Montana Ballot Initiative 177 is a measure that could have terrible consequences for sportsmen and women in Montana if enacted.
As a result of some fierce lobbying by animal rights and anti-hunting organizations, citizens of the Treasure State will get to vote on Montana Ballot Initiative 177 (I-177), a measure that would ban all trapping on public land, this November (read the exact details here). If I-177 ends up becoming law, it could mean terrible things for sportsmen and women in the state.
Over 30% on Montana is public land, all of which would be off limits to trappers if Montana Ballot Initiative 177 becomes law. It would also remove one of the most effective methods available for controlling predators in order to protect wild game and livestock populations.
I-177 would also end up costing state and federal wildlife agencies thousands of dollars in order to remove problem animals from the wild and keep predator populations in check. This is something that licensed trappers currently buy a license to do, which actually generates money for the state.
Additionally, I-177 goes against two of the major tenants of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, specifically the idea that wildlife belong to the public and that science is the proper tool for determining wildlife policy. If Montana Ballot Initiative 177 goes into effect, it would ban Montana citizens from harvesting publicly owned wildlife on publicly owned land without any concrete scientific research to back the measure. In fact, this initiative actually flies in the face of a significant amount of established research supporting trapping as a conservation measure.
Among many other conservation groups and hunting advocates, Montana Ballot Initiative 177 is opposed by Randy Newberg, the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association, the Montana Trappers Association, the Wild Sheep Foundation, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the Montana Bowhunters Association, and Montanan’s for Wildlife and Public Land Access.
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