MT Trapping Updates

FUR PRICES DOWN!!!
“That’s right – low, low fur prices.  Bottom of the barrel.  In most cases, fur will sell for far less than what you’ll spend to trap it.”
Why are fur prices going to be so low?  Two words.  China and Russia.  Those two countries basically control the modern world market for wild fur because their citizens purchase the vast majority of the garments produced with the fur we trap.” Prices for dead Coyote, Beaver, Pine Marten, Bobcat, Wolves and Fisher are expected to hold. Trappers are claiming they are simply stockpiling the rest.
Trapping Today’s 2015-2016 Fur Market Update


Photo courtesy Montana Trappers Association, “fur auction, small”.
Reproduced for educational purposes.

TRAPPING DISTRICT CLOSURES
Hopefully  our  monitoring the quota harvest reports  for Montana furbearers have helped spare more unnecessary trapping deaths for Otter and Bobcat.

Bobcat is now closed in Districts 1, 2, 3, i.e. Northwestern, Western and Southwestern Montana. District 3 closed 8 over quota. Historically, over half of the 7 districts, including these three have gone over quota. In 2013/14, i.e. 62 extra bobcats were reported killed in the Districts 1,2,3,5. We especially appreciate FWP taking a proactive stance and closing District 2. In 6 years, from the 2008 through the 2013/14 bobcat trapping season a minimum of 11,062 bobcats were killed in Montana.


It might not seem much to save even one, but it is everything to that one. We don’t know how many might have gotten killed over the quota. Thanks for making those calls and being the voice for Otters, too!

ANOTHER KILLING CONTEST
A repeat of last January predator trapping and hunting killing contest, sponsored by groups such as Montana Trapper’s Association (MTA), but this time instead of for a weekend, it ran from Jan 8 to Jan 17th. We did not accept the MTA request  that we post the flyer fearing it would only draw more attention, more participation to their killing contest. That does not mean we are not following up on  this. Note they do not call it a killing contest but that does not make it less so! More to come.

EXPOSURE OF CRUEL UGLY TRAPPING
The much awaited article,  America’s trapping boom relies on cruel and grisly tool,  by award winner journalist, Tom Knudson, sheds more light on what becomes of millions of animals, annually, and in particular Bobcat, here out West, in the disturbing significant world of trapping. “Every year, 150,000 trappers here capture and kill up to 7 million wild animals, more than any nation on earth. In all, more than 20 species are targeted for their fur, from foxes to raccoons, coyotes to river otters. But it is the spotted, marble-white fur of one animal that has sparked a Wild West-like trapping boom in recent years.” We were honored to help with Tom’s informative investigation and trust exposure and increased awareness will lead to an end of trapping. Be sure to check out the link to the video of the a leghold trap snapping shut on various items.


Credit: Max Whittaker for Reveal

EFFORTS TO PROTECT FISHER
The rare fisher is getting closer to federal protections under the ESA. Legally trapped still in Montana, other Fishers, too, here have fallen victim as “incidental” “non-targets”. In December of 2014, a Fisher was killed in a conibear trap set for Pine Marten in the Bitterroots. More info to come on how you can help. Click to read  “Northern Rockies Fishers One Step Closer to Endangered Species Act Protection.

PETS CONTINUE TO GET TRAPPED IN MONTANA
An Akita was recently caught for days in a leghold trap set for wolves near Alberton, Montana. The dog was reportedly missing for six days!  Solid ice had to be chipped away from the trap to free the dog. The trapper was cited for not checking his wolf traps for the required 48 hours but will he have to pay the vet bills? The dog will most likely lose its leg.

Searching for the perfect Christmas tree, Petty Creek, near Alberton, a Chihuahua,  Dutley, was caught in a leghold trap, and luckily was released quickly apparently uninjured.

A dog was caught in a snare while accompanied fortunately close by its owner. Ghost town in Drummond.

Trap reports for Bracket Creek area north of Bozeman, Flathead national forest, Pleasant Valley……..

