Montana Trappers Association

Working Today For a Tomorrow in Trapping.
Furbearers Are A Natural Renewable Resource.

Montana's Furbearing Animals

Montana's Furbearing and Non-Game Furbearers




Responsive imageBeaver

The largest North American rodent. A common furbearer, the beaver inhabits waterways of every North American state and Canadian Province. A unique paddle shaped tail distinguishes the species and self-sharpening teeth allow beavers to mow down sizable trees. Beaver often alter the landscape with the construction of dams, canals and lodges. Beaver are powerful animals both on land and in the water.

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Responsive imageBobcat

Widely distributed throughout the United States and southern Canada in a variety of habitats, from dense forests, to mountains, prairies, farmlands, and even deserts. They are rarely seen in the wild because the species normally travels by walking, and their keen eyesight and hearing are always on the alert for possible danger. Very capable predators, bobcats hunt by stalking their prey.

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Responsive imageFisher

Woodland animals, and among the most effective predators on land. They are also the fastest American animal in trees. Females are less than half as big as males and have an extremely soft and silky fur.



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Responsive imageLynx

Lynx have a short tail and characteristic tufts of black hair on the tips of their ears; large, padded paws for walking on snow; and long whiskers on the face.



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Responsive imageMarten

American marten are sometimes confused with the European pine marten and the Russian sable, both of which are different species of martens. Martens are currently present in 17 states and harvested by trapping in 10 states, which includes Montana.

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Responsive imageMink

Adaptable to a wide range of climates, this species is far more common than most people realize. Efficient predators, mink are quick on land, skilled swimmers, and capable tree climbers. They are often found in habitat types suitable for muskrats, and they are often taken in traps set for muskrats.

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Responsive imageMuskrat

A common and valuable furbearer. Muskrats are widely distributed. Muskrats are dependent upon habitats including water. This species thrives in many lakes, rivers, creeks, ponds, and marshes. Muskrats can tolerate a certain amount of pollution in water, and this important furbearer is often found living within large cities.

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Responsive imageRiver Otter

Highly skilled swimmers. Rough fish make up a substantial portion of an otter's diet, although game fish of medium size are occasionally caught and eaten. Great travelers, otter circuits may cover 60 or more miles, and take weeks to complete. Powerful and streamlined furbearers, otter are recognized as one of the more intelligent species.

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Responsive imageWolverine

The wolverine is a medium sized mammal that despite it's bear-like appearance, is related to the weasel. The wolverine is known to be strong and vicious and is said to have immense strength in comparison to it's size.


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Non Game Furbearers



Responsive imageBadger

Well known for their digging habits and nasty dispositions when they are forced to defend themselves. An important predator of gophers and prairie dogs, they favor prairies, open farmlands and deserts. Numerous excavations make badgers unpopular with some farmers and ranchers.

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Responsive imageCoyote

Widely distributed. This species is very adaptable and they can thrive in forests, farmlands, prairies, mountains, deserts, and swamplands. Coyotes frequently howl at night when they are not severely persecuted.


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Responsive imageLeast Weasel

Least weasels from various parts of its range vary greatly in size. The body is slender and elongated and the legs and tail are relatively short. The colour varies geographically. Small rodents form the largest part of the least weasel's diet and they use pre-existing holes to sleep, store food and raise their young.

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Responsive imageLong Tailed Weasel

The long-tailed weasel has a small head with long whiskers, a long body and neck and short legs. Its tail has a black tip. It has brown fur on the upper part of its body and white to yellow fur on its undersides. In the northern parts of its range, it turns white in the winter.

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Responsive imageRaccoon

One of the easily recognizable furbearers with a ringed tail and patches of dark fur over the eye areas resembling a mask. Known to many simply as a "coon". This important and well distributed species is adaptable to a variety of habitat types and the species thrive in both wilderness and urban areas.

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Responsive imageRed Fox

Easily recognized by its color. This species is native to North America and are widely distributed. Red fox are suspicious by nature. Many fox have earned reputations as being clever. This species can adapt to many climates, habitat types, and human population densities.

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Responsive imageShort Tailed Weasel

The Short-tailed Weasel or Ermine has brown fur on the top and white fur on their belly. There is a black tip on the end of the 1 1/2 to 3 1/2 inch tail. Their feet are white. In the winter Ermines gradually molt, replacing their brown fur with white except for the black-tip of the tail. The molts are controlled by hormones which respond to the length of the period of daylight.

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Responsive imageStriped Skunk

The Latin word "mephitis" translates to "bad odor", and many people would agree that the name "bad odor - bad odor" aptly fits the common and abundant striped skunk.



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