HAMILTON – A group opposed to trapping on public lands will begin gathering signatures for a ballot initiative that seeks to end the practice.

The state Attorney General’s Office approved the proposed initiative Initiative 169 by Trap Free Montana Public Lands this week. The group will have to gather 24,175 signatures by the end of May to place the issue on the November ballot.

A Montana Trappers Association official said that organization is taking the initiative seriously and is in the process of developing a coalition of sportsmen and others to oppose it.

“We will fight this to the end,” said MTA president Toby Walrath of Corvallis. “There’s no question about that.”

A similar initiative campaign by Footloose Montana came within 1,500 signatures of qualifying for the ballot in 2010.

KC York of Hamilton is the chair of the Trap Free Montana Public Lands ballot initiative committee.

In the four years since the last attempt to place the issue on the ballot, York said a minimum of 180,000 animals have been killed in traps, according to state furbearer harvest reports.

“In addition, an increasing number of companion animals are getting trapped on public lands,” York said. “Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks stated the 50-plus dogs that were reported trapped last year is not unusual. Two dogs were killed.”

York said the initiative’s focus is strictly on public lands. About 65 percent of the land in the state is privately owned.

“I-169 only affects trapping and only on public lands,” she said. “The rights of the private landowner, as well as hunting and fishing rights, remain protected.”

The committee reviewed issues with the proposed Footloose Montana initiative and made changes so this attempt more acceptable to people, she said.

The initiative would allow for trapping of “nuisance and conflict” animals on public lands if non-lethal methods have been tried and shown to be ineffective, York aid.

York said seven states have addressed trapping on public lands in some manner.

“We just think this issue should be put before the people,” York said. “If what we’re asking is unreasonable, the voters will tell us so. It’s time to let all Montanans decide instead of the less than one percent who are trappers.”

The proposed initiative can be found at trapfreemt.org

Walrath said the initiative is being pushed by animal rights groups that are opposed to ranching, hunting, trapping and fishing.

“This is an anti-rural Montana initiative,” he said.

The Montana Trappers Association maintains that trapping is a legitimate activity that is necessary for wildlife management and a traditional use of public lands in which Montanans should have the right to participate, Walrath said.

The trappers association will host an event in Missoula on May 31 its calling Montana Public Land Users and Sportsmen that Walrath said will bring more than 60 public land user groups together in opposition to the proposed initiative.

June 20 is the day signatures for the initiative must be submitted.

Walrath called the proposed initiative a “disgusting waste of taxpayer dollars,” that, if passed, will remove the most effective tool for managing predators in the state.

“It certainly would be a very dark moment in the state if we were to lose trapping on public lands,” he said.

Reporter Perry Backus can be reached at 363-3300 or at pbackus@ravallirepublic.com.

More from missoulian.com

(102) comments

war61

I like how these people keep yelling about how thier dogs have a right to run free. Yet none of them have obeyed the leash law. If they had than there should be no worries of thier said dog getting into a trappers trap. I believe the trapping laws state if you trap on public or state land you must post that there are traps set on the land that people are entering.

RPT

fisher99999.......Son... You couldn’t be further from the truth... I’m neither a trapper or a dog owner ... Now that you’ve had your little emotional rant I would STRONGLY advise you to take a step back and take a long hard look at the long range view and objective of these groups... Keep taking away peoples rights to use OUR land and what makes you think your dog being allowed on OUR PUBLIC land isn’t going to be next?.... If your allowing your dog to run free and not under your complete control 100% of the time on OUR land and I’ll guarantee you that sooner or later your not going to like the results...And neither is your dog.

2buck2

"Keep taking away peoples rights to use OUR land and what makes you think your dog being allowed on OUR PUBLIC land isn’t going to be next?"--Go for it. Just so you know, if non-consumptive recreational users have to abide by leash laws we will expect the consumptive users to do the same. I am sure a lot of hunters who utilize canines would love a no dogs allowed law for public lands. Or having to be tethered to fido while he is swimming through the marshes to retrieve the mallard. Why do you even think we have a dog in the first place? Pheasants!

Rez Kid

That is correct, many times more dogs have been killed by wolves in MT, WY and ID in the last 5 years than have been killed by traps. So I guess to protect your dogs we need to start a ballot initiative to get rid of all wolves on public land.

AAO22

Thank you!