For updates see Trap Alerts  on our website.
Pets have us to look out for them but what of the average 60,000 reported wildlife annually trapped and killed in Montana that legally cannot be rescued and helped?

ANIMAL PLANET DOCUMENTARY FOR TRAPPERS?
Just in, Montana Trappers Association says because “of your relentless attacks on trapping” they have signed to do a trapping documentary with Animal Planet.  Imagine what kind of planet animals would succumb to if trappers had their way. It’s incompatible for a show that features the wonderous animals we share this planet with and their sponsors to promote such cruelty and trapping myths.  More to come on what you can do.

DAILY HAPPENINGS
Like, follow us, and invite friends on Facebook and be sure to check out our website www.trapfreemt.org for ongoing educational information, updates and our online store to purchase, i.e. “Ranger” story of a wolf, t-shirts.

Please lend a hand, be our eyes and ears, promote TFMPL, collaborate with us and let us know you how you are willing to do more for wildlife! 

Thank you Friends of Trap Free Montana Public Lands

Tis the ugly season of prevalent trapping!

trrapped-wolf-facebook
Recently a missing Golden was caught in a trap for 3 days up Sweeney Creek Loop, Florence area. She broke off several teeth biting the leghold trap to try to free herself. Her foot was badly swollen. She has been reunited with her owner.

Today, Sunday, a 30 lb dog, Molly, is now reported missing up Sweeney Creek. On Wed, Dec 15th, the legal trapping of wolves in Montana begins resulting in a whole new arsenal of leghold weaponry of mass destruction will be out on the lands.

Trappers are not required to assist trapped pets. They only have to report any they trap within 24 hrs to FWP. They have no required trap check interval though, except for wolf trap sets must be visibly checked every 48 hours.

Be sure to check with the regional Montana FWP office if your pet is missing. To see contact numbers visit our website at http://www.trapfreemt.org/about-trapping/incidental-trapped-dog-reports-montana

Please share with us any areas of known, spotted or suspicious trapping.

Thank you Friends of Trap Free Montana Public Lands

MT TRAP-RELEASE WORKSHOP SERIES

You’re invited to attend the
FOOTLOOSE WINTER TRAP-RELEASE WORKSHOP SERIES!
Coming soon to your area!
Hello friends of Montana’s pets and wildlife! We wanted to make you aware of some exciting events coming up in your area. We are planning a series of trap release workshops statewide. If you have never attended a trap-release workshop, we strongly encourage you to do so. There is no better way to learn how to spot traps in the wild, how to protect your pets from traps and how to release them in worst-case scenarios. This is also a great chance to meet like-minded individuals and to learn more about the current trapping situation in Montana. If you have attended a workshop before, its still a good opportunity to get a refresher, bring a friend, or make some new friends…so we hope to see you all there!

Workshops are free and open to the public, although we do ask that you bring a can of food for the local food bank, or pet food for the humane society. So check out the schedule below, and if we aren’t doing a workshop in your area contact us so we can set one up!

Best regards,

Chris and Footloose Montana

WORKSHOP SCHEDULE
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 9th 6:30pm@ Billings Public Libary (Billings, MT)

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 15th 6pm@ Bozeman Public Library (Bozeman, MT)

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 16th 6pm @ The Shane Center (Livingston, MT)

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 6th 6pm@ Whitefish Public Library (Whitefish, MT)
IN THE WORKS
GREAT FALLS (JANUARY 2016)
KALISPELL (JANUARY 2016)
Please consider donating to help us with the costs associated with putting on workshops! Your donation is 100% tax deductible…

MT Wardens seeking information on elk poaching at Montana game range

 

http://helenair.com/news/crime-and-courts/wardens-seeking-information-on-elk-poaching-at-montana-game-range/article_6db2e2a9-7871-53a5-a5a7-09bf1c3e7833.html

HAMILTON – Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials are hoping the public will help them track down people who killed two elk on a game range and left one to rot Wednesday.

