VALIER – Trapping wild animals for research or to be relocated is common in Montana and across the United States.
A foot snare developed in Valier is making it easier for trappers and painless for the animals.
Older model traps can be dangerous to set and painful for the animal when they are caught.
But trapper Steve DeMers started to develop a foot snare and about eight years ago he brought his idea to Mike Hoggan.
“The old snares had a throw arm that came up and when I saw what he was doing I knew he was on to something,” Hoggan said.
The Universal Select-a-Catch foot snare is virtually pain free and doesn’t harm any size animal.
“The chain fits like a bracelet and it keeps the circulation going,” Hoggan explained.
Select-A-Catch can be customized, while other snares do not have that feature.
Depending on the type of snare and the tension setting used, trappers can more accurately know what kind of animal they will catch.
“If you want to catch a bear you can crank it all the way up, and most things smaller than a bear can step on it and it won’t go off. And if you catch something that’s bigger than what you’re targeting, most of them will pop that open and get loose,” Hoggan said.
Right now in the state of Montana, only agencies and tribes can use snares. But Hoggan is hoping one day they’ll be will be used by other professionals like dog catchers because of the snare’s safety features.
“With some of those dogs you can’t get close enough for a pole, this would be a good tool for them,” he said.
The Universal Select-a-Catch has been shipped to 33 states as well as New Zealand to catch Red Deer and Nepal to catch Bengal Tigers for research.
As for Hoggan and DeMers, it’s all about perfecting their profession.
“Between the two of us we have 72 years of experience catching, that’s all we did every day. We get calls for wolf, lions, bears, whatever and always wanting to do it better, always wanting to improve on what we had,” Hoggan said.
Hoggan said he is proud that Universal Select-a-Catch is almost entirely Montana Made, from their website to the boxes they’re shipped in.
He says the only part they could not have made in Montana is the spring, which is made in New York.
MTN’s Mackenzie Lee