Group launches initiative to ban trapping in Montana

Montana Trap-Free Public Lands gathers signatures for ballot initiative-

Group launches initiative to ban trapping in Montana. New West Unfiltered By Anja Heister and Connie Poten





  1. jdubya Avatar

    “”I-160 needs 25,000 signatures from across the state of Montana to qualify for the ballot. The deadline for gathering signatures is June 16, 2010.””

    What do you need in Montana to pass a ballot measure like this, a simple or a super majority? In Utah, Don Peay rigged the deck (via Prop 5) such that any ballot measure involving wildlife issues requires a super majority of 66% to pass. Hopefully Montana does not. Getting rid of trapping would be a very good thing.

  2. Mike Avatar

    Good news. Time to move on from this antiquated method.

  3. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Montana requires a simple majority of those voting.

  4. william huard Avatar
    william huard

    Trappers are always trying to convince people how valuable they are in their role in wildlife conservation. Remember the jerk from Indiana last year that was charged with dumping 200 carcasses that he had trapped as incidental take! The random nature of trapping and the recklessness is what ticks me off the most. Wasn’t it last year that several agencies asked Montana to decrease their trapping of wolverine because study subjects kept dying in traps? I have to really question what these wildlife agencies are thinking. They have no idea how many wolverine there are in Montana yet they allow unrestricted trapping? I don’t get it.

  5. gline Avatar

    I really don’t think this will be too hard, ie gathering 25,000 signatures. Footloose has been educating for a couple of years now.

  6. mikarooni Avatar

    I firmly believe that it’s time to ban the trapping of anything except trappers. I like to get ’em in those leg hold traps and watch ’em jump and scream.

  7. JW Avatar

    My home state of MA’s wildlife dept still hasn’t stopped complaining since those traps were made illegal in 1996. Wildlife Depts are the same nationwide even in supposedly “liberal” states. They don’t get the fact that many people (even hunters) don’t see the need to catch something on the leg then have someone walk up to the animal and either club it to death or shoot it in the head. And mostly for recreational purposes. All other states in the NE advertise how valuable trappers are to their wildlife management. Archaic and outdated.

  8. jerryB Avatar

    Montana still allows trapping of wolverine (the only state in the lower 48 that allows it, even though Montana only has an “effective population size” of an estimated 36 wolverines and is being considered for listing. Same is true of fisher….it is also being considered and MFWP has NO idea of their population. They also allow trapping in known lynx habitat (the lynx IS a threatened species). How many lynx die as “incidental catch”? Who knows?
    The “furbearer coordinator” for Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, Brian Giddings, happens to be a long time trapper and of course does everything in his power to protect this sadistic “hobby”. The Game Commission, of course, supports the trappers and disregards any science that would curtail “harvesting” of any species regardless of their population.
    And, where do they get their info on populations? Mostly from trapper observations.
    It’s the same scenario as the wolf issue…..Montana Fish Wildlfe and Parks doesn’t have the courage to stand up to the trappers, , the livestock industry or the outfitters. These special interest groups manage Montana’s wildlife.

  9. william huard Avatar
    william huard

    JerryB- These people make me so frustrated. It is so irresponsible and reckless. I just emailed NTA and my final comment to them was “Have a nice day torturing animals”

  10. jerryB Avatar

    This is another example, also, of “Defenders of SOME Wildlife” not willing to get involved so they can build consensus with MFWP.
    Defenders has stated they WILL NOT support this initiative, even though they are part of the litigation to list the wolverine and the #1 reason for wolverine mortality is TRAPPING.

  11. JB Avatar


    It’s very interesting to me that Defenders isn’t willing to get involved with this issue, especially given their history:

    “In 1947, Defenders of Furbearers, the organization that would later become Defenders of Wildlife, was founded.

    The fledgling organization boasted only one full-time employee and 1,500 members who made it their mission to protect coyotes and other furred animals from steel-jawed leghold traps and lethal poisons. “

  12. jerryB Avatar

    JB……I was familiar with their history and quite shocked when they refused to support Footloose.
    Our request went to the top and resulted in a condescending, inappropriate email attacking our executive director.

  13. Marc Cooke Avatar
    Marc Cooke

    JB , I dont find this surprising at all. No money to be made here for DOW.