FWP Warden Capt. Joe Jaquith said someone killed two elk on the Three Mile Game Range northeast of Stevensville either late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning.

The poachers drove behind a closed sign to retrieve one of the elk and left the other cow elk behind.

“We are hoping to talk with anyone coming in or out of the game range (Wednesday) morning who saw a vehicle with an elk in the back,” Jaquith said. “We are interested in getting any information that people might be able to provide about that.”

Jaquith urged anyone with information to call the TIP-MONT hotline at 800-847-6668.

Anyone providing information that leads to an arrest in the case will be eligible for a reward. Those providing information can remain anonymous.

Trap-free Montana initiative reaches signature-gathering stage

538458_532697610088640_841278349_n

http://missoulian.com/news/local/trap-free-montana-initiative-reaches-signature-gathering-stage/article_1506f517-eedb-5e9f-bb51-e70f73be167a.html

October 15, 2015 8:00 am  • 

A proposed ballot initiative to restrict and criminalize trapping on Montana’s public lands has passed its first hurdle.

Secretary of State Linda McCulloch’s office approved the gathering of signatures for the November 2016 general election on Oct. 6. Proponents have set out to gather 24,175 qualified signatures from at least 34 house districts by June 17.

The numbers represent 5 percent of those who voted in the last gubernatorial election and one-third of Montana’s house districts.

It’s the third time in six years an anti-trapping initiative has reached the signature-gathering stage. Efforts in 2010 and last year failed to garner the required number of signatures.

Initiative 177 would prohibit most commercial and recreational trapping and snaring for animals on public lands and establish misdemeanor criminal penalties for violations.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks could still use certain traps if nonlethal methods have been tried and found ineffective. Government employees and their agents could trap problem predators such as bears or mountain lions, or problem beavers or muskrats to mitigate damage to irrigation works on public lands.

Trapping by public officials could also be used to conduct “specified scientific and wildlife management activities,” according to the approved language of the initiative.

Proponents of I-177 say the law would address public safety concerns, control the “inhumane and indiscriminate” nature of traps, and relieve what they call the unsustainable pressure trapping puts on dwindling and endangered species.

Opponents argue it prohibits from using public lands the segment of the public who traps. They say the measure would drive up costs of state and federal wildlife management while reducing revenue, and it would handcuff those agencies from their charges of managing wildlife.

Chris Justice of Missoula, executive director of Footloose Montana and volunteer for Montana for Trap-Free Public Lands (MTFPL), said the initiative attempt in 2014 that got a late start and garnered just 10,000 signatures was sponsored by a separate group with a similar name: Trap-Free Montana Public Lands.

Justice said in crafting the current initiative, MTFPL focused on “very clearly defining in what cases the state still reserves the power to trap. Previous attempts have left that more ambiguous.”

House Bill 212, passed by the 2015 Legislature, went into effect Oct. 1. In part, it clarified that the word “harvest” in the Montana Constitution includes trapping. Opponents of the trap-free initiative maintain a constitutional amendment is needed to ban trapping. That would require twice as many signatures to get onto the ballot.

“We’re discouraged,” said Keith Kubista of Stevensville, president of Montana Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife and a vocal opponent of a trapping ban. “We’ve written many comments to the attorney general and others that suggest trapping is part of our constitutional right to harvest fish and game. That’s the foundation on which we’re going to approach this.”

***

Montana for Trap-Free Public Lands (MTFPL), with support from Footloose Montana, say trapping and snaring must go, or at least be eliminated from the public lands that constitute 35 percent of Montana.

“Under current law, trappers are able to set an unlimited number of traps, warning signs are not required, and trappers are advised but not required to check their traps in any specific period of time,” MTFPL said in a press release Wednesday.

“Montanans should not have to compromise peace of mind, welfare of children, and pet safety when using their own public land,” said Justice.

Trapping conflicts with hunting ethics, added Dr. Tim Provow, a Missoula anesthesiologist and president of the MTFPL and Footloose Montana boards.

