David Allen, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation president and CEO, has called for his members to vote against Initiative 177, claiming trapping is a key tool used by wildlife managers.
Allen states that trappers have taken 39 percent of wolves killed the last few years. True, but misleading, as not all wolves trapped were on public land. In fact, most were trapped on private land, unaffected by I-177.
RMEF helped start the big brouhaha about wolves. It got so bad and misleading that a collection of locals pooled their money to hire a biologist to study the situation in the Bitterroot. The study concluded that bears (outside of humans), not wolves, kill most of the elk.
Allen also says, "Dictating wildlife biology and management practices at the ballot box would lead us all down a slippery slope that would only go from bad to worse." This dire prediction is aimed at hunting and fishing. I-177 will not affect hunting and fishing, which are protected by the state Constitution. Eight states have restricted or banned trapping, including major western states Colorado, Arizona and Washington. Not one has seen efforts toward ending hunting and fishing.
I respect your opinion, David Allen, but you’re asking all members of RMEF to vote your way. It is illegal to trap or lure elk before you hunt, so why do you, as the head of a hunting organization, support the Montana Trappers Association? Their past president and current division representative is associated with the American Lands Council, which promotes the transfer and development of federal lands, our public lands, lands all of us enjoy, not just trappers, and that includes elk hunters.
Don’t cry wolf, Mr. Allen. That is a slippery slope!