GaryEG
GaryEG

I don't understand why there are so many people that don't even want to see this go to a vote. The initiative is only for public lands, not the entire state. I agree that if the people of Montana feel this is unreasonable then they will let it be known with their vote. I wonder if those opposed to letting this go to a vote are afraid of the voters not going their way. By definition if the majority vote for this then it isn't a few "wacko tree huggers" that made the decision. They don't even have the signatures gathered and people are getting their panties all in a bunch.
I personally don't think it will even get the signatures but perhaps it could lead to extending the distance allowed between traps and public trailheads and trails. I little more distance between the two would be well worth looking into.

D

Exactly!

RobertR

This is not about trapping it's about ego, mania to try and control something that has nothing to do with trapping. It's a power trip to gain control over the western ways with a Californian mentality.

trad man

the footloose/aka screw loose crowd is cramming the comment section, go ahead, it wont make any difference to anyone with half a brain to see your over the top agenda. I personally have never caught a dog in a trap and where I have trapped all these 50 some years if a loose dog was running in these area's I would of already shot it as they are deer and elk chasing dogs who are illegal in every state with game animals. These dog owners are ignorant, think their dogs should run free and kill or cause aborted fawns and calves as they please on their "run". Pretty sad group of people with extreme attitudes that don't belong anywhere, not even in the big cities they came from, they are radical, biased folks who will admit they have no knowledge of trapping, never did it , didn't know anyone who does and if they do they wont talk to them , their small narrow minds are made up through propaganda these type of people feed on because they have no way of experiencing what they are afraid of, the wilds which they wish to sterilize so they can walk around with their loose dogs. It is the law in Missoula county your dog has to be in your immediate control or on a leash at all times so it would be pretty darn hard to get one in a trap with the current laws governing trap locations to trails etc.. Get educated, read the trapping regs., talk to trappers about trap designs (they are way different than they were in the late 1800's!), find out what trapper do for our wildlife, you would be surprised how they help out

fisher99999

The only thing that trappers do for wildlife is destroy it. Traps are meant to do one thing, that is catch, injure, and sometimes kill depending on what kind of trap it is. You are the MINORITY. You don't have the facts on your side. We do. Our pets are in constant danger from your traps. We are the educated ones. You trappers continue to peddle your lies and misinformed in order to justify your outdated and unpopular so called sport.

war61

So fisher99999 back when I lived in MA. they also had the great idea to outlaw trapping. in the 80s 12 yrs later after a number of pets being attacked and killed in peoples back yards. They started to reconcider the law this took a few yrs of state congress looking into it. Then when a mother was watching her young child playing in the yard. Watched as a coyote sprang into the yard and attacked her child. Hunting and trapping of predators was quickly reinstated. So for what you are saying is your dog (which should be on a leash and in your control) is more important than the ranchers cattle and other live stock. Or perhaps we wait til someones child is attacked...

Comment deleted.
MTSierra

Well if that's the case then you would have to trap a trapper for them to die by the trap and since you and fisher are against trapping your statement is unfeasible.

Mulybux

As far as I can tell there seems to be a leash law in all of Missoula County. Any unintended animal being caught in a trap is regrettable, however the simple solution is to obey the existing law and keep pets on their required leash. I for one am assuming that everyone should be responsible for the safety of their own pets instead of blaiming someone else for conducting an otherwise lawful and licensed activity. I don't have a dog in this fight so to speak because I'm personnaly not a trapper, but as a 5th generation Montanan and an avid outdoorsman, this has about as much chance of being successful as the proverbial snowball in hell.

fisher99999

You aren't living in the real world then. Many people out there would ban trapping. Trappers cannot debunk of the facts. The facts are clear. traps have injured and killed dogs and they will continue to unless we the people do something and we hope to do something about it later this year. We want to stop dogs from being injured and killed by trappers and their traps. Only 1% of Montanans trap, so only a small group of extremists are doing the trapping. Dogs are more important than trappers and their sadistic sport. BAN TRAPPING NOW!!!!!!!!

Bittersweet
Bittersweet

....less than 1% of dogs.

Bittersweet
Bittersweet

I disagree that this has a slim chance of being put before voters and a slim chance of it passing if it does. If I had to guess, I think it will make the ballot this time around but will be voted down when Montanans are checking the boxes.

What concerns me is this is an issue that will really pull at some heart string before people really stand back and take a minute to understand the whole issue, just how complex it is and where it may lead if it is passed.

Example: Initiative 161 seemed like a great idea at the time to Montana citizens if you didn't dig too deep. Most of the people I know that voted for it didn't have a clue about what it entailed other than it would show those "rich out of state hunters" and "greedy outfitters." A few years later it appears the things this initiative was supposed to accomplish it hasn't at all and has really had some negative effects on residents.

