1-Apr 15 in western and south western districts and Sept 1- May 31 for central and eastern districts in Montana. However, TRAPPING IS LEGAL YEAR ROUND in Montana for species classified as predators and nongame. With cooler weather, animals are developing their beautiful life sustaining winter coats……..which is what trapping is all about, getting the prettiest and best furs possible. Please continue to keep us informed of areas trapped so we can warn others. Whenever possible take and send us pictures and be as descriptive as possible. Tampering of traps is illegal. We will respect your privacy. Email [email protected]