Montana Outdoors

Dec 15, 2012 8:22 PM by Bernie Riggs - KPAX News

Wolf trapping season opening protested in Missoula

MISSOULA - Saturday marked the first day of wolf trapping season in the Treasure State.

Montana Fish and Wildlife opened a trapping season after last year's wolf hunting season only met 75 percent of the quota despite an extended deadline.

It's not sitting well with some Montana residents, and members of the non-profit organization Footloose Montana were out on the streets to protest wolf trapping.

Footloose Montana is against trapping of any animals on public lands, which are shared by hikers, pets, hunters, trappers, and wildlife alike.

Executive Director Filip Panusz said about 35% of Montana is public lands, while around 60% are in private hands.

Panusz is someone who personally lost a pet in a trap and says using trapping to manage wolf populations creates more problems than it solves.

He says Footloose Montana would like to see FWP educate hunters to more effectively harvest wolves.

"What we urge Montana Fish and Wildlife to do is to really focus on educating hunters effectively and use that tradition to help manage wolves rather than using a tool which is so indiscriminate and so harmful to our state."

About 2,400 people have been certified by FWP to trap wolves in the state this year.

State officials are encouraging dog owners to minimize risks by staying on well-used routes and keeping pets close by. They are also encouraging trappers to avoid setting any traps in heavily used areas.

During Idaho's season, more than 100 wolves were trapped. Montana's season runs until Feb. 28. This year there is no set quota.

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