Sorry to get off track. What I am getting at is I really do hope should this anti-trapping initiative be put in front of Montana's voters they think beyond a picture of a Golden Retriever with it's leg all bandaged up.

elkguy

If this attempt at taking someone else's rights away because you don't like them succeeds, good luck keeping fido from eating all those tasty little meatballs littered about your favorite "public" lands. There might be a lot of bored ex-trappers with big chips on their shoulders and a lot of time to kill in the winter.

2buck2

So are you saying trappers plan on poisoning dogs if this initiative passes?

fisher99999

You are a sick man.

RPT

The Endangered Species Act is the engine of social change being used by environmental elitists groups like Footloose to destroy rural America. The wildlife that they pretend to care so much about are nothing more than tools of conquest to them.
The unwitting allies like fisher99999 and gadfly of these destructive change agents are the uninformed urban masses who add their political clout to the big bucks of elitist foundations like Footloose to arm this War against the West.

fisher99999

We are very much informed. You are the minority and you are misinformed. Your traps are injuring and killing OUR DOGS. This is a cold hard fact that you and any other trapper cannot deny. We will ban trapping as we love our dogs and we are not going to let a small group of extremists in Montana who love killing wildlife be allowed to put traps out there that put our dog's lives in danger. My dog is much more important than any trapper or his worthless dangerous traps.

Montana

I am a 4th generation ranch native so DON'T tell me to go home!! The time for trapping is OVER, period!! It is a painful, inhumane, and indiscriminate affair. How do I know it's painful? My dog was caught in one of your god awful traps. He would have ripped his leg off had I not been there. This taught me that this isn't just about dogs being hurt, it's about the downright cruelty to animals, period. This taught me the awful fear and helplessness you feel when your pet is looking at you with complete trust knowing you're going to get him out while you panic not having a clue how to spring that trap. Never again, not on Public land, not if I can help it. Count me in. I'll be collecting signatures.

fisher99999

Thank you.

Loggerman

No, really,.. THANK YOU! @Sukey, what planet do you live on?? Nobody in their right mind brands cattle anymore?!? You really need to drive by a herd, and look closely. 90% of the time you will see brands AND eartags! And I will assure you, those ranchers ARE in their right minds! @fisher99999, you both have just proved you are not able to make a rational comment.

fisher99999

Loggerman, do you have a brain? If so, please learn how to use it. All of my comments are rational and FACT BASED. Can't say the same for your misinformed comments.

Loggerman

So, you're a 4th generation ranch native.. and you don't know how to release a dog from a trap... he would have ripped his leg off, had you not been there? I was raised on a small ranch, and I trapped when I was younger. My dog, was caught in fox and coyote sets, numerous times, I would hear him yelp, and go release him, and the only injury was possibly a sore foot, and bruised ego. My dog lived to the age of 17 years old.
Now as far as cruelty to animals goes, how do you feel at branding time, given that you're a "rancher", when you are carving the testicles off a young calf and burning your brand into them? I have nothing against branding or castrating calves, I just want to point out the hypocrisy of your statement. This is the real world we live in. Have you ever watched what takes place in the natural world? Take for instance, wolves. They don't kill with a quick shot, and it's certainly not a quick death for their prey. Remember, life's tough, it's even tougher if you're stupid.

Sukey

Nobody in their right mind brands cattle anymore, they use eartags.

oldcowgirl

You are clueless about ranching. Brands are a registered legal document that permanently marks cattle to the legal owner. Thus we have brand inspection before sale of said cows. Ear Tags are used for personal record keeping of one's personal cattle, Lots of cattle loose eartags every year and are not proof of legal ownership. Ranchers still brand cattle and use ear tags to identify and keep track of cows within ones own herd. Brands stay on the cow for a lifetime, ear tags come and go .........

AAO22

Are you kidding me? A lot of ranchers still brand their cattle - ear tags can be removed. A brand, not so much.
Stick to the concrete jungle Sukey, you fit in better there.

BJackson

perhaps just shooting the dogs running free is the answer, as we all know, there are leash laws, but there is no law against shooting a dog, remember it happened just a couple of months ago, opps, made a mistaken identification.

Comment deleted.
fisher99999

Amen.

