With furbearer seasons in full swing, and snow creating ideal conditions for trapping furbearers like bobcat and marten, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks reminds pet owners to be mindful that there could be trapping activity in the woods.

“Trappers are similarly reminded to follow Montana’s regulations aimed at avoiding accidental pet captures and to use every precaution to avoid capturing a dog in a trap or snare,” said Brian Giddings, FWP’s furbearer coordinator.

While such incidents are uncommon, Montana law nevertheless requires furbearer traps on public lands to be set back at least 50 feet from a road or trail; 300 to 1,000 feet from a trailhead; and 1,000 feet from a public campground.

Knowing that regulated furbearer trapping activities can occur on public and private lands through February, dog-owners can take the following steps to further minimize risks:

  • Keep your dog on a leash or otherwise always under your control.
  • Don’t let your dog wander off, especially out of sight.

“On the rare occasion when a dog does get caught, it would likely be in a foothold device that can be easily opened to remove the dog’s paw,” Giddings said. “Both dog owners and trappers care greatly about family pets. Trappers must take precautions when setting traps by ensuring that the trap set is legal and by always bearing in mind the recreational pursuits of other people sharing the outdoors.”

Trapping is a tightly regulated activity in Montana and most other states. Currently, Montana has about 6,300 licensed trappers who contribute to wildlife management and research. For more information visit FWP’s website at fwp.mt.gov; click “Trapping in Montana”.

Logo courtesy Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

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