FWP Seeking Input on Trapping Reg Changes

by jhwygirl

My view hasn’t changed on this subject, so let me first just get this out of the way:

Trapping, on the other hand, seems to me to be a chicken-shit way of conquering wildlife. The hunter doesn’t hunt – he sets a trap and walks away. In Montana, he doesn’t even have to check it. Wildlife deserves a much more noble ending – and man should offer at least that much respect.

FWP is seeking input on their trapping and furbearer regulations. Deadline is July 18th. You can enter comments here.

First the lowlights:
–FWP proposes to add wolves to the repertoire. Gee, that’s what I’ve always wanted! A wolf fur coat! It can shed all over the place and I don’t even have to feed it! Imagine the complements!
–They’re proposing to increase the bobcat quota. Bobcats are in the lynx family, and Canada lynx are a USFS Threatened species, a BLM Special Status species, and a Listed Threatened species for FWP. Now, why in the hell would you do that? Why are we even hunting a state Listed Threatened species?!

Wait – got one more…..
–FWP is also proposing – keeping still with the lowlights here, folks – to continue hunting wolverines.

Montana is the only state in the lower 48 that allows hunting of this Montana Species of Concern, and a USFS & BLM listed Sensitive species.

A handful of environmental groups recently filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue the US Fish & Wildlife Service based on their failure to protect wolverines in the lower 48.

Consider this, from Footloose Montana:

Oppose the allowance of wolverine trapping. Facts: Wolverine face an uncertain future ─ in fact what we know about this elusive creature is that the stability of its populations are tenuous at best – so much so that the species was petitioned for listing under the Endangered Species Act. Yet Montana is the only state in the lower 48 to still allow commercial and recreational trapping! Trappers consider wolverines trophy animals ─ their pelts are valued at close to $300 each. Researchers estimate that there are between 100 to 200 members of this rare species in the entire Rocky Mountains. Although federal protection under the Endangered Species Act was recently denied by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the results of several research studies conducted over the past five years all point to the imminent dangers wolverines face and the possibility of regional extinctions of the species throughout their historic range. Studies show that trapping pressure can be intense on regional populations. Moreover, in the face of climate change and increasingly fragmented and shrinking habitats, it is incumbent upon wildlife managers to do all that they can to protect this rare species.

Now some highlights:
— FWP plans to close the heavily human trafficked Blue Mountain, Rattlesnake and Pattee Canyon Designated USFS Recreational areas to trapping.
–They are also proposing to change the setback distance from public trailheads from 300 to 1000 feet.

Click on pic for story.

Now here’s one that is an improvement, but I use that word lightly. It’s a start in trying to gather some statistics on part of the problem. It fails to address the other non-targeted species that get caught in traps, since there is no requirement to report. I also find the inclusion of the word “accidental” problematic:
–Changes proposed to require the reporting of accidental dog captures to the nearest FWP regional office within 48 hours.

It only takes a minute folks – hell, you’re already in front of your computer for crying out loud! – please consider clicking here and letting FWP know what you think.

You might want to consider leaving “chicken-shit” out of the email.

  1. Pronghorn

    Thank you for the call to citizens to speak up on this! A few notes to add. In the end, killing is killing and dead is dead, but we should distinguish between hunting and trapping. A tentative wolf trophy hunting (but not trapping) season is on the table. Tentative quota of 75 wolves, fresh off Endangered Species listing. A like number was killed last year for “sins against livestock”; if a similar pattern holds, as many as 150 wolves could die in one year.

    The bison hunting quota remains the same as last year in spite of the fact that half the herd was just slaughtered by the state and feds for “potential sins against livestock.” (Do we detect a theme?) This, without scientific inquiry into wild bison genetics, which are unparalleled in the Yellowstone herd; it’s possible that the slaughter culled particular bison groupings disproportionately, eradicating priceless genetic traits. The hunt must go on.

    FWP attempted to initiate a swift fox trapping season completely unfounded in science–two tribes are reintroducing the fox, whose population is still being augmented at the same time FWP proposed trapping them! That proposal was tossed out, even though FWP biologists claimed it could feasibly be done. Duh.

    Speaking of completely unfounded in science, wolverine and fisher trapping will continue in spite of their low numbers and low reproductive rates, habitat threats, and the obvious lack of scientific knowledge about them. As noted, FWP ITSELF! lists these animals as “species of concern.” Commissioners claim that they can’t call a halt to trapping them based on information they don’t have (population size, e.g.). Interestingly, they find no problem with the continuation of trapping…based on information they don’t have (population size, e.g.). What’s wrong with this picture?

    Hunting and trapping concerns are in the driver’s seat at FWP, sound biological science that puts animal interests first is in the back seat (maybe the trunk), and until non-consumptive wildlife enthusiasts sit up and take notice, nothing will change.

    The public notice for wolf hunt, bison hunt, and “furbearer” trapping is here
    and you might copy your comments here FWPCOMM@mt.gov — BY TOMORROW! When you use the survey monkey, please note — don’t put a period after your middle initial, if you indicate one. That will derail the submission process. They don’t tell you that.

    Again, thanks for highlighting this! Come on, people, speak up for the wild ones!

  2. Larry Evans

    Trapping laws from another era still haunt Montana, Idaho, and other western states. Whispers from the past, they recall a time when the forest was so vast, the trees so old, the animals and mushrooms so abundant, that man might justify any opportunity to make a living.
    That is not this time. Four lane highways crisscross ancient animal migration routes, summer homes are tucked in every forested glen, complete with part-time pet residents and children.
    I favor much tighter restrictions on trapping.

  3. bruce hunner

    I am fed up with the 200 year dominance of livestock and mining interests which is pervasive throughout our western states. Crucial habitat conservation and maintenance of genetic diversity within wild endemic species should take absolute precedence in resource management. To hell with the damn cattle managers setting the protocol near America’s wildlands. Tax payers should receive at or above fair market value for grazing rights on PUBLIC lands and mining operations should result in zero impact to air/water quality and be bonded to complete full remediation of land degradation.

  4. Pronghorn

    Um, I want to clear up my own confusion about the period after the middle initial when submitting comments–THAT was on the federal form for commenting on loaded guns in national parks! I tell ya, it’s been hard to keep up with it all lately.

    Speaking of that, a reminder: The comment period has been extended on the Bush/NRA attempt (supported by Tester & Baucus) to allow loaded
    guns in national parks–you have until 8/8! Use this link
    > http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main?main=SubmitComment&o=090000
    > 6480670a03 and remember–no period after that middle initial!

  1. 1 U.S. District Judge Malloy Restore Protections for Wolves « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] that throws a wrench into FWP’s plans to allow wolves to be hunted this winter. Wyoming and Idaho had also been planning to open wolves to hunting. No Comments Leave a […]

  2. 2 FWP Commission Reduces Wolverine Trapping Limit « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] blogged about this issue here. And if any of you contacted FWP with comments – […]

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