Montana Trapping: Will The “Last Best” State Support The Improved Treatment Of Wildlife?

Montana is one of only three remaining states in the union without mandatory trap-check laws. But, Montana’s legislators have the chance to right that wrong this week with House Bill ?287 which calls for mandatory, daily trap-checks.

If you wish to improve the treatment of our world’s wildlife and minimize the suffering imposed by trapping, please take action immediately: Tell Legislators You Support Daily Trap Checks.

Under the current laws, Montana trappers can legally set their traps and return to them whenever they personally see fit. This frequently results in the prolonged, egregious death of the animal—whose pelts are often discarded altogether, as any fur that’s been compromised by predators, scavengers, or the victim itself, is worthless.

In an agony of pain and confusion, the animal struggles in a frenzy, often mutilating themselves, dislocating joints, breaking their teeth, chewing their leg or paw in an attempt to break free….to the trapper, it means they have lost a pelt.

Montana is joined only by North Dakota — which has introduced legislation for mandatory trap-checks— and Alaska as the last three states in the U.S. to have no legal regulations on the timeframe that a trapper must return to check their traps.

House Bill 287 — introduced by Trap Free Montana Public Lands — would demand that:

“A person setting traps or snares for any animal shall check the traps or snares at least daily.”³

While long overdue, the passing of this bill would be a critical step in the right direction for the reputation of sportsmen and women of the state of Montana—a state which has received a disgraceful grading for its lack of trapping regulations.

Montana Received “D-” Grade for Trapping RegulationsNationwide grades were awarded based on prohibiting body-crushing traps and snares for recreation or commerce in fur, requiring trapper education, requiring trappers report the number of animals they kill, maintaining records of non-target animals trapped, having a minimal required trap check time of 24 hours.

Despite their deplorable reputation and lack of responsible regulation, the Montana Trappers Association calls itself:

An organization of concerned and active conservationists who promote proper management of Montana’s furbearers, who develop proper predator control, maintain a positive public image and help perpetuate quality habitat.?

If Montana trappers truly want to represent themselves and their “sport” well, it seems they should be the one’s championing House Bill 287rather than overtly resisting the proposed legislation.

It’s not known when, exactly, Montana’s legislators will take executive action; but, they will be meeting this Tuesday (02/12/2019) and Thursday (02/14/2019) at 3:00PM MST and are expected to take action this week.

For the sake of lessening the suffering that we impose upon the wildlife that we share this earth with, I urge you to support this House Bill 287 by calling and emailing your Legislators immediately——and please visit the Trap Free Montana Public Lands and TrapFreeMTwebsites to join their mission and support their cause.

How To Take Action:

Urge Montana Legislators to VOTE YES ON HB287 TODAY.

Please contact Representatives NOW. Especially the Representatives on the House Fish and Wildlife Committee.

The House Fish & Wildlife Committee Members are:

Chairman Rep. Bob Brown (R) THOMPSON FALLS, MT
Primary ph: (406) 827–9894 Secondary ph: (406) 242–0141 Email:

Vice Chair Rep. Ross Fitzgerald (D) FAIRFIELD, MT
Primary ph: (406) 788–1443 Secondary ph: (406) 467–2032 Email:

Vice Chair Rep. Zac Perry (D) HUNGRY HORSE, MT
Primary ph: (406) 261–9642 Email:

Rep. Seth Berglee (R) JOLIET, MT
Primary ph: (406) 690–9329 Email:

Rep. Zach Brown (D) BOZEMAN, MT
Primary ph: (406) 579–5697 Email:

Rep. Neil Duram (R) EUREKA, MT
Primary ph: (406) 471–2356 Email:

Rep. Robert Farris-Olson (D) HELENA, MT
Primary ph: (406) 794–4780 Email:

Rep. John Fuller (R) KALISPELL, MT
Primary ph: (406) 253–4897 Email:

Rep. Rhonda Knudsen (R) CULBERTSON, MT
Primary ph: (406) 489–5253 Email:

Rep. Joel Krautter (R) SIDNEY, MT
Primary ph: (406) 482–9610 Secondary ph: (406) 560–5952 Email:

Rep. Denley Loge (R) SAINT REGIS, MT
Primary ph: (406) 649–2368 Secondary ph: (406) 544–5220

Rep. Tyson Runningwolf (D) BROWNING, MT
Primary ph: (406) 338–2125 Secondary ph: (406) 845–2115 Email:

