Automated Bear Trap: Conserving Resources

The Automated Bear Trap greatly assists bear biologists to conserve resources by allowing them to check the status of a trap without driving to the remote trapping location. During the summer of 2010, the ABT was used by MT bear managers for a total of 70 trapping nights within an 82 day test period. During that time approximately $4,410 was conserved in fuel costs. Also, 150 man-hours were also conserved. Allowing 150 hours of additional trapping time without an additional cost.


The Automated Bear Trap (ABT) was deployed near Lincoln Montana on Tuesday, May 10th. A Mountain Lion visited the ABT 2 days in a row, but did not enter the trap.The trap was placed near a swamp area where Grizzly Bears are known to migrate though. The Missoula FWP office hoped to catch a Grizzly Bear that they could put a collar on to receive more tracking information. The trap was deployed on private property using cell service to upload the images and trap information. A few days after the trap was deployed, a female Grizzly Bear was accidentally killed in a nearby Grizzly Bear habitat. We were able to remotely lock the door of the ABT in the raised position while FWP was busy trapping the female’s cubs at the other location. The cubs have now been captured and sent to a safe location so trapping in the ABT can continue. There were also severe winds in the area that were forceful enough to blow the bait and trigger the trap door. Within minutes after this happened, we were able to remotely open the door and re-arm the trap so no trapping time was lost due to weather.