A Letter From The Montana Trappers Association to Sportsmen and Women of Montana.
Montanans are facing what may be the most important legal challenge to sportsmen’s rights in the history of our state. In November Montana citizens will be asked to vote whether the long standing tradition of trapping will continue on public lands.
As a battle ground state, the outcome of this fight will affect sportsmen across the country.
Trapping has proven to be a necessary part of Montana’s wildlife management practices for decades. It is also a source of income for Montana families and predator control for ranchers and farmers who need it most. But that’s just the beginning.
Time spent with my father learning how to hunt and trap on public lands are my earliest childhood memories. Because we trapped and hunted together then I still yearn to be surrounded by nature now. And as I watch that outdoor passion growing in my own son’s eyes I can only think that all Montana children deserve days like these.
The fact is that Animal Rights activists are pushing their agenda onto Montanans. I-177 is bad for wildlife, costly for cattle and sheep ranchers, bad for taxpayers, and even dangerous for pets and people. With so much public land in Montana it seems unreasonable to think that there isn’t enough room for everybody to share the landscape. There are many reasons to oppose I-177 but here are a few key points to know about I-177:
- I-177 would ban one of the most effective and essential methods for controlling wolves, coyotes, and other predators to protect Montana’s elk, moose and deer populations, as well as livestock.
- I-177 will cost at least $422,000 in taxpayer money every year for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks to do the same things that trappers currently buy a license to do at no cost.
Roughly 40% of all wolves harvested in Montana are taken by regulated trapping with nearly half taken on public lands. Imagine the wolf population without trapping!
- I-177 is being pushed by the animal rights and anti-hunting lobby whose real agenda is to ban all trapping and all hunting.
- I-177 is opposed by Montana’s major sportsmen’s organizations, cattle and sheep ranchers and wildlife management professionals.
- I-177 would not allow any trapping until after damage or even a tragedy has occurred, and even then, not until non-lethal methods have been tried and documented to be unsuccessful for 30 days. Meanwhile, dangerous predator populations will continue to grow unchecked.
As a hunter, trapper and angler in Montana I don’t want to see unnecessary infringements on our outdoor heritage. A real threat to our outdoor legacy is happening and if there was ever a time to stand together, that time is now. The effort will be enormous but we must work together to preserve Montana’s outdoor legacy. Thank you for your support,
Toby L. Walrath
President Montana Trappers Association, Hunter, Angler, Trapper
For more information visit www.montanatrappers.org