Rep. Bridget Smith (D) WOLF POINT, MT (The bill sponsor!)
Primary ph: (406) 230–2268 Secondary ph: (406( 653–1234 Email:

Rep. Sharon Stewart Peregoy (D) HD42 Crow Res.
Primary ph: (406) 639–2198 Email:

Rep Mark Sweeney (D) — HD77 PHILIPSBURG
Primary ph: (406) 560–0171 Email:

Rep. Sue Vinton (R) BILLINGS, MT
Primary ph: (406) 248–1984 Secondary ph: (406) 855–2625 Email:

Rep. Marvin Weatherwax Jr (D) -HD15 Browning
Primary ph: (406) 338–7741 Secondary ph: (406) 270–7571 Email:

Rep. Kerry White (R) -HD64 Bozeman
Primary ph: (406) 587–3653 Email:

If you live in the district of the Committee members be certain to let them know.

Calling is most effective. It’s good if you can also follow up with an email. Given the number of emails Montana Legislators receive be sure to put in the subject line: Vote YES on Trap Check Bill HB287!

Always be respectful, stay on the topic at hand, and use your own words; keep it brief and concise.

Remind the legislator, politely, that you will vote for or against them accordingly.

To email all the House Fish and Wildlife Committee members at once, copy and paste:;;;

Subject line: Vote YES on Trap Check Bill HB287

To look up your Representative and contact info:

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

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About the author

Douglas Balmain

Writer, Thinker, Ex-Recording Artist.


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  • Ridiculous article. Look at THE FACTS. While you are concerned with a coyote sitting in a trap for a day, you should think about the fawns, waterfowl, upland game birds, and domestic livestock lost to coyotes in much more gruesome ways. Coyotes are held in traps until dispatched. No denying that. A daily trap check means most people cannot trap. This is I-177 in sheeps clothing.

  • What’s ridiculous is the fact that trappers put out so many traps they can’t check them all in weeks. Trappers boast about 100-mile-long traplines with 200 traps on them. A responsible trapper would put out 20-30, and check them daily. Trappers will get rid of trapping all by themselves.

    • Not the case Connie. I work full time and also trap. I cannot do it on a 24 hour check, and almost all trappers in Montana have jobs besides trapping regardless. 20 – 30 would be a lot for me anyway, and you cannot check 20 or 30 on a daily trap check. As you are after my way of life Connie, I am also after yours. I never drink that stuff you pass off as wine, and I make sure I tell everyone I know your politics. You lost big time on I-177 and all of this is just an attempt to take income from Montanans like myself. I get to see up close the damage coyotes do to calves, fawns, waterfowl and game birds. I would say my use of trapping with the proper equipment is much more humane that what coyotes do to domestic animals. A little control is necessary.

  • Connie I see you are still bitter on your fourth failed attempt to ban trapping. What I find ridiculous is your public whining yet your secreted use of trappers when your wine crops are being damaged. How’s that painting of the gal wearing a fur shawl at your business, still hanging?

    • AARA, I can see youre bitter as well as creepy, as you publicly whine while denigrating anyone who sheds light on the seamy underbelly of trapping, by resorting to whataboutism and false equivalencies.

  • Hatred for predators and contempt for wild nature passes as “wildlife management” with the help from these cowards in state legislatures.
    These far right wing extremists pander to the ideology of cruelty.
    They will have no one to blame but themselves when the people speak on behalf of these creatures.
    Any wonder why the killers and trappers have such a negative image problem with normal well adjusted people?

  • You can’t count yourself as well adjusted Willy. Calling state legislatures “cowards” on the internet is a bit different than looking them in the eye. Guys like you are the problem, not the solution.

    • Gee Harold,
      It’s not too late for you to change.
      Trapping animals for their fur and killing specific species that you have an irrational hatred for is so 1923.
      It’s 2019
      Especially when your arguments to justify your mindless hatred are not supported by facts, ethics, biology, or science.

      Heck, you could learn a new hobby.
      Ballroom dancing, learning to play the clarinet, or, just learning how to live with wild creatures instead of killing them.
      Give it a try!

      • No mindless hatred here Willy. I would compare lifestyles with you any day. You have to understand the problem before you can argue about it. I feel sorry for you.

  • Since you want to talk elk, the fact is that is did not rebound and is still dropping. Your source is YOUR source, not the truth. Moose are almost completely gone in the park now due to wolves. Bighorn sheep? No one talks about that either

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