Snowcrest

Well, I've said this before and it will come true if the public is banned from trapping, you will learn that the State and Feds will trap in the name of public safety each and every time the Plague, Tularemia, and a half dozen other deadly diseases pop up as a result of an over-population of skunks, fox,coyote, muskrat,raccoon, etc. With no means of reasonable control in the public sector, it will be all done on the taxpayer dollar by our various levels of Govt., and when you see an official sign at your favorite trial head saying the trail is closed due to trapping in progress, you go back home until the area is opened back up again.
Oh, and all those pesky trappers you now hate will become Govt paid sub-contractors and will trap those varmints under the authority of the State and Federal Govt., you mess with their traps at that point, and you'll be in federal court answering for it. Be very careful when you attempt to ban a practice based on emotion, because this one will most definately come back to bite you in the end.

fisher99999

Those are really absurd reasons not to ban trapping. The fact is if trapping is banned, no more dogs will be killed by traps. We want traps banned on FACTS, We have the facts on our side. We have story after story and proof after proof of people's dogs in MT being injured and some killed by traps. We are on the right side of history and you are on the side of the 1% of extremists in Mt who want this outdated and unpopular so called "sport" to continue. We dog lovers OUTNUMBER you trappers 20 to 1. I sure as heck ain't going to let some right wing nutcase who loves killing animals to continue to put my dog's life in danger or other dogs for that matter. BAN TRAPPING FOR GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

jillcool

Guess we should just ban dogs then. That seems like it would solve your problems

Snowcrest

Try to clear your head for just a moment fisher9999 and think about what I said. You may be able to ban trapping ,but trapping wont stop. Trapping will be contracted to the very same people who trap now, by our State and Federal govt on your tax dollar.
You wont even save a dog from stepping in a trap because the traps will still be set as needed. What will change though, once trapping is done by the state and feds, will your freedom to even go in to an area that is being trapped by those agencies.

Loggerman

fisher99999,
I would suggest if you want to live in Montana, you learn how a trap works, so you can let your dog out. IF your dog ever does actually get caught, he'll come out of it most likely with nothing more than a sore paw. Perhaps keeping better track of your dog would be the most responsible way to avoid getting caught. And no, dogs shouldn't run wild, and responsible owners wouldn't let them. Remember, wolves kill dogs. Most people I know, will shoot dogs, if they are chasing wildlife. The only way your dog would die in a trap, is if he is left there for days on end. And if that is the case, you shouldn't own a dog, because you aren't keeping track of him.
Remember, life's tough. It's even tougher if you're stupid.

fomerliberal

Hate to break the news, but there have been more dogs killed by wolves in MT in the last 5 years than have been killed in traps. Maybe we need to outlaw wolves on public land????

fisher99999

traps have killed more dogs than wolves. We want wildlife, not traps on our public lands.

Bittersweet
Bittersweet

".........traps have killed more dogs than wolves."

Thanks for playing but you couldn't be more wrong. Personally, I know of dogs here in Western Mt that were killed by wolves. That is just pet owners I know.

AAO22

@ fisher99999 -
"There is no record of a hiker or other recreationist ever being caught in a trap.
In the 2008-09 and 2009-10 trapping seasons, FWP documented four reports (three on public land, one on private land) of dog mortalities in traps across the "entire state". Three of the dogs were “at large” (roaming without their owners nearby) and another was roughly one mile away from its owner.
**Responsibility also rests with the dog owner to not allow the pet to range out of the owner’s control or to run at large.**
Trappers harvest furbearers, predators, and several nongame wildlife species to assist in population management, to protect livestock and prevent damage to agricultural lands, to receive economic value from pelts, and to pursue a legal outdoor recreational activity." SOURCE: (http://fwp.mt.gov/hunting/trapping/)

For someone who spends so much time on the internet commenting on one particular article it seems you'd have the time to actually do a bit of research. Just Google or Bing "wolves kill dog(s)". In Montana numerous companion dogs, hunting dogs, and even livestock guardian dogs have been killed by wolves in one year - FAR EXCEEDING ALL dogs killed in traps in Montana. Your hysteric, emotional drivel is amusing.

fisher99999

Traps have killed numerous dogs in Montana. That is why WE are going to BAN them. We are not going to let extremists like yourself put our dogs in jeopardy, just so you can continue your outdated and sick and sadistic "sport" of trapping.

Rez Kid

You are wrong as usual (fisher99999). many more dogs have been killed by wolves in MT, WY and ID in recent years than by traps. Get your head out of your ..........

Comment deleted.
Loggerman

Lets rid the roadways of vehicles so dogs can roam freely when their irresponsible owners aren't paying attention.....wake up, get a life.

elkguy

Whatsup is exactly right- trapping first, then hunting. These animal whackos will not stop until all forms of hunting have been banned. What we, as true conservationists, need to do is get trapping protected along with hunting and fishing in our state constitution. And a ballot initiative that says if you weren't born here, you don't vote here.

