I support Initiative 177. As a conservationist and forest manager, I have recognized a shift in the predator-prey dynamic on my land. I border federal land that allows trapping and I suspect this is playing a role.
With thousands of traps on public lands, it is impossible for biologists to monitor the impact on ecosystems. Traps are indiscriminate and often capture unintended animals such as endangered species, birds and even pets. Claims that trapping is a legitimate tool for wildlife management are unfounded.
Pro-trapping groups promote their special interest as a viable tradition that is comparable to hunting or fishing. No ethical sportsman would allow an animal to suffer for days or tolerate the random killing of a non-target animal.
They imply this initiative was brought forward by animal rights activists driven by "emotions" in an attempt to discredit the many Montanans who made this happen with over 24,000 signatures. Really? Claims that if trapping is removed, we will be overrun with disease and our elk herds will be endangered makes no sense for many reasons.
I urge everyone to keep an open mind and recognize that groups supporting trapping only care about their own interests. This initiative is well thought out and makes sense. It allows Fish, Wildlife and Parks to trap if deemed necessary and allows trapping on private lands, which comprise 2/3 of Montana’s landscape.
Trapping belongs in our history books! Vote yes for I-177.
Valerie A. Beebe,