Montana Rep. Bridget Smith’s (D-Wolf Point) legislation, House Bill 287, which would force trappers to check their traps daily has been tabled in the House Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Committee, likely killing the bill for this year. The fact the bill has been tabled is a win for Montana Trappers and the Sportsmen’s Alliance, but we must keep an eye out because any member can bring the bill up again until April 1.
Many Montana trappers work full time jobs, traverse rough terrain and deal with harsh weather to get to their traps. The animal-rights extremists and Rep. Smith know this all too well, which is why they attempted to make it almost impossible for many sportsmen to continue trapping with a mandatory 24-hour trap check.
HB 287 in its current form forced trappers to check traps daily. Presently, there is no time limit on checking traps in the state, but the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks does recommend that traps be checked every 48 hours. The 48-hour recommendation is likely due to the fact that Montana trappers can face harsh environmental factors that are out of their control. Under HB 287, violators could have faced a $1,000 fine or even imprisonment!
“This bill is a clear attempt to discourage trapping in Montana, which is a huge state with unpredictable weather, and which has a rich legacy of wildlife management that has never before been questioned,” said Luke Houghton associate director of state services. “Trapping is a vital tool for controlling predator populations, protecting livestock and pets. This bill puts all those benefits at risk.”
About the Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Sportsmen’s Alliance protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research. Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible. Stay connected to Sportsmen’s Alliance: Online, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.