2buck2

"If you weren't born here, you don't vote here"...wow, why not add and you need to be male and white while you are at it. Welcome to Montana-the state of regression. Thinking you are the only true conservationists is part of what got trapping into this mess in the first place. People who also use public lands and contribute to them with their tax dollars do not appreciate being told that they don't count. Born here-voting YES on this initiative. Mostly because of the bad attitudes I see coming from the other side.

fisher99999

You and many other Montanans too. These trappers don't seem to understand that they are overwhelming MINORITY in Montana. How many more dogs have to die because of these trappers? It's ludacris we have to put up and accept what these extremists are doing to our beloved dogs on public land with their unwanted traps.

AAO22

"In the 2008-09 and 2009-10 trapping seasons, FWP documented four reports (three on public land, one on private land) of dog mortalities in traps across the "entire state". Three of the dogs were “at large” (roaming without their owners nearby) and another was roughly one mile away from its owner.
**Responsibility also rests with the dog owner to not allow the pet to range out of the owner’s control or to run at large.**
Trappers harvest furbearers, predators, and several nongame wildlife species to assist in population management, to protect livestock and prevent damage to agricultural lands, to receive economic value from pelts, and to pursue a legal outdoor recreational activity." SOURCE: (http://fwp.mt.gov/hunting/trapping/)

RPT

Take away trapping and it just moves us one step closer to a 24/7 365 day hunting season on all wolves state wide.... No quota and perhaps even a bounty.

mdstevens

To the pro-trapping folks, using snide, condescending and or arcane rhetoric will NOT win anyone over to your side of the issue.

LCHelenajr

We may also need an initiative that mandates that people keep their pets restrained by a leash while they are on public land. I have dogs and they are not allowed to run around and get in trouble. I also hate it when people pull up to recreation sites and immediately let their dogs run all over the place after ignoring the keep pets leashed sign at the entrance.

jus wundrin
jus wundrin

Gee, didnt see this coming. Neither did we see the impact of the east and west coasters that come here with their "values", which needed to be imposed upon the rest of us.

fisher99999

But their values are the right values and yours are the wrong ones. Why should we allow 1% of the rednecks in MT to constantly put OUR DOGS IN DANGER so you can continue your sadistic sport of trapping and killing helpless and innocent animals? Our dogs have a right to roam free and get exercise, so they can stay in shape and all of that is at risk because of the traps that are out there killing and maiming our beloved pets. We are on the right side of history and you are not.

MTSierra

Just because your offended or believe in your own OPINION doesn't make it right! In my opinion your are not mentally capable of driving a car therefore you shouldn't be allowed to, it puts everyone in danger, even OUR DOGS.

whatsupwiththat

Make no mistake about it, this is step one. The statement of “only on public land,” is to avert your eye from the real goal of these individuals. Step two will be to ban trapping on all lands, public and private, as they have already established it on public lands. Step three let’s get rid of hunting on public lands and step four will be to get rid of hunting altogether. Every time something is taken away from someone is just becomes easier to do. There is no discussion or argument that these individuals will listen to, they have made their decision based only on how they feel and no reasonable discussion that includes facts or other peoples’ rights or privileges will be heard. I guess the actual act of controlling your pets is too much to expect. I have had dogs all my life; I hunt with our dogs, I walk/hike with our dogs, I take our dogs camping, I spend an incredible amount of time doing outdoor recreation with our dogs-and oh by the way-have never had a problem with traps. This isn’t about dogs or pets it is about trapping and pulling out anything (that’s what is necessary when it is only about feelings) to take away something from someone else. By the way, I am a Democrat (or liberal, or progressive) so save that argument cause that dog just doesn’t hunt.

LCHelenajr

Very true. This would just be the beginning. If this became law I would expect the legislature to kill this. We also could actually ignore this because these are mostly FEDERAL lands. The state legislature would end up killing this like they did medical MJ

AAO22

Wildlife Management should NEVER be left to the hands of voters - where is the science in that?
Folks should take a hard look at our growing wolf problem in Montana. Without trapping as a tool of management, wolf issues will exponentially increase.
This isn't about "save our pets" or "save the wildlife"...its about systematically destroying the rural way of life. Its time to wake up people!!

Yz250

It is funny how much the pro-wolf people protested Idaho for hiring a professional hunter to kill off wolf packs. If this initiative passes, what do they think the state of montana is going to do. Fwp is going to manage wolf populations with or without trapping. The dogs that get caught in traps are ones that there owners are letting them run where they shouldn't be. Trappers are abiding by the rules, if you abide by the rules, all can use public lands and be happy, but both parties have to work together.

fisher99999

Whether they abide by the rules is irrelevant. It is THEIR TRAPS that are killing our dogs. My dog is MUCH MORE IMPORTANT than some sick trapper's livelihood and of trapping and killing animals. The only way their traps are going to stop killing our dogs is by having those traps REMOVED from our public lands and that is what this initiative is for. This initiative is to protect our dogs from your DANGEROUS AND INDISCRIMINATE TRAPS.

