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Mandatory Trap-Check Law Proposed in Montana

If passed, HB 287 will require Montana trappers to check trap lines daily. (Photo courtesy of Sportsmen’s Alliance)

Sportsmen's Alliance proclaims House Bill 287 is an attempt to discourage trapping in Montana

Montana Rep. Bridget Smith’s (D-Wolf Point) anti-trapping legislation, House Bill 287, which would force trappers to check their line every 24 hours has been scheduled for a possible Executive Action hearing. This hearing and vote could happen within the next 48 hours. The House Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Committee typically meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3 p.m. in room 172 of the state capitol. Executive Action hearings are an opportunity for the committee to amend and/or vote on a bill.

HB 287 is expected to receive amendments that could force trappers to check their traps every 48 hours as opposed to the original timeframe of every 24 hours. Under current Montana law, there is no time limit on checking traps in the state, but the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) does recommend that traps be checked every 48 hours. The 48-hour recommendation takes into consideration that Montana trappers face logistical and financial burdens when covering such large and rugged areas. Under HB 287, violators could face a $1,000 fine and or 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.”

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