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Recently, I read the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s statement concerning Initiative 177 on their website. What I found were half-truths designed to mislead people into supporting CEO David Allen’s pro-trapping position on Montana’s public lands.

Allen claims voting on wildlife issues is unscientific, and that the current system is. Personally, I’ve attended many Fish, Wildlife and Parks meetings and watched the Montana Trappers Association lobby for their own benefit. How about the Montana Stockgrowers? Is Allen so naïve that he believes fish and game decisions aren’t politically based today? I doubt it, but he’s definitely savvy enough to claim they’re not when those decisions go his way.

Then wolf hysteria, with RMEF claiming 39 percent of wolves killed come from trappers, but neglecting to note the vast majority of these animals were killed on private lands, unaffected by I-177 (only 14 percent of wolves killed the last two years were trapped on public lands). RMEF refers to the “ballooning“ wolf population, which has in fact stabilized, that state agencies, without trapper assistance, would need to spread poison to control predators and about poison’s “indiscriminate nature.” Obviously, more hysteria from RMEF.

RMEF claims that costs to the state will be excessive without public land trapping, using figures already found to be bogus. Then the bizarre comment that “towns, cities, parks, schools, and universities,” will have new and huge costs controlling pests and predators inside their limits. More nonsense: no municipal areas and schools allow trapping today.

Finally, and most obnoxious, is the comment that I-177 came from people who “grew up outside the state of Montana.” So, Montana citizens who weren’t born here don’t have equal rights? What about RMEF’s 220,000 members? Were they all born in Montana? What about David Allen himself, clearly a newcomer to the state? Please vote yes on I-177 (yeson177.org)! 

Michael Koeppen,

Florence

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