MTSierra

Fisher you used a very key word in your comment "OUR". How many times has your dog been caught in a trap when it is under your control? I always have my dogs out on public land and they have never once been caught in a trap. If your dog is under your control and happens to be caught in a trap you can release your dog from said trap quickly and your dog wont die from a sore foot.

Bittersweet
Bittersweet

"......The only way their traps are going to stop killing our dogs is by having those traps REMOVED from our public lands...."

I beg to differ. Do you realize the majority (of the tiny number of incidences that do happen) of domestic animals being caught in a leg hold trap are on private land? Most likely due to unattended (or neglected depending on how you look at it) pets. Be a responsible owner and don't attempt to place blame on others for your laziness.

Yz250

There you go, your dog is more important to you. It's all about your personal feelings. I am not a trapper, but feel that all can use public lands. As long as trappers abide by the laws they have as much right as you do to use public lands. If you feel that traps might be in an area, stay away from it or keep track of your dogs and don't let them run off. Nobody wants to take responsibility of there own foolish actions. I personally would avoid going in area I felt had traps in it during trapping season.

erlyirn
erlyirn

What does PUBLIC LANDS mean to you? For me it is for All to share not the elitist few who think their activity is more deserving than another. There are many places you can let your dog run amok since you feel that is your right without fear of traps or you could do the responsible thing and keep your mutt tethered but heh why be responsible when it is easier to blame someone . I cannot begin to count the times I have seen the whole family and dogs out during hunting season running around the woods looking for a Christmas tree and not a one with orange on to protect them. I am waiting for someone like you with his dog running amok chasing game or livestock.

Gadfly

Public lands should not be pre-ordained ownership of a few for personal profit, and with regard to trappers endangering other humans and pets and horses. It is bad enough the state has 772 leases on national forest lands and 3776 on BLM land at a pittance. There is a distortion in the way our state wildlife agency and trappers and hunters and the desires of the general public operate wilderness and other public land use.

jus wundrin
jus wundrin

I guess youll be running for public office soon to show us uneducated backward folk how its done.

Public lands are that: public, and shouldnt be there just to look at, or be what a few hyper-emotionally challenged people "feel" that they should be.

Cory12

If you don't like it, move back to California. MT needs someone to stand up to these groups and eliminate them also, they have ruined a lot in this state to force their agendas down peoples throats. They also will not listen to anyone else, it's their way or the highway and never a compromise...........MOVE AWAY!!!!

Gadfly

Trapping is barbaric and profits are not an excuse or justification. We are not apex predators in the wild anymore and have not been since the dawn of civilization in most places. Now we are just blood sport killers (hunting). Trapping is inherently cruel and trappers and their supporters treat animals as objects of profit. The rest of us do need to start taking steps to end the practice. Cabelas in Billings is offered a workshop on predator hunting, killing for sport. There are at least 10 good reasons to even phase out factory farming. It too is inherently cruel, polluting the streams and air, not the best way to guard our health, inefficient use of resources (raising plants to feed animals to eat the animals), cutting down jungles and encroaching on wilderness for pasture. The planet and we would all be better off to go more vegetarian. Of course the stockgrowers would just react by shipping meat to Asia, as they do now, but we could stop that. There is now a lot of pressure for "bush meat" and poaching wild animals for a wild animal meat market. We are slowly, maybe not so slowly really considering what we have done to the planet and wildlife in only a few thousand years or less than 400 in this country. There is only a small percentage of true wildernesses left, 2.6% in lower 48 of USA, and worldwide we have 1 in 3 animals threatened or endangered. We marginalize predators and thereby damage a healthy wilderness ecology. We are a cruel species bent on destruction and we cannot help ourselves as per The Day the Earth Stood Still with Keanu Reeves.

MTSierra

Let's start Initiative 170 which says groups such as Trap Free Montana Public Lands and footloose can't ban legal activities based on their emotional needs. I would bet 170 would get more signatures that 169. Also included in 170 would mandate these special interest groups that are anti-trapping, ant-hunting, etc. donate 80% of their money to true conservation like habitat restoration, protecting winter range, etc.

walter12

Hunting with rifle or bow is fine and good. Protect the 2nd Amendment at all costs. Self defense with firearm or other weapons is a must nowadays. But trapping is downright wrong in 2014. It is cruel, unnecessary, and silly today. This is not 1890. It is very dangerous to dogs.