  14. Larry R. Avatar
    Larry R.

    You know there is a lot of ethical and well educated trappers out there who are good at what they do and follow all of the rules. On the other hand their is a good amount of dipshits out there that set killer traps way to close where people recreate and dogs get in them which is terrible. Also some people use leg holds and do not check their sets but once every 48 hours. I do not think that Montana should ban trapping I believe that would be a big mistake for the good trappers out there. Also and I truly believe this is true, a lot of people in Montana are not from Montana, they are from perhaps California, or back east and they bring their liberal, enviromentalist beliefs here and pollute Montana and what this state is really about. People have been trapping for hundreds of years and should continue to do so. But only in safe and humane ways check traps every 24 hours maybe do not use leg hold etc.

  15. jerryB Avatar

    Larry R.
    ” only in safe and humane ways check traps every 24 hours maybe do not use leg hold etc.”
    Why then do the trapping organizations refuse to consider a 24 hour trap check law?
    Why do they refuse to post signs in trapping areas.
    Why are they against further set-backs near hiking trails? They can set their coyote traps ON the trail.
    As far as “polluting” Montana, you should be happy that so many non-profit groups with members from other states are restoring all the damage committed by 3rd, 4th , 5th generation Montanans. Such as, streams destroyed by placer mining, grasslands overgrazed, streams and riparian areas destroyed by cows and forests over harvested. Just look at the Clark Fork for an example….technology and bodies from both coasts are restoring what you people trashed.

  16. Connie Avatar

    Good luck to Footloose as they seek this ban. I have no actual experience with leghold traps, but over the last 2 years have learned more about Conibear traps than I ever intended. I know first hand that they do not kill instantly nor are they humane as trappers want us to believe. They’re dangerous to humans, pets and wildlife.

  17. mikarooni Avatar

    I still keep coming back to the same question. With professional responsibilities taking up so much time and energy nowadays, with household expenses on the rise, with the cost of raising and properly educating kids, with the need to mentor kids to keep them on track for higher education, what kind of creepy dingbat spends his time and money running around setting and running traplines in order to enjoy the thrill of slowly killing and ripping the skins off little animals. I’m sorry; but, this kind of behavior, in this day and time and especially in the case of somebody who would fight to keep doing it, seems way too close to the behavior of some kind of psychopathic predator, maybe a serial sex offender of some kind.

  18. Larry R. Avatar
    Larry R.

    damage committed by 3rd, 4th , 5th generation Montanans. Such as, streams destroyed by placer mining, grasslands overgrazed, streams and riparian areas destroyed by cows and forests over harvested. Just look at the Clark Fork for an example….technology and bodies from both coasts are restoring what you people trashed.

    What you people trashed? So you are saying that 3rd 4th, 5th generation Montanans such as myself have trashed the state they love grew up in and recreate in and have done nothing to do with cleanup or restoration of the Milltown dam? Also I am very good friends with people from the east coast and west coast. There is noting wrong with growth and people moving in that is a good thing, the transplants I am talking about are the ones that try and change what Montana is and bring their liberal ideas with them and try to make native Montanans look like uneducated caveman. Those types obviously you JerryB can go back to where you came from.

  19. Mike Koeppen Avatar
    Mike Koeppen

    If you think Montana has poor trapping regulations, you should check out Idaho. I spent a year of e-mails, letters and phone calls to commissioners and the Idaho Fish and Game, specifically Jim Lukens in Salmon, trying to stop the practice of placing traps and snares in trails, and across them, along the Salmon River (below Corn Creek) and Middle Fork Salmon River trails. In addition, the IDFG refused to stop the placement and attachment (with nails and staples) of traps and snares to USFS pack bridges on these same trails. But then, Supervisor Wood (retiring) of the Salmon Challis Forest refused to take action also, saying it was a IDFG issue, even though the practice violated three federal statutes. When they (IDFG, USFS, and commissioners) wouldn’t even answer letters anymore, I finally gave up. Now I just don’t go down there in the winter.

  20. jerryB Avatar

    LarryR…..And your answers to the trapping questions I asked you is where????????

  21. gline Avatar

    It doesn’t matter where you come from, or if you are a “good” trapper… trapping on public lands needs to be banned. Our (the nation’s) western wildlife used as pelts for an LA Rapper…. disgusting.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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