Deal approved to protect grizzly bear habitat in Montana

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/10/us-usa-grizzlies-montana-idUSKCN0S403E20151010

U.S. judge on Friday approved a deal between conservationists and Montana officials to restrict road-building and logging in roughly 22,000 acres (8,900 hectares) of state forest lands that make up core habitat for federally protected grizzlies.

The agreement resolves a lawsuit brought by conservationists after the state had sought to open 37,000 acres (14,974 hectares), mostly in the Stillwater State Forest, to timber harvesting despite what environmentalists said would be the destruction of prime grizzly bear territory.

The deal restricting road-building and logging in the Stillwater and Coal Creek state forests west of Glacier National Park in northwestern Montana is designed to benefit the so-called Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem population of grizzlies, which is one of just five groups of grizzlies in the lower 48 states.

Montana will ban motorized access during certain times outside of winter when grizzlies are using that landscape, prohibit permanent road construction, reclaim any temporary roads and shorten the duration of logging projects, according to court documents.

U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy in a decision last year found the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service violated the Endangered Species Act by issuing a permit to Montana for the project opening up the expanse to the timber industry.

Montana appealed the judge’s ruling and conservation groups later appealed separate parts of the decision, leading to a stalemate that set the stage for both sides to hammer out a settlement.

Molloy approved the agreement on Friday, said attorney Tim Preso of the firm Earthjustice, which represented the conservation groups.

Grizzly bears were classified in 1975 as threatened in the Lower 48 states after they neared extinction from hunting, trapping and poisoning.

Federal protections make it broadly illegally to injure or kill the large, hump-shouldered bruins or destroy their designated habitat without a special permit.

The settlement comes after a federal-state panel managing grizzly bears in and around Yellowstone National Park, mostly in Wyoming, said a separate population of about 700 bears has recovered and recommended they be stripped of federal protections.

The Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to make a decision on delisting soon.

Preso said the deal struck between conservationists and Montana will protect lands for the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem population of grizzlies even if U.S. wildlife managers remove that population from the endangered species list.

Montana officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

(Reporting by Laura Zuckerman in Salmon, Idaho, Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis, Victoria Cavaliere)

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

Speak for Wolves: August 7-9, 2015

August 7-9, 2015
West Yellowstone, Montana

An opportunity for the American people to unite and demand wildlife management reform and restore our national heritage.
 film by Predator Defense – a national nonprofit helping people & wildlife coexist since 1990.
Approximately 3500 gray wolves have been slaughtered in the northern Rockies and Great Lakes region in the United States over the last few years. Under state management, wolves have been hounded, baited, trapped, snared and/or killed by hunters in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota. Wolves have been aerial gunned in Washington and, most recently, shot in Utah.Speak for Wolves: Yellowstone 2015 is about taking an important step towards stopping the wolf slaughter that is currently taking place across the United States. Learn more

Organizations Team Up in the Wake of a Severed Mountain Lion Foot Found in a Trap

Missoula, Mont. (April 14, 2015) – An unlikely alliance between the Bitterroot Houndsmen Association, Footloose Montana, and In Defense of Animals is calling on Montana’s Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (FWP) for more accountability in the management of mountain lions in the Big Sky State after the gruesome and horrific discovery of a severed mountain lions limb in a foothold trap. The alliance is seeking a reduction in the overall quota of mountain lions in the Bitterroot Valley, by counting trap-related injuries and deaths toward the overall hunting quota, and by holding trappers accountable.

The severed mountain lion foot was discovered around March 24 by a resident in the Bitterroot Valley. He reported deep claw marks on a nearby tree, indicating that the estimated four-year-old male lion was desperately trying to seek shelter and escape the source of pain – a foothold trap set for wolves. Thanks to recreational and commercial trapping, this mountain lion is likely dead now, either succumbing to starvation, attack by other carnivores, shock, or a painful infection of the severed limb.

