Montanans are facing what may be the most important legal challenge to sportsman’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.
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.
The Montana Trappers Association have formed a group of Sportsman and Women’s organizations to gather and form a group to combat I-177. We as Bowhunters were asked to be a part of the organizing, along with 130 other groups across the state and even the US. The group will be called Montanan’s for Wildlife and Public Lands Access,(MWPLA) We have brought in the US Sport’s Alliance to be our advisors and we are in contact with them daily. Setting up a campaign to inform the public on what the I-177 will do to our future as users of Public Lands.
We must all join together and help the Trappers win this battle and Vote NO on I-177 come November.
About Ballot Initiative 177
Which PROHIBITS Trapping On All Public Lands
I-177 is the by far the most egregious form of ballot box biology the animal rights groups have ever proposed, it is an absolute assault on our Preservation of Harvest Heritage clause contained in Article IX, Section 7 of the Montana Constitution and threatens one of our longstanding traditions.
I-177 bans Montana citizens from using public lands to harvest publicly owned wildlife, this is a very slippery slope to descend and will lead to additional hunting prohibitions as we have seen in other states. This proposed ballot initiative interferes with the State’s ability to manage the lands and our wildlife for use by all members of the public.
I-177 prohibits a recognized form of wildlife management, trapping, to keep wolves, coyotes and other predatory animals in check, example; 35-40% of wolves harvested are done so by trapping, if trapping is banned game herd populations will suffer and so will our hunting opportunities in Montana.
I-177 increases costs to FWP, USDA Wildlife Services, Animal Control and other agencies while they are struggling to meet current responsibilities and obligations for wildlife management.
I-177 will impose higher costs to the taxpayers of Montana, one example: FWP has already determined and provided data confirming if I-177 passes they will need to hire many additional full time employees due to the content of this proposed ballot initiative.
I-177 negatively impacts farmers and ranchers who rely on USDA Wildlife Services to use trapping for the management of problem wildlife.
This proposed ballot initiative requires alternative measures – which routinely fail due to lost response time – prior to using trapping, resulting in a costly regulatory burden and financial loss to farmers and ranchers.
I-177 decreases revenues to FWP as a result lost license sales, and imposes financial loss to the businesses throughout Montana such as food, fuel, ATV/snowmobile, service and commercial industries that support trapping activities as well as lost income to individuals.
We encourage you to take a hard look at this proposal and to let your friends and neighbors know your concerns with the negative impacts of I-177.