The number of prospective wolf trappers interested in taking a state-mandated course to participate in Montana’s first wolf hunting season continues to grow.
More than 1,200 have signed the roster that Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials are using to gauge interest in the mandatory wolf trapping certification classes to be held this fall.
FWP bureau chief Ron Aasheim said the department is working to develop curriculum and schedules to accommodate those interested in taking the class.
When the FWP Commission approved the state’s first wolf trapping season earlier this year, it required prospective trappers to attend certification classes to learn what it will take to properly trap and kill a wolf.
Idaho had similar initial interest from the public during its first wolf trapping season, but only a couple hundred people actually participated during the trapping season, Aasheim said.
Montana will use some of the same instructors and materials that Idaho used to teach its first contingent of trappers.
“We will have some professional or master wolf trappers assist with the instruction,” Aasheim said. “A couple of them are retired people who trapped in Alaska extensively. We’ve heard nothing but good reports about their knowledge and presentation.”
The mandatory class will include information on the history of wolves and wolf management, the role of trapping in conservation, trapping techniques and ethics, wolf regulations, harvest reporting, proper pelt care and pelt registration requirements.
The course is expected to take about six hours, Aasheim said. It will include both classroom instruction and in-the-field practical experience.
Class size should be somewhere between 25 and 50 people.
“We know that there are a lot of people interested in wolf trapping in general,” Aasheim said. “We will do what we can to provide folks with the information they need to do that responsibly and ethically.”
Wildlife officials still have a good deal of work to complete before the classes begin.
“There are a lot of things that need to be accomplished over the next couple of weeks,” he said. “It’s just a logistical load.”
The department plans to communicate directly with people who have signed the roster about upcoming classes. Once the schedule is set, Aasheim said the state will do some additional outreach to let everyone know when and where the classes will be held.
People don’t have to sign the roster to take the class.
“We’ll keep it open for a couple more weeks,” Aasheim said. “We are using that information just to give us a pulse about the interest in the upcoming classes.”
The first wolf trapping season will open Dec. 15 and close Feb. 28.
Reach reporter Perry Backus at 363-3300 or email@example.com.