A Wolf Trapper’s Thoughts on Wolf Trapping in Montana
By angelamontana

Posted: October 19, 2015

Since getting my wolf trapping certification in 2012, I have realized many things and learned a lot of things along the way.  A lot of my trapping knowledge has come from fellow trappers such as MTA President and fellow MORS poster (Trigger)/Outdoor Writer Toby Walrath, MTA District 2 Sub-Director Bob Sheppard, and other trappers I have met through the years.  Although I have not actually trapped a wolf YET, I am hoping my time is coming this season.  Here are a few things that sitting in on part of another Montana Wolf Trapping Certification Class has taught me/made me realize/reminded me:

  1.  You NEVER stop learning.  Even if you think you know everything about trapping wolves…I can assure you that you don’t–there is always something to learn….(our wolf trapping numbers prove that!)
  2. Montana’s Wolf Trapping Certification Class, which is mandatory for anybody trapping wolves in Montana, unless you took the Idaho Wolf Trapping Certification Class, is actually worth taking even if you aren’t trapping wolves in Montana.  There is a lot of good information there–especially if you are against wolf hunting and/or trapping.
  3. It is AWESOME to see and hear Montana FWP recognize the importance of trapping wolves at these courses.  They explain how “crucial” trapping is with managing our wolf population.  The fact is that hunting alone doesn’t cut it.
  4. Out more than 20,000 wolf tags purchased last year in Montana, there were just over 200 wolves harvested by hunters and trappers combined.  Just because you have a wolf tag and/or your wolf trapping certification card doesn’t mean you’re going to get a wolf.  It’s always best to learn the ropes from another wolf trapper and to trap with another wolf trapper before going out and setting traps on your own.
  5. There is a difference between trapping coyotes and trapping wolves.  Just because you can harvest dozens of coyotes in a season does not mean you can expect the same from wolves using coyote sets.  Learn, learn, learn!

Montana FWP’s Wildlife Biologist and head honcho, Mike Thompson, was correct in reiterating the importance education with all of Montana’s wildlife management practices…specifically with wolf trapping.  I, personally, liked it when Thompson stated that trapping, in general, isn’t something you can learn by picking up an instructional book.  The best way to learn how to trap is to learn from a trapper.  It’s just one of those things.  The Montana Trappers Association is a great place to start!  There was also a government trapper at the meeting who agreed with Thompson and explained wolf sets and went over wolf behavior.

I suggest that everybody who is interested in wolf management in Montana sit in on one of these classes–especially those against wolf hunting and trapping or trapping in general.  For more information on wolf management in Montana, visit fwp.mt.gov.  Also, if you are interested in becoming a member of the Montana Trappers Association, visit www.montanatrapper.org.

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