The anti-hunting, anti-trapping crowd is at it again. This time it’s in Montana – a once conservative, property rights oriented state that has seen drastic changes in demographics over the past few decades. Fresh faces, liberal ideas, and city lifestyle have paved the way for animal rights initiatives in a state where such nonsense would once have been unthinkable. But here we are.
I’m talking about I-160, a ballot initiative that will be in front of Montana voters next fall, and would ban trapping on all public lands in the state. A relatively new animal rights group, Footloose Montana, has sponsored the initiative and has pushed full speed ahead, spreading lies and gathering signatures. We’re facing a huge battle to keep our trapping rights in Montana, and this new bill would impact almost every trapper in the state - a very, very large portion of Montana is publicly owned.
Here’s the language that will likely be on the ballot:
INITIATIVE NO. 160
A LAW PROPOSED BY INITIATIVE PETITION
I-160 prohibits trapping of all wild mammals and birds by any means on public lands in Montana, subject to limited exceptions. It allows trapping for scientific purposes and for breeding of migratory game birds. It also allows trapping by public employees to protect public health and safety. However, it prohibits commercial use of wild mammals and birds trapped on public lands for any of the allowable purposes.
I-160 costs approximately $47,780 of state funds annually, resulting from a loss of
trapping license revenue.
[ ] FOR prohibiting trapping of all wild mammals and birds on public lands in Montana, subject to limited exceptions.
[ ] AGAINST prohibiting trapping of all wild mammals and birds on public lands in Montana, subject to limited exceptions.
Yes, you read it right. This would ban all trapping on public lands in Montana. The initiative is absolutely insane, and it seems as though it should be voted down easily. But then again, such initiatives have passed in a number of other states. Trappers should be very concerned about this.
Montana trappers are responding. The Montana Trappers Association and its board of directors have been working hard to form a coalition that will fight this initiative. All individuals and organizations are encouraged to join Montanans for Effective Wildlife Management at www.noon160.com.
I’ll have more on I-160 later. We’ll talk about the many lies the animal rights people are spreading to promote the trapping ban, and also post information on the response from trappers and members of MEWM. Until then, please sign up as a supporter of MEWM at www.noon160.com and show your support for trapping!