Montana Trappers Association

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

Trapping Is Essential


Trapping is Essential to a well-managed wildlife community


  • Wildlife is prolific and in need of population controls to maintain a healthy environment

  • Regulated trapping programs are effective at maintaining proper and healthy wildlife balances

  • Man has a stewardship role


A number of wild game birds nest on the ground, and are therefore susceptible to excessive predation. These species include pheasants, quail, ruffed grouse, Hungarian partridge, chucker, turkeys, spruce grouse, sage grouse, blue grouse, woodcock and several species of quails. The list of predators also increases with these dry land species to include several species of foxes, coyotes, bobcats, weasels, fishers, martens and badgers.


The effect of trapping is not that predators are eliminated, but rather kept in balance with all other species. The result of this is healthy and stable populations of all wildlife as well as the health of livestock, pets and man.


Just as the hunting of some species is helpful to wildlife management, trapping is another method that is just more efficient and effective for those species not usually hunted.


Large predator populations are healthy and abundant. Their range and sheer numbers are increasing. Coyotes are particularly abundant in most states today and even gray wolves are in need of trapping harvests in states where they are overly abundant.


Because wildlife is subject to environmental changes in habitat quality and weather, large population swings naturally occur between predator and prey species. Proper wildlife management including trapping helps to stabilize both wildlife populations and help prevent massive die-offs due to reduced food, malnutrition related diseases, or excessive predation.


A variety of predators destroy game bird nests including opossums, skunks, red & gray foxes, mink, otters and raccoons. Studies often show up to 75% of unsuccessful nesting is due to these species. Trapping is the only way to effectively control these predators.


Scientific studies show raccoons and skunks destroy up to 95% of waterfowl nests and chicks. Because these species are so abundant, effective trapping programs may be the single most important tool to bring waterfowl to adulthood. Simply put, less predators result in increased waterfowl and game bird numbers.


One reason skunks and raccoons are so destructive on nests and chicks is they are so abundant, widespread, and prolific. Raccoons today flourish in forests, croplands, and wetlands and even in our suburbs and cities.


Large predators have significant impacts on large game animals such as antelope, deer, elk and moose. All of these species are particularly vulnerable to predation as juveniles, but also during periods of deep snow when they lose their ability to outrun a predator. Wolves and coyotes often hunt in packs to exhaust animals in good health. When predators are not properly controlled, excessive predation occurs with serious consequences. The prey species do not get a chance to recover to healthy numbers, and the predators become stressed with the result of more killing of livestock and pets. Regulated harvests allow wildlife managers to monitor all wildlife and adjust harvests to achieve healthy balances between predators and prey.


The claim that predators choose to kill only sick or disabled animals is simply false. Predators are opportunistic and do not hesitate to kill prey for any reason.


Man has a stewardship role to assure wildlife is abundant and managed scientifically to assure healthy wildlife varieties and numbers into the future. This requires management techniques that are effective and proven, including state-of-the-art traps and trapping methods.


What I need to know about trapping...

  • Trapping stabilizes predators, prey animals, and all wildlife for beneficial balances essential to healthy populations.

  • Proper wildlife management could not be accomplished without trapping programs. There is no other practical and effective method to control many predators and furbearers except with the aid of modem traps.

  •  Skilled, trained and educated wildlife biologists are involved in the science of wildlife management. Information is shared via published articles and meetings for the benefit of all.

  • Congress has funded an ongoing research process known as Best Management Practices (BMPs) to ensure the best possible traps are discovered, promoted and used. BMPs now exist for all common American furbearers.

  • Those "Environmental" organizations who decry trapping do not participate in wildlife management. Their pleas are often fund-raising rhetoric to a gullible public who are often deceived.

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Did You Know?

Jim Bridger (1804-1881). Trapper, scout, mountain man. One of first white men to see the future Yellowstone Park and Great Salt Lake, which he believed to be an arm of the Pacific Ocean. Became partner of Rocky Mountain Fur Company in 1830 and established Fort Bridger in Wyoming Territory in 1842. Laid out routes for the Central Overland Stage and Pike's Peak Express Company. Returned to Missouri in 1867 where died on his farm on July 17, 1881.


Rendezvous were held on a yearly basis at various locations until 1840, mainly in Wyoming, but Pierre's Hole in Idaho and Bear Lake in northwest Utah were favorite sites as well.


Fort Manuel Lisa was established in 1807 by Manuel Lisa at the mouth of the Big Horn River near Hysham. This was the first permanent settlement in Montana and was occupied until 1811.


John Jacob Astor was the first prominent member of the Astor family and the first multi-millionaire in the US. He amassed his wealth through fur-trading, opium smuggling, and New York City real estate. Famed patron of the arts. At the time of his death, he was the wealthiest person in the US.


In 1919, the Hudson’s Bay Company was approaching its 250th year in business. What began in a coffee house in London, in 1670, had now grown to become the undisputed leader of the international fur trade.


The desire for beaver fur hats in European men’s fashions dates back centuries and spurred the development of the 17th century North American fur trade. Beaver fur was the most prized of the fur trade because of its water repellant qualities. Encouraged by European trade goods, natives hunted beaver to extinction in some areas.