The illegally set trap had no identification tag attached to it, and was placed outside the official wolf trapping season, which ended on February 28.
According to Anja Heister with In Defense of Animals, “At least 15 mountain lions have been reported to FWP as caught in traps specifically set for wolves in addition to other species over the course of two trapping seasons, between 2012 and 2014. Yet, these tragic trapping-related injuries and mortalities do not count toward the overall quota for mountain lions. They are also considered merely “incidental” and go unpunished.”

The FWP Commission meets this Wednesday, April 15 to deliberate the quota for the 2015 mountain lion hunting season and we strongly encourage them to adopt the inclusion of incidental mortalities. “There is no question that the mortality of mountain lions exceeds what the Commission allows,” said Cal Ruark, former president of the Bitterroot Houndsmen Association. “It is time to reconcile the two numbers and reduce the quota, as well as acknowledging so-called “non-target incidents” as what they are – deaths of animals, which, at a very minimum, need to be recognized and counted.”

The Commission must be empowered and do the right thing as a result of this recent disturbing discovery. The maiming and likely subsequent death of this mountain lion is not an isolated incident and the time has come to make bold changes and offer dynamic solutions in order to prevent further animals from suffering the same horrific fate.

Chewed-off Canadian lynx foot--another trapping victim.  Photo by Jim Robertson

Chewed-off Canadian lynx foot–another trapping victim. Photo by Jim Robertson

Cougar Chews Off Foot to Escape Wolf Trap

Photo Jim Robertson

Photo Jim Robertson

I’ve had more than my share of heart-wrenching experiences with the gruesome evils of trapping. On a walk near our home in Eastern Washington, my dog stepped into a leg-hold trap that clamped down onto his front paw, prying his toes apart. He cried out in terror and frantically tried to shake it off, biting at the trap, at his paw, and at me as I fought to open the mindless steel jaws. The trap continued to cut deeper into his tender flesh and my efforts caused him even more pain. Finally, after many harrowing minutes, I was able to loosen the torture device enough for him to pull his foot free.  

Another dog I freed was caught in two leg-hold traps. One was latched onto her front leg, while the second gripped her hind leg, forcing her to remain standing for untold agonizing hours. Judging by how fatigued and dehydrated she was, she had been stuck there for several days. The sinister traps caused so much damage that a vet had to amputate one of her injured legs.  

With no other hope of escape and feeling vulnerable to anyone that comes along, many trapped animals resort to amputating their own leg. Trappers callously label this grim act of despair “wring-off”. Truly, freedom is precious to any animal desperate enough to take this extreme step. But if they don’t bleed to death or die from infection, they spend the rest of their lives crippled and quite possibly unable to keep up with a demanding life in the wild. Unlike the fictional character “Little Big Man,” who was distraught to the brink of suicide when he found that an animal had chewed off its leg to escape one of his traps, most trappers who find a wring-off are indifferent to the suffering they caused as they begrudgingly pitch the chewed-off limb and reset their trap.   

While I was camped near Bowron Lakes Provincial Park in B.C., Canada, in late March, my dog found just such a discarded limb–the front leg of a trapped lynx. In what has to be one of the more deceitful abuses of trust ever, free roaming animals– safely protected within the arbitrary boundaries of parks– lose all such protection and are deemed “fair game” for trapping as soon as they step across an invisible dividing line. Trappers consider the lands adjoining parks the most “productive” and will pay tens of thousands of dollars for permits to run trap-lines in those areas. I’ve had the displeasure of seeing three-legged coyotes near the North Cascades National Park, and within the Grand Tetons National Park.  

Sidestepping the indisputable cruelty issue, pro-trapping factions try to perpetuate the myth that trapping is sustainable. But time and again entire populations of “furbearers” are completely trapped out of an area, often within a single season. The winter after I found wolf tracks in Alaska’s Katmai National Park, all seven members of a pack who had found a niche in and around that preserve were killed–permissibly “harvested”– by trappers. Though wolves are extinct or endangered in most of the U.S., 1,500 are legally trapped in Alaska each year.