Kahlotus

The 2A has absolutely nothing to do with hunting. You should know that.

fisher99999

Exactly, it's dangerous to dogs and that is why these fine people who are trap free Montana are trying to get trapping banned. By banning trapping, you are going to save many dogs and many wild animals from dying a painful and agonizing death.

Don't Care
Don't Care

Watch out folks these wackos are going to not stop at trapping, fishing is next. If you think trapping is bad hat about fishing? A trapper has an intent to kill, yes. A fishermen gets enjoyment out of continuously torturing fish for his own personal satisfaction. That is the mind of the fishermen, they are the mentally unstable individual.

RobertR

You needy people want a pillow to cry on go home?
Ban trapping, keep all the animals listed as endangered, keep cattle off public land or close public land off to segregate others.
Let's make it so you do gooders need a green card to enter public land with your pets. I would bet the majority of you tree hungers don't even buy a state lands use permit, oh your the special interest groups your exempt.
The only thing that's needs banned is tree huggers etc.

sep924

Where do I sign? This initiative is long overdue. Saying the drive is "anti-everything" and "anti-Montana" is an all-too-familiar, simplistic charge that unfortunately has worked in the past. (Which is one reason Montana's anti-cruelty laws are so archaic.) I hope voters won't fall for that scare tactic again.

fisher99999

I am a proud anti-trapper. Just think about how many dogs and wild animals will be saved if trapping is banned. We are on the right side of history. Trapping needs to go. The trappers represent 1% of the human population in Montana. Every time a trapper kills a person's dog, you should be able to sue that trapper and bring criminal charges against him. We cannot stand by and do nothing as these trappers kill our beloved dogs just to enjoy their sick and sadistic sport that is clearly dying off.

Deadwolf

And when a skunk kills your chickens, just remember you will not be able to trap them. Guess that means rat traps and mouse traps will be outlawed to boot. Come to think of it, if rats were to be protected by no trapping we just might end up with a plague. Smart, real smart.

huntskifish

Yup, guess all those free range public land chicken farmers and recreational rat and mouse trappers out there in the woods will be out of luck.

Deadwolf

You think they will quit once trapping is banned on public lands? Not going to happen. Btw, you must not do much camping on public lands. "Receational trappers"? There is no such thing.

huntskifish

You are right! There are no recreational mouse and rat trappers, and no public land chicken farmers. I think you're getting close to getting the point!

snickers
snickers

Let's put an end to this. Where do I sign...........

Bittersweet
Bittersweet

Translation: Wait for some big news "stories" in the near future about non targeted animals/pets......not that they will be entirely accurate but they will be making headlines at opportune times.

These groups need to remember there is certain guidelines/criteria that must be met while gathering these signatures. Advice: Stick to the rules or likely all of your signatures will be tossed out.

I'm not a trapper but I do support low impact use of public lands. While we are at it let's do away with skiing, snowmobiling, hunting, mountain biking and letting dogs run loose for starters.

raptor53

Amen. Traps are not bothering me on public lands or chasing deer on my property, but dogs at large are doing that. So lets punish all the dog owners and ban all dogs on public lands. Clearly they are a user conflict issue. This is the knee jerk mentality today when people can only see things from their perspective. Start walking too because we need to stop drunk driving, so get rid of cars and we will all be safer. With the slippery slope logic of "too much TV America" hunting will be next. It seems there is a growing number of people out there that know whats best for me and you.

fisher99999

Wait until one kills your dog and your opinion would change quickly.

Bittersweet
Bittersweet

A trap never has and never will kill one of my beloved pets. You see, I care for them and am a responsible pet owner. I would hate to be one of your so called "pets" fisher999. Nothing worse than a lazy, irresponsible pet owner.

fisher99999

Only 1% of the rednecks in Montana trap and we are supposed to let their traps injure and kill our dogs? It's long past due to get rid of trapping for good.

Bittersweet
Bittersweet

Injure and kill your dogs? Please elaborate and be specific. Is it 1% of "your" dogs or less? Are more dogs injured/killed in vehicle accidents each year in Montana? How about being hit by vehicles? Killed by wolves, cattle or horses?

