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The proposal to ban trapping on Montana's public lands (Initiative 177) makes sense for many reasons.

One is the inadequate regulation trappers enjoy. In Montana, Fish, Wildlife and Parks relies on self-reporting by trappers of non-target kill numbers but only of protected animals. This is unreliable and inaccurate. Idaho numbers from 2011-2012 show twice as many non-target as targeted captures; 124 targeted/246 non-target captures.

Many non-target species, including some endangered, such as lynx, are caught and die. If released, some starve because they are too lame to hunt. If a trapper fails to check his traps in a timely way, animals freeze, starve or die of thirst in the trap. Many chew off their legs to get free. One local vet reported an expensive bird dog left lame from a trap too strong for even a sheriff who had to call for help.

I-177 does not prohibit predator control by hunting, and respects the rights of livestock owners by allowing trapping of problem animals on public lands when other methods fail. I-177 simply puts an end to a cruel, indiscriminate, one-sided war against the wild creatures among us who share our public lands.

Joe Newman,

Bozeman

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