The preceding was excerpt from the book Exposing the Big Game,

http://www.earth-books.net/books/exposing-the-big-game

No animal should EVER go through the evil of trapping. And yet, in Montana, the Missoulian just reported that a mountain lion just got caught in a wolf trap: Mountain lion paw in wolf trap upsets Darby ex-houndsman

http://missoulian.com/news/local/mountain-lion-paw-in-wolf-trap-upsets-darby-ex-houndsman/article_1e1f05bc-0ccf-5603-8882-45982cd49763.html

April 11, 2015 8:00 am  •  by

HAMILTON – A mountain lion paw found torn off in a wolf trap has a former houndsman from Darby asking for change in the way the state manages the predator.

A little over two weeks ago, a friend of Cal Ruark’s dropped off the trap with the severed lion paw in it.

Ruark – a former president of the Bitterroot Houndsmen Association and now a mountain lion advocate – said his friend was antler hunting in the Reimel Creek area, east of the Sula Ranger District, when he made the gruesome find.

The man told Ruark there were deep claw marks in a tree near the location of the trap.

“He told me the trees were all tore to hell,” Ruark said. “The drag on the trap was hung up on a tree and there were claw marks on the trees where the lion had stood up on its back legs and tried to climb.”

Ruark is sure the mountain lion didn’t survive.

“It might have been able to get along for a little while, but it’s dead now,” he said. “It can’t hunt on three legs.”

Every year, mountain lions die after being caught in traps set for wolves or other furbearers.

Under the current rules, those dead lions are not considered under the quota system that Fish, Wildlife and Parks uses to manage mountain lion numbers.

Ruark believes that needs to change. He will take that request before the Fish and Wildlife Commission at its regular meeting this month.

***

KC York of Hamilton is leading an effort place a referendum on the ballot that could ban all trapping on public lands.

York said between October 2013 and February 2015, 32 mountain lions were captured in traps set for furbearers other than wolves. State records showed that 21 died, six suffered some type of damage to their paws, but were released and another five were set free unharmed.

“So 84 percent of those mountain lions captured in non-wolf sets were either dead or injured,” York said. “Only one of those trappings was determined to be illegal.”

In the two years that wolf trapping has been legal in Montana, York said state FWP records show that 16 mountain lions were caught in traps set for wolves. Five of those lions died.

York said 96 percent of the trappings were considered legal.

“You can’t legally trap a mountain lion in Montana,” she said. “These trappings are considered incidental. It goes with the territory of trapping in this state.”

Anja Heister, co-founder of Footloose Montana, said no one knows for sure how often a mountain lion loses a paw or toes to a trap.

“It was a horrific sight,” Heister said about the lion’s paw in the trap. “This was an incident that was actually discovered. No one knows for sure how often it happens. Trappers have a term for it when an animal loses a foot or a toe. They call it twist off or ring off.”

***

The Ravalli Republic contacted Montana Trapping Association president Toby Walrath of Corvallis for a comment on this story. Walrath said he would either provide a written comment or a phone contact for someone else in the organization Thursday night. By Friday’s end, the newspaper had received neither.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks regional wildlife manager Mike Thompson said all he could say about the issue at this point is that it was being investigated.

Ruark said he wants people to know about this.

“There are a lot of people who should be angry about this lion caught in a wolf trap,” Ruark said. “Trappers should be mad because it makes them look bad. Outfitters should be thoroughly angry because they get $5,000 a pop from their clients to kill one and now there’s one less to hunt. The fact that it’s not counted toward the quota should make local houndsmen angry, too. Everyone involved should be upset.

“But unless there’s a consequence, it’s only going to get worse,” he said. “It’s not right to ignore it when a mountain lion dies.”

If someone put all the mountain lions that died after being trapped in a pile and took a photograph, Ruark said people would pay attention.

“From my perspective, these incidental kills should be counted,” he said.