The purpose of the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies’ Best Management Practices Program is evaluating trapping devices, techniques and educating those who use traps about the most humane, safe, selective, efficient and practical devices. According to the AFWA, trappers should check their traps at least once every day.
The American Society of Mammalogists Guidelines state, “Snares or foot-hold traps should be checked at least daily, but more frequent depending upon target species, the potential for capture of nontarget species, and environmental conditions. Frequent checking of traps is the most effective means of minimizing mortality or injury to animals in live traps."
Montana has no mandatory trap check time. Only bobcat trap sets in designated lynx protection zones and traps set for wolves require checking every 48 hours. An average annual 55,000 wildlife reported trapped can linger trapped for days, even weeks, injured, exposed to the elements, at risk of frostbite and predation.
"The longer that animal is in a trap, the more likely you have foot injury, shoulder sprains, vascular damage, neural damage,” said Carter Niemeyer, a retired wildlife biologist.
Thirty-six states have 24-hour/daily trap checks in their trapping regulations. Montana needs to evolve. House Bill 287 requires daily trap checks and allows for exceptions if a trapper cannot tend to the traps. HB-287 helps end prolonged suffering of trapped animals and gives the trap released non-targets, for instance, raptors, mountain lions, grizzly, deer, lynx and beloved dogs a better chance to survive. No surprise, trapping is a bipartisan issue.