The primary purpose of Initiative 177 is to protect rare animals and birds, domestic pets and children on public lands. It does not affect trapping on private land or in any way affect hunting and fishing rights.
Hunting is fair chase, with the targeted animal usually being killed quickly and humanely. Trapping is the exact opposite, not fair chase, often causes a slow, inhumane death and unlike hunting, is inherently indiscriminant.
One of the primary purposes of I-177 is to help ensure the long-term survival of rare Montana wildlife like fisher, martin, lynx, wolverine and river otter, which for the most part live their entire life on land that belongs to all U.S. citizens. Those animals are worth far more alive than the small amount that trappers make by killing them. Many people, including tourists, would like to be able to observe and photograph them, resulting in significant income for local businesses.
Any benefits of trapping that have been discussed, concerning protecting livestock, pets and property from animals like coyotes, raccoons, beaver, muskrat, etc., pertain almost exclusively to private land. Only those individuals that harm livestock or cause damage on private land actually need to be removed.
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I-177 does not affect trapping on private land and has provisions for research or other special situations on public land. A trapper who wrote a letter against I-177 stated that in high mountain drainages, traps are set and not checked for long periods. Sometimes traps are set one weekend and checked the next, allowing the animal to linger in pain for days.
Trapping is a cruel, barbaric sport indiscriminately killing birds and animals that are doing no harm to anyone. There is no reasonable excuse to allow trapping on public lands to decimate entire populations of wildlife that legally belong to all Montanans.
Bob Hoy and Judy Hoy,