One gorgeous fall morning my sister, her husband, their 2-year-old and their dog went cross-country skiing on a public trail near Bozeman. Minutes later, just out of sight of the parking lot, they heard a snap and a yelp - and found their puppy dying in a steel trap. She did not survive.
This happens too often - Montanans out for a walk suddenly find themselves in the horrifying situation of trying to free their dying dog from a trap - and this is why Initiative 177 has support from public land users including hunters, anglers, hikers and wildlife watchers.
Please consider the serious differences between trapping and hunting. Hunters wear orange to warn others they are in the area, they treat their weapons with respect, they pay for licenses and they follow regulations from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks that are specific for the species and sex of the animal hunted. Hunters also shoot to kill - they don’t purposely shoot the leg off an animal and let them suffer.
Trappers, on the other hand, pay $29 a year to litter the ground with dangerous unmarked traps (up to 50,000 per trapper are allowed today!) Traps do not discriminate between species, age or sex. Traps do not involve a quick death; and traps are loaded weapons for anyone tempted by the bait, including our companion animals, hunting dogs and endangered species.
I-177 will keep Montana safer for all to enjoy and is a common-sense solution to the outdated, indiscriminate and cruel practice of trapping on our valued public land. I hope that everyone who truly cares about wildlife will join me in voting yes for I-177.