For years, trappers have been making up false stories about proposals to restrict recreational and commercial trapping on Montana’s public lands. Recently trappers have been saying the Montana Trap-Free Public Lands initiative (Initiative 177) is funded by out-of-state money.
As often happens, the truth has emerged about those falsehoods. On Oct. 3, the official Montana state political practice finance reports came out. It seems the trappers are the ones getting a lot of out-of-state money. Out-of-state contributions to pro-trappers were $37,000 (27 percent of total funds). Meanwhile, only $6,000 (5.3 percent of total funds) were contributed from out-of-state in support of I-177.
It’s a common political tactic. People who are ashamed to honestly discuss their position become desperate as the truth emerges. A common defense is to change the subject to something only slightly related like donations and occasionally, and more shamefully, to make things up.
The real issue voters need to consider is whether or not to allow this cruel abuse to continue on our public lands, where it should not be tolerated any more than it would be if observed by citizens on the courthouse lawn.
I am well aware of the abuses inherent in trapping. I struggled with those abuses firsthand when I was a trapper and I fooled myself about them for too long. I will vote for I-177.