The Montana Senate on Monday voted to send a bill mandating trapper education to the House.
The Senate voted 39-11 on Senate Bill 60 from Sen. Pat Flowers, D-Belgrade. Similar to hunter education, the bill makes trapper education mandatory in Montana.
Different legislation to make trapper education mandatory has been debated for 14 years but never made it through the Legislature, Flowers said during debate Saturday.
“I think it’s long past time that we have a trapper education course,” he said.
The Montana Trappers Association has offered an optional education course, although the state does require a certification class for wolf trapping.
SB 60 includes an education committee that certifies instructors and approves classroom or online and field instruction. The committee is made up of three certified trapper education instructors, including two members of the Montana Trappers Association and three Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks’ employees who are familiar with trapping.
The bill also makes a separate hunting license for bobcats as currently those who hunt bobcats must purchase a trapping license to do so. A trapping license would still allow a license holder to hunt bobcats.
Trappers who had purchased a license the previous three years or completed a course such as a youth trapper camp would be exempt from completing trapper education.
Tom Kuglin is the deputy editor for the Lee Newspapers State Bureau. His coverage focuses on outdoors, recreation and natural resources.