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Many of us live in Montana because we cherish the vast expanses and raw beauty of her mountains, plains, streams and abundant wildlife.

Montana is blessed with such magnificent public land that developers, the uber wealthy and industrialists salivate at the thought of adding these lands to their personal portfolio.

We are all aware of the battle being waged to keep our public lands as they are – public. We share ownership and responsibility for these lands with all citizens of our nation. Millions of people come from throughout the world to hike, fish, hunt, photograph and play in “our backyard." However, there is a threat to our right to enjoy our public lands, which is trapping.

Trapping is indiscriminate in what it catches, maims and kills. It could be a lynx, otter, wolverine, eagle, family pet or even you.

Trappers claim it is “tradition.” Slavery was also a tradition when people such as Jim Bridger (1804-1881) were here!

Trappers spread unlimited numbers of unmarked baited traps and consider it recreation. Unlike hunters, they don’t trap for food.

If the animal isn’t already dead from freezing, dehydration or predation, it is killed by the trapper in a gruesome manner, its flesh discarded and its fur sold, often to Russia or China.

What is it worth to you to watch a family of otters at play? What is it worth in tourist dollars?

Putting family pets, non-targeted wildlife and yourself at risk of a lethal trap on our public land is surely worth more than a few bucks to a trapper.

It is time to end this so-called recreational “tradition” for profit. Vote yes for Initiative 177 in November.

Carol Fifer,

Bozeman

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