Opponents of the I-177 initiative regarding trap-free public lands rely on fear to dissuade Montanans from making a sensible choice on Nov. 8. They speak to the threat I-177 poses to hunting and fishing culture, but hunters/anglers could find common ground with non-consumptive users by agreeing that trapping is nothing like hunting or fishing! Hunting is fair chase, fishing is highly regulated and both exist primarily for reasons other than profit. In addition, hunting and fishing don't endanger the safety of the public and companion animals.
They fear liberal interests controlling public lands, but public lands are not currently being managed for all users. The trappers are the only ones enjoying privileged, disproportionate access to our resources. They fall back on this because they're making a killing (pun intended) by indiscriminately killing wildlife held in public trust for profit. Since trappers can still continue to trap on private lands – about 100,000 square miles (two thirds of the state), asking for a restriction on commercial and recreational fur-trapping is not about telling trappers "no," it is about telling Montanans "yes."
Yes, you can recreate safely without the fear of having your dog trapped. Yes, you can play a role in preserving endangered and protected species. Yes, you can usher in a more humane era of wildlife management, where non-lethal methods are at least considered before slaughter. And all of this can be achieved by voting yes on I-177 come November. Do not be afraid to make a positive difference in your state!