Mostly Trapping

Jul 30, 2020 09:21 ET

(Reprinted from above link)

MISSOULA -- Earlier this week, conservation and animal welfare groups, including Footloose Montana, sent a letter to Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, listing multiple areas in and around Missoula that they feel should be off limits to trapping.

Those include fishing access points like Maclay Flats and Kelly Island.

Footloose Montana's Executive Director, Stephen Capra, said that for the amount of people that trap, they have too much authority over public lands.

"We're talking about less than half of 1% of the state are people that trap, and they are basically controlling 99% of our public lands."

However, MFWP Regional Supervisor, Randy Arnold, said that trapping on public lands isn't common.

"There are no public lands in the Missoula area where trapping is allowed," Arnold said.

But, Arnold added that there is still the potential for conflict to occur between trapping and recreation, if those trapping don't understand the guidelines set forward by FWP.

"I think it's a really reasonable request that we be looking at these recreation areas," Arnold said. "They are already restricted there, but if there's a lack of clarity, then maybe this process will provide some clarity both to the trappers and those recreating.

However, Capra said he just wants to see the traps gone completely.

"Trapping has no place in a modern world, and the time's come to get these traps out of here and re-claim our public lands for the public to recreate and enjoy," Capra said.

Arnold added that it's a complex issue that involves a lot of different agencies and groups, but said he's all for talking about how they can make the guidelines more clear to trappers.

The Montana FWP Commission is set to meet on August 15th to review proposed regulation changes. The groups said they want the commission to consider creating safe recreation areas that are free from trapping.