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I was disappointed to see the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation statement against Initiative 160, the Trap-free Public Lands Initiative. David Allen, the CEO of RMEF, should research matters before he spews out such outright falsehoods.

Allen claims I-160 is a “backdoor anti-hunting measure backed by out-of state financiers.” This is simply untrue. There has never been any discussion that gives credence to this preposterous statement. In addition, similar initiatives passed in other Western states have not been followed by anti-hunting measures.

The “out-of state financiers” claimed by Allen are a figment of his imagination. Montanans for Trap-free Public Lands is a state grassroots effort on a low budget. This is simply propaganda, and Allen knows better.

Allen further claims initiatives remove the “science” behind wildlife management and open it to “emotional influences.” Doesn’t Allen know wildlife policies in Montana are set by the Fish, Wildlife and Parks commission, which is a political group appointed by the governor? In fact, it was the lack of commission action on trapping issues that brought about I-160.

Allen believes wildlife should be managed by “professionals, sportsmen and landowners.” That sounds good, but, considering the political oversight of the commission, professionals don’t always have their say. And what about landowners? What scientific input and expertise are they providing by simply owning property? Besides, I-160 does not affect trapping on private land, which is the majority of Montana.

Allen needs to be less emotional himself, and give the RMEF the responsible, objective leadership it needs. I agree with another writer, a hunter, who stated: “Trappers make a bad name for all hunters here in Montana. Trapping is not fair chase and is just plain cruel.”

Michael Koeppen, Florence

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