In order to meet these
changes, the Montana Trappers Association has
developed a basic course for trappers. The
curriculum has been designed to increase - awareness
of the trapper's responsibilities, while introducing
new trapping methods, equipment, fur handling
techniques, legislation, biology and outdoor skills.
The course has been designed to increase financial
returns to trappers by encouraging them to practice
sound management concepts that lead to increased fur
This course will make it
possible for you to learn what it has taken some
trappers a lifetime to discover. It is your
responsibility to use this information wisely, to
trap lawfully, and to act in the best interest of
trappers everywhere. By being a professional
trapper, others will be encouraged to follow your
example and in this way it will promote good
trapping and conservation practices.
The Montana Trappers Education
Program (MTEP) was started by the Association in 1980.
Using funds from the MTA Annual Raffle and Auction, a
student training manual and instructor guide was
developed. With this in place and with the help of
the NTA, an instructor certification program was
established and 22 instructors were certified. In
1988 an Education Committee was appointed by the MTA
Board of Directors. The Montana Department of
Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MFWP) initiated correspondence
in 1992 with the MTA to discuss financial assistance for
the program. Due to the high cost of implementing
the program, purchase of education material and travel
expenses for the 22 instructors, the MTEP had limited
success. In 1993, the MTA received funding from
MFWP. This funding was in the form of
Pitman-Robertson dollars which support education for
hunting, fishing, bow hunting and now trapping. To
receive this funding, the MTA must contribute matching
funds calculated by volunteer in-kind. This
in-kind is calculated by putting a dollar figure on the
hours and miles put into the program by MTA members.
Since 1993 the MTEP has been
successful in educating Montana youth and adults and is
now split into two segments:
which is an 8 hour course teaching trapping ethics,
regulation, safety, health, equipment, fur handling
and some history.
which involves presentations on trapping to the
general public through educational booths, school
programs, 4-H clubs and other civic groups.
Both are an important method in
which the public is informed about the role trapping
plays in the conservation of one of Montana's renewable
resources - the furbearer.
The MTEP Outreach keeps
instructors and members busy throughout the year.
Through information on in-kind report forms, the below
are examples of volunteer time by making presentations
on trapping to different groups:
Educated the hunting public
about trapping. Those who attended learned the
proper way to handle finding traps or caught
Made several presentations
on trapping to schools, 4-H clubs and conservation
groups. Including setting up and maintaining
an educational booth at their local county fair.
Conducted a fur craft
session at a Becoming an Outdoor Woman workshop.
The class focused on catching, finishing, and making
clothing. Taught those in attendance how to
make fur hats and earmuffs.
Teaching 4-H'ers, showing
them how to trap, skin and sell their fur.
Participants were able to attend the Les Barton Fur
Sale in Deer Lodge so they could sell their catch.
Also gave a trapping presentation to local schools.
These are just a few of the
examples in whch MTA members are busy volunteering their
time - yes, this is volunteer work - to keep our
trapping heritage alive in Montana!