Montana House Bill 212 went before the Senate Fish and Game Committee Feb. 10. This bill will add trapping to the Montana Constitution for protection.
As a tree farmer and forest owner, I embrace the traditions and heritage passed through generations here in our beautiful state. Although there are some traditions that should be cherished and preserved, others should be questioned, debated and consequently ended. Trapping is one of these "traditions" that should remain in the past because of it's damage to ecosystems, indiscriminate nature, cruelty to animals and danger to the public.
As we are learning more about the importance of predators to our ecosystems and the vulnerability of endangered and non-target animals who often are killed by traps, wildlife scientists are questioning the wisdom of allowing tens of thousands of hidden baited traps on our Montana public lands.
Trapping enthusiasts, who are a minority of Montanans, are commercializing our wldlife while trying to hide under the apron strings of hunting and fishing. Traps, which are baited, hidden and indiscriminate, cannot meet the standards of hunting and fishing practices, which take pride in knowing their target, fair chase and clean kill.
The C-41 constitutional amendment, passed by citizen vote in 2004, was very clear to not mention trapping, which is illegal in regards to wild game animals. HB 212 changes the meaning and intent of this amendment, without the vote of the citizens of Montana. I hope our legislators will recognize this deception and vote no.