...........

fisher99999 says..."Me and many other conservationists.....?" Please tell us what kind of "conservationist" you are. What exactly have you done/do you do to contribute here in Montana?

erlyirn
erlyirn

Answer a question with a question so you have no facts just emotion.

c

Heres a novel idea, take dare of your own dogs instead of changing Montana and its laws to do it for you.

fisher99999

Here is abetter idea, REMOVE THE DAM traps from our public lands. We have a right to exercise our dogs, so they don't get fat. You should not have the right to put what is equivalent to a loaded gun onto our public lands. Our dogs are constantly in danger because of your dangerous traps. Our dogs are 100 times more important than your worthless traps. Trappers are 1% of the population in MT. Trapping is going to be banned sooner or later. You can only ignore dogs being killed by traps for so long until something is done.

erlyirn
erlyirn

"Our or "we" make up your mind. Seems public lands are meant to be used only if "we" approve of the use. There are already conditional uses for many users of public lands. This is just a foot in the door of "conservationist" and the PETA crowd to eliminate hunting activities. By the way I also have the right not to be harassed by your dog while I use PUBLIC LANDS and I will protect myself from that harassment.

fisher99999

Yes, we want to ELIMINATE TRAPPING because traps are killing OUR dogs. My dog harasses no one, but your traps pose a risk to people's dogs That's is why trapping needs to go.

hdrider

A novel idea- how about keeping control of your dogs and not letting them run "wild"? Dogs that get injure and killed in traps are typically in places that they should not be. Control your animals and they won't be injured or killed. It is always easier to blame someone else for your lack of responsibility.

fisher99999

Control your traps by getting them off of OUR PUBLIC LANDS. They don't belong on them. We are not going to let you trappers PUT OUR DOGS AT RISK so you can continue your unpopular sadistic sport. Dogs over traps. Trappers are the irresponsible one.

Bittersweet
Bittersweet

"OUR PUBLIC LANDS?" Think about what you just said. Define "OUR"

snickers
snickers

"places they should not be"?????? What part of public land do you not understand. Dogs do not have to be on leash, voice command is the law. Your lack of responsibility is setting these traps where they don't belong.... on public (note PUBLIC) land.

fisher99999

My dog has a right to run and get exercise without being killed by one of your dangerous traps. You trappers are putting your traps where dogs come into contact them with. It is YOU TRAPPERS who are the problem, yet you blame us dog owners for when we take a dog out for a walk to get some exercise. Why do I have to constantly put my dog in danger so that a small minority of extremists can continue their sadistic sport of trapping and killing animals? Us dog lovers OUTNUMBER you trappers and we are MORE IMPORTANT than you. My dog's right to live is 100 times more important than your so called right to trap and destroy animals.

Dr_Resonable

How is it that you have the "right" to let your dog run free, but someone else does not have the "Right" to lay a trap??
Just because you "outnumber" the trappers does not give you more of a "right".
That is like saying I don't believe that Gays should get married because the straight people way outnumber the gay people.
You are nothing but a blathering hypocrite who needs to get a life.

fisher99999

Your right to trap poses a significant risk and danger to people's dogs you ignorant buffoon. You are an extremist and you are on the wrong side of history. Be a normal person for once and start putting dogs ahead of disgusting traps.

erlyirn
erlyirn

"Rednecks?" LOL

fisher99999

Best of luck to you trap free Montana. Me and many other conservationists are with you. Trappers should be put in prison.

HuntFish16

Please explain what you have done to be a "conservationist"??? I've been a hunter all my life and belong to non profit organizations like Ducks Unlimited, Trout Unlimited, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Whitetails Unlimited, Pheasants Forever and contribute hundreds of dollars a year to protect and enhance wildlife populations and habitat. Hunters and Fisherman are the best conservationists. Period.

Give this a read please...
http://www.rmef.org/Conservation/HuntingIsConservation/25ReasonsWhyHuntingIsConservation.aspx

2buck2

First of all-- you are not the ONLY conservationists. Secondly, there is no avenue for non-consumptive users to participate in wildlife management. Third, while non-hunters and non-fishers may not contribute directly to wildlife management they still contribute to the funding for public lands. Without which wildlife management wouldn't get very far. And lastly, we happen to hunt and fish ourselves.

Loggerman

Is anybody else out there as sick and tired of the anti everything crowd as me? If footloose MT. is so worried about pets being injured in traps maybe they should also go after people who drive vehicles, a pile of pets are killed everyday on our roadways. These people are bent on destroying our rural way of life and traditions, the very reason they want to live here also. They want to change things to fit into what they perceive as a perfect world, then tell everybody how they have saved the world. The Montana we grew up in is in jeopardy if the anti's continue to get their way, normal thinking and commonsense is lost with these individuals. These are the same people that think its great to have wolves destroying